Fibromyalgia Action UK
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I do calligraphy at a beginner to intermediate level. Enough that people have asked me to do wedding invitations.

I offered to do some wedding invitations and spent a lot of time laying out and practising. When it came to actually do the invitations, I was/am in a flare and it actually hurts to write and my fingers swell so I can't make a fist.

The deadline for the invitations was coming upon me and I had to make the horrid decision to let the Bride know I was physically unable to do them.

Justifiably, she is no doubt angry. She hasn't had a go and text messages have been followed up with a x.

The guilt I am putting on myself is making my mental health plummet and the stress of it is manifesting itself in feeling physically sick.

When I do something wrong I go overboard with the apologies and this is no different. Have sent a card and then sent flowers. I haven't seen her since I told her about the news and she knows I am quite poorly however I am so scared of seeing her that I want to cancel my appointments with her. I don't like confrontations and again she has every right to be pissed at me.

This experience has made me realise that my dream of starting a calligraphy service isn't going to come about and also I am only going to say yes to doing things for people on the understanding that it has to be done in my time.

Is there anyone else out there that feels guilty for letting people down? If so, how do you handle it?

Thanks for reading.

Keep well.


12 Replies

Oh poor debbs.

Plz dont be beating yourself up about this, you made a lovely offer at a time you were feeling almost normal (weve all been fooled by dayz like this) and unfortunetly your now in the mist of a flare up so things have changed. Your health and wellbeing is the most important issue here and although it will be an inconvience, your friend will be able to get wedding invitations made up elsewhere. Plz try to put this into perspective no one has been hurt maimed or killed and theyre are alturnative solutions to this minor hiccup so theres no need to be feeling so upset.

If this girl is a stranger you should not worry about how she perceives you her opion will made without access to all the facts, if however she is a friend she should have some understanding of your situation and should be aware that you are unfortunetly limited by your health condition and that although the spirit is often willing unfortunetly the flesh is often not. If this is the case then shame on her for her lack of compassion.

You have apologised to the best if your ability, explained the situation nd even offered a sincere token of your regret in the form of flowers I believe you have dealth with this matter in a professional and competent manner so you now need to put it to bed.

Stop apologising and move forward leave the guilt behind because as we all know it changes nothing but only acts to make our fibro much worse.

You sound like a lovley kind caring person and any friend should be glad to have you in their contact list :-) take care of urself lighten up and stop with the guilt trips :-)))) x


Thank you for the reply.

One of the issues that my Psychologist is going to try and aim to help me learn to deal with is guilt. For years, after my parents separated and my Sister and I were split and I was with my Father and Grandparents, my Biological Mother used to make me feel guilty by saying I chose my Dad over her. My normal brain knows this isn't true as I was very young. However my irrational brain just thinks that I deserved the guilt. I have to try and realise that my BM was trying to offload her guilt as she never really fought for me and when my Parents tried to relocate me to live with by BM, I hated every minute of it. I was pulled out of Infants school down south and enrolled up North and I was a brat. Eventually my BM just packed my bags, and got her Dad to drive me back down South and she has never forgiven me for that. And it is something I cannot put to bed so to speak as no one will tell me what happened.

Sorry gone off at a tangent!


Hello Debb and good on you for giving some new a go, I believe there is always a positive out of a negative, in this case I would say that you know how much work you can do before you need a rest, please do not give up on your dream, what you need to remember is that this is going to happen from time to time in any kind off business. It was unfortunate for this bride you gave your apologies and your letting your thoughts get carried away, we are all human, and when all said and done you did not do anything that would harm her, so why not tex her before the next time you see her and just explain that you have felt bad ever since ask her how she feels with a direct question, you are assuming she is angry with you, when we try think for others we make ourselves feel worse. Keep going with your dream just do some leaflets giving customers a little background on yourself that can incouprate your fibro, that way its then up to a customer if they feel your for them, keep positive hun believe in you hugs and smiles xx


Thank you. She has been in touch and even though text messages are hard to convey emotion she seems ok.

And yes, as usual, gone OTT with the self guilt :-)



Stay positive lv its horried how guilt what happens to us in childhood can cause us emotional baggage in adult life you sound like a beautiful person smiles and hugs xx


Thank you xxx


First off , Debb, you have to be congratulated for doing calligraphy ( not an easy job because it is painstaking and time consuming : any handicraft is )and for having the courage and confidence to give it a go . Please don't write yourself off ( sorry , no pun intended ) just yet .It could be that your calligraphy just takes off in a completely different direction, not being so dictated by deadlines. I think the way forward lies in being totally upfront with people about your condition so that they know and hopefully understand , you have pretty much said so yourself near the end of your post.If they like your work, they should give you plenty of notice and be prepared to wait.I work from home doing doll's clothes and selling them on the net , as and when, at my own pace . If I get too much arm, wrist and hand pain going on then I give it a rest for a few days and make quite sure I get adequate breaks even on days which are good but no doubt you know this already.! I agree with the first lady that answered your post , you have done all you possibly can and more to compensate your customer in cancelling her order . I wish I could offer some useful advice about the feelings of guilt - am still working on this problem at the age of 57. I suppose it is a habit, like worrying about everything and feeling that you have let people down etc etc. You are probably your own sternest critic ! Anyway , please don't let this upset you too much or put you off . You'll be fine . Very best wishes Frances.


Thank you Frances, for the reply. I am going to keep on with the calligraphy as a hobby as I just love the beauty of the written word.



Excellent ! I really am very pleased to hear that .And, in the interim, you might think of an even better business venture, who knows ?


I was in a similar position a few years ago for one of my cousins, in the end they got nicely scripted place cards but I ran them through the computer instead of doing them by hand. I also carry a lot of emotional baggage from my childhood and I felt dreadfully guilty for not doing the cards by hand but when it feels as though your hands have been swapped for a couple of very painful bunches of bananas there's not a lot you can do about it!

A few weeks ago I was all set to take photos at my sister's birthday party, even had the camera with me but my arm was so bad that evening, I had to give my camera to someone else to use. Its a complicated camera so not only did the other person have to try and figure out how to use it, worse still - I ended up in a number of the photos which I usually manage to avoid by being the family photographer - sigh.

I'm currently doing (struggling with) a part-time photography degree and I'm dreading the thought that I'm starting the first half of my third year next month and at least half the time at the moment, I can't hold a camera! I'm going to have to rethink all my project ideas for this year :(

You might need to concentrate on calligraphy as art rather than dealing with deadlines. There's a local (to me) calligrapher who sells not only original pieces but scans her work and sells prints and cards. Her work is wonderful, I love to go to exhibitions where she's showing. Her name is Julia Baxter and she has a website if you want to take a look at her work.


Thank you for this. I am sorry to hear that you suffer the 'guilt' emotion so much as well. If only we were Data from Star Trek and able to remove our emotion chip :-)

Good luck with the photography course. I would love to do a degree in Calligraphy but as usual comes down to fitness and money. As one of my Calligraphy mentors would say, practice, practice, practice (that is for me :-) )



Thanks! I have to say I wouldn't have survived my first year at Uni without the wonderful support that the university provides. I find each year gets increasingly difficult - I pretty much hibernate over the summer but I'm finding that I'm more tired at the beginning of each academic year than I was the year before. As for the financial side... don't even go there!!! *shudders*


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