Like many Moodscopers, I am no stranger to guilt. I am hard on myself, sometimes with good reason.
I have gathered a pick and mix of spiritual ideas over the years, and pray every night. I don't know or care if anyone listens. Whatever else, I always ask for the strength to do the right thing.
Recently I betrayed the trust of one of my oldest and dearest friends. I did so quite deliberately, weighing up the consequences, and I have not had one moment of guilt.
P and I have been friends for 25 years. We are in many ways quite opposites. There are things about her that get on my nerves, actions that appal me, political views that grate. She has also been a good and loyal friend, and I know she would never do what I have done to her.
I don't drive. My brain is not wired that way, I can't tell left from right, anxiety makes me freeze and lorries terrify me. I would be a danger to others. I do understand how important the ability to drive is to many though.
My friend adores cars and driving. In her younger days she had a canary yellow E-type, customised by her with painting of Elvis on the roof.
P became even more contrary and bloody-minded than usual a few years ago. She was leaving the supermarket when a concerned couple tried to take her keys off her, offered to call a cab or drive her home. She refused, outraged, drove home in a haze and ended up in A&E. She discharged herself and refused to see her GP as instructed. The upshot was a brain scan a year ago, showing vascular dementia in the moderate to severe range.
She refused medications and therapies. She can't make a cup of tea, dress without help, watch T.V, barely read or write. Yet still she drives. Her GP told her to inform DVLA and insurers, but she refused. For months I avoided meeting, she was so vile. All her good qualities have been eroded by this disease. Feeling ashamed, I took some presents and photos from the past. There was the car, still used daily. She barely recalls my name, nor those of her dogs, and can't speak full sentences.
When I asked how she would feel if she caused death or injury to others, she said she was not bothered. If stopped from driving, threatens to take the car and crash into a tree. Her husband just shrugs, says he's past caring.
This is why I wrote to the DVLA, reporting her. The day the form arrived from them she was screaming on the phone, I just acted dumb. I still care for the friend I knew, but this is no time for sentiment. P has already died, this is not about her. She says she will cut her wrists rather than stop driving, and I feel no guilt, I just don't want to hear she has injured another. To me, doing nothing would have added to the list of things I feel ashamed of.
What's your verdict Moodscopers-should my conscience be troubling me?
A Moodscope member.