Have you ever watched the movie Titanic? This 1997 iconic movie has so many great scenes that I still remember to this day.
Of course, there is the scene when Leonardo DiCaprio’s character, Jack, stood at the front of the boat exclaiming that he was, “King of the World!” There is also the scene where he is asked to paint Kate Winslet’s character, Rose, like “one of his French girls” and many more. I am sure that we could discuss many other scenes that helped to make that movie so memorable.
One of the scenes that has been stuck in my head recently is the scene when the boat begins to sink. Of course, if you know anything about the sinking of the unsinkable ship, you know that there were not enough safety boats for everyone to make it to dry land. Only those who were, more or less, “worthy enough” were able to be saved.
The COVID-19 vaccine is like those safety boats. They are an escape away from a horrible terror and yet, there are not enough for everyone, but only for those who are thought of as more important or more at risk. I was fortunate enough to receive both shots of the vaccine.
My position as a mental health worker and an employee at a local university awarded me the opportunity, but the medicine incited a sense of guilt in me. This virus is causing so much harm around the world and I feel bad that I was able to “get on the boat” while others are still waiting.
Guilt is an emotion that many of us experience when we feel that we have done something that we shouldn’t have done. It is an emotion that keeps us anchored to an event of the past, preventing us from moving forward. Although we cannot change our guilt-provoking experiences, we must learn to use them to change our futures.
I became a therapist because of the guilt of my past. I learned from unfortunate experiences and made an effort to help others to not go through the things that I did. Let your guilt be your motivation for change. Reach out to others who have not yet received the vaccination with encouragement or resources that could help them. Let’s do our parts to make sure that no one is left on that sinking boat!
Dr. Andrew Watley, PhD, LPC-S, NCC