Two years ago during my last episode of severe depression I became consumed with guilt. To assess just how bad I was, I mentally tallied every good or bad thing I could remember doing in my life; when I couldn't hold the score in mind any longer I made a table that listed as many of my "good" and "bad" actions as I could remember. Every day I made new additions; given my mental state at the time it's not hard to guess which column they were in.
Last night I ran across this old table. Among the "bad" things on the list were many misjudgments, misunderstandings, and actions taken out of desperation when life simply got too hard to handle with grace. With fresh eyes these transgressions no longer seemed as malevolent or as pathetic, as they once did. They seemed human. And some just seemed ridiculous. Not walking the dog every day when I was in middle school was on my list. PETA might disagree, but I'm now amazed that remorse over my treatment of a dog ever drove me toward suicidal self-loathing.
True, there were more substantial transgressions on the list that might--and should--induce guilt. But depression is guilt that is out of proportion with action. For each of the actions I had listed my guilt was out-of-proportion, my actions seemingly unforgivable.
I still suffer from too much guilt (although the part of me that's sick says I should suffer from more guilt). And when the guilt is paralyzing I feel guilty for not being able to do much. Any thoughts on overcoming guilt/self-loathing?