The Guilt Roller Coaster (hint...get off now)
So here we sit with a new diagnosis. Lyme disease. I HATE that Megan has one more thing on her plate. But on the other hand I am so relieved to know we have an answer to the aches and pains of the past 3 years.
I am on a roller coaster of guilt about this diagnosis. Guilt is not one of those cute roller coasters at Disneyland. No – this is one of those OH HELL NO roller coasters. Ever seen one of those? They look they were built in the 1920’s out of paper mache and cardboard.
FYI, I don’t ride roller coasters willingly. Actually I don’t ride them unwillingly either.
GUILT: How did you let this sit for three years and not know/trust/question there was something up other than anxiety and depression?
GUILT: Did you believe it was anxiety and depression because it was easier to diagnose? Because you didn’t want to question Doctors?
GUILT: Why did you not trust your kid when she said this is not anxiety and depression that is hurting my body?
And so here is what I did last week. I got off the guilt roller coaster. Because FYI, roller coasters GO NOWHERE FAST. (Note from Megan: well they also go in circles really fast, which is also what guilt does. You just end up going back to the same exact place you started, just dizzier!)
Here is my short list for why we all need to stop the guilt roller coaster. Don’t strap in – you won’t be on long enough to need the seat belt.
It took me a long time to realize I don’t have control of what goes on in Megan's brain or body. If I did, I would wave my magic wand and fix it all. Then I’d tackle any issues you have. Then we could go out for world peace and a spot on the Avengers team (which would mean I could wear the SAME super hero outfit every day – which would solve yet another one of my life problems).
But back to reality. We are not responsible for knowing things that, well, we don’t know. You can’t fix it, so don’t feel guilty because you didn’t.
Along those lines, I don’t have a crystal ball. If I did, I could look at my son who is trying to pick the perfect college and say oh yeah, I’ll go ahead and look forward, see if you were happy with that choice, then we can go back and make a new one if not. Whew. That was so freaking easy. Now back to my regularly scheduled perfect life. Oh wait, I have to look to see if it will be perfect tomorrow. Hang on.
Would you want to do that? Second guess every decision you make because you had to review the future in your ball? My guess is, just like me, you want to live for today and deal with tomorrow…. tomorrow. So no guilt because you didn’t know what was coming – you know now and what you do from here is what counts.
Here is what I know now that I didn’t a year ago: I don't have the answers all the time – and that’s okay. I can change course if my approach stops working r I get more information, I can apologize and move on when I get it wrong and I can ALWAYS reach out for help when I don’t know what to do. It’s all good – and healthy – and strong. As Brene Brown says “Imperfections are not inadequacies; they are reminders that we’re all in this together”
What I do have IN ABUNDANCE is love for Megan. I love her beyond measure. I can love her through this now that I know what it is – and I also loved her through it when I didn’t know what it was. She knows I love her and am backing her from here on out. No guilt in any of that. Ever.
Hold your head up high parents and refuse to purchase a ticket on the guilt roller coaster – and don’t let anyone purchase a ticket on your behalf.
I know this because I’ve talked to so many of you over the past two months: you are doing the very best at loving your kid. You hold your head high and keep loving, loving, loving.