Guilt and Shame

A good, concise piece from a fellow blogger, who suffers from CFS and depression, about the feelings of guilt and shame many of us live with.


The Fight Against Myself

Having an invisible illness brings a lot of judgement and opinions from others and a lot of time it’s negative and hurtful.  Living with Depression and Chronic Fatigue is hard enough as it is without other people making me feel worse about something I cannot change.

Before my Fiancé met me, he had never met someone affected by depression and anxiety and I think it shocked him to see how much it affected me.  He didn’t understand Depression and it took a while for him to get used to the condition but he made the effort to learn about it and support me as much as possible.  The anxiety was hard for him to deal with because he is such an outgoing person who loves to socialise and it caused a lot of stress in the relationship but we both eventually learned how to compromise and he learned my boundaries and…

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depressionLast night was a rough night.  Well, it’s been a rough week actually.  I spent one half of last night crying over all the sorrow in the world and one half crying over my own personal sorrows.  And what did I do to make myself feel better?  I ate sugar, of course.  Did it cure the worlds’ troubles or help ease mine?  Nope.  Did it make me feel any better?  Well, yes, temporarily, while I was actually in the process of eating it, but after I just felt worse.  All my troubles remained and now I felt fat and guilty too.  And very depressed.  So, do I eat sugar all day because I am depressed or has eating sugar on a regular basis triggered my depression?

Both.  I am depressed.  I have been depressed to one extent or the other since I was 13.  This is when my sexual abuse ended and my emotional troubles and sugar addiction began.  Never having told anyone of the abuse I did not know how to cope with the after effects.   My anger at my perpetrator turned inward into self loathing, shame, guilt and depression and I made myself feel better by getting high off sugar.  I’d eat so much sugar I’d be blissed out for hours and things would seem OK.  Then I’d come down off this rush and not only would I feel sick physically, but emotionally I’d be a wreck, feeling all the feelings around the abuse and now all the shame and hate and anger at myself for pigging out, not having control, being a loser.  Which made me feel even more depressed.  So I ate again, to try to feel better just for a little while.  I always binged in secret too, adding to the whole guilt and shame trip.  I knew I was doing something abnormal, something shameful and wrong that I had to hide from ‘normal’ people, at least that’s how I felt.

I hid my eating from my family and friends, creeping off to some secluded spot to stuff my face with bags of cookies, boxes of Vachon © cakes, and tonnes of penny candies in little brown bags.  I hid my depression, my shame, my hurt, pain, my absolute anguish over life from everyone, even my best friend.  I hid it well, very well.  I was and am an exceptional actor.  I was whatever people wanted me to be….funny, happy, easygoing… public.  In private I was a cauldron so hot and mixed I don’t know how I got a long at all.  Maybe sugar helped me survive.  And a few other tools thrown in.  So as not to mislead you,  or fool myself, sugar was not my only drug used to self treat my depression and angst.

I drank alcohol whenever I could, whatever I could find.  I’d had my first taste of booze at 11 and I loved it. I loved the way it made me feel mellow and calm and brave and happy all at the same time. The way it made my troubles less troubling, at least for a while.  I was no longer shy and awkward but giggly and friendly, and I had a whole new group of kids to hang out with and drink.  And getting booze became an interesting challenge.   We stole mini bottles from our parents, filling them later with water, strutting around town feeling hip swigging from our airplane liquor.  We filled pop bottles half full of pop, half of stolen booze from our parents unlocked liquor cabinets.  This was particularly easy for me, for my parents drank little but kept a fully stocked bar for guests.  Easy enough  to sneak 1/4 pint or so and add water once the bottle started showing use.  Also hanging out in front of the liquor store asking people to pick us up a bottle, which most were willing to do, and finding those older kids, drop-outs, single moms, who’d let us hang out at their run down pads and drink our faces off.  I was going to the liquor store myself at 15, no questions asked if you waited for the right person to come on.

I continued binge drinking or daily drinking all my life until about 1 1/2 years ago. I drank to self medicate my depression,  inward pain and hurt and I drank to forget and I drank to change my personality to one I thought was ‘better.  I only do not drink now because my man doesn’t drink and wouldn’t tolerate it, though the urge comes upon me at times.  I drown it in sugar instead.  Am I am alcoholic?  I don’t know, I only know I like to drink very much but I can also stop at any given moment, as circumstances call for.  Though I must admit alcohol has got me into  many severe situations and problems before.   Ulcers, brown outs, unprotected drunken one night stands with strangers.  But then  I’d just stop.  Cold turkey, no problem.  This is why I call myself a sugar addict first and foremost, because I have never been able to get off the sugar, ever, for any time, so it is my true drug of choice.
Even when I was boozing heavily, as I have done often and for prolonged periods, I still dosed myself daily with sugary treats and my liquor was often some sugary sweet kind like schnapps, or drank with lots of sugary pop.  Alcohol was my friend, sugar my love and solace.

And yes, then there are the drugs.  I never cared much for pot, hash, even cocaine, they don’t do for me what sugar and alcohol do.  They make me paranoid, shaky, confused.  I used drugs to fit in with my fast boozing/drugging friends but never enjoyed them.  At least till I got my first taste of downers and pain killers.  Those I like.  I fell in love with Demerol at 13 after being given a shot at the hospital for a burn.  I thought of nothing else but the smooth, sweet, velvety, bliss I felt that day for weeks.  I discovered Valium, Ativan, and Codiene.  Warm and fuzzy drugs, soothing drugs.  These I  like.  And still like.  I admit I play around with various assortments when I feel especially stressed or down.  They take the ‘edge’ off.  I do this on the sly too, during the day when I can nod out and be by myself, just chilling. Everyone I know now would freak.  Funny thing is I still eat sugar on these days (which I strictly limit).  Lots of sugar.

So….as you can see my sugar addiction is not my only vice. I use whatever I can to make me feel better, to damp down the constant feelings of sadness inside me, the voice in my head that tells me I’m just not good enough and never will be.
And it all becomes one vicious circle, depression, self medication, self loathing, more depression.  I do also take prescribed drugs for depression but they never quite do the job like a real good sugar rush, they don’t give me instant gratification or send me away from my mind for a while.  And that is why I’m a sugar junkie.