The battle of Anger and Guilt
Anger floods me, it steals my breath and breaks my heart all in one foul swoop. Angry about so many things, the world, martha’s illness, martha, situations with friends, for friends, family, everything. I feel suffocated by the world, by it’s problems, and yet life feels good. Business ventures, relationships, lifestyle, it all feels good, this is when the guilt sets in. Because I shouldn’t be angry, look at everything I have. In this moment I know I am about to spin out and in my head I imagine a master of ceremonies, vintage dress, a maroon velvet ensemble, and with his megaphone he yells “let the games begin.”
Tonight I stood in front of martha yelling at her for not telling me that she needed to go to the bathroom, I yelled about how this was the third time today, how I didn’t want this, I repeated over and over that I.DID.NOT.WANT.THIS. She looks at me vacantly, I have no idea if she understands the words that are pouring from my mouth, if she hears what I says but I worry that her own shortness of breath is fear.
I stand in front of her and tug at her clothes for her to undress, frustrated I hurry her and she complies. Internally I battle guilt and anger, they both make appearances;
When anger hits I become breathless, rigid, stern and possibly frightening, when guilt swoops in I become teary, remorseful, agitated, I want to break down, I want to throw the mother of all fits.
This all unfolds whilst I undress Martha for her fourth shower of the day. She is in the shower, I systematically wash her, command her, hand her things, shampoo her hair, rinse, turn off the shower. I hand her a towel and as I walk away from her to fetch clothes I yell ‘dry yourself’ when I return, she hasn’t. She is still standing, holding the towel in one hand while the rest of it soaks up the water in the bottom of the shower. Anger takes a hold again. I close my eyes and count, I manage three seconds and it reminds me of the last time I had ink to skin. Towards the end of my last tattoo I could only manage to count to three before starting again, that three was devoid of anger, but the three was for control. This felt the same. I was counting to three to gain control. I systematically dried her, efficient, devoid of affection, I commanded her through to her bedroom where I dressed her, her expression did not change. I closed my eyes again, one, two, three. Handing her clothes, instructing her what to do. We finish, guilt has taken over, I want to say sorry but the words are stuck. She gets awkwardly into bed, it looks uncomfortable, I feel the anger starting to rise, I force a few words from my mouth, I glare at her and she shifts into a more comfortable position. I can’t read her expression, it is the same one she has had all day, I can’t read her face and it infuriates me.
I leave her room, I pull the door shut behind me and breathe. I hadn’t realised I have been holding my breath the whole time. Anger and guilt are still thrashing it out, I try to calm my mind, I tell myself this always happens when respite is close, she is getting worse and you should be prepared for that. I flurry myself around the house, tidying, cleaning, putting things away. I take a valium to aid with the increased surge in adrenaline, another story starts to play out in my head, my frustration with a naturopath. I let it play on for a few minutes before closing it down. I slip myself into bed, frustrated, angry, guilty, sad, lonely, mournful and the only thing I can think to do is type. Attempt to find some peace. So I type, I share and I hope that someone will read this and say this happens to me too.