A Burden

People who keep stiff upper lips find that it’s damn hard to smile.
— Judith Guest, Ordinary People

I’ve felt it, the feeling of being a burden on those around me. The ones that are trying to help. I’ve said it to myself. I’ve asked myself countless times why I have to be such a burden. I’ve told those people that I’ve affected with my own problems that I feel like a burden to them.

Nobody grows up thinking that they are going to have to talk their best friend or loved one down from the edge of suicide or hold them as they are crying just trying to get some of the pain out of them. Nobody dreams of that as they are growing up but it’s something that many people have had to do.

Our mental illness doesn’t just affect us, but also those around us and it makes us feel like a burden on them. That feeling sucks and it’s one of the many reasons we don’t reach out when we should.

So are we a burden?

No.

If someone is there for you, and I mean truly there, then no you are not a burden on them. They are there of their own free will to help you. They care about you so much that they are willing to sit at your side and listen to what you have to say. They want you to talk about your feelings and emotions. That’s not a burden, but a friendship.

Feeling like a burden is a real feeling, it’s valid and many people in our situation experience it. It’s another thing that we have to work through. Let the person know this is what you’re feeling. You need to be able to have those open and honest discussions with them.

We are not a burden. We are people with real and valid thoughts and feelings that just need to learn how to work through them.

Just like the other thoughts and feelings, acknowledge it. Tell the other person how you are feeling, and what is making you have this feeling. Be honest. People can learn how to help you best if you are honest with them. They can’t help if they don’t know.

I’ve had such a hard time writing this and it took me a while to figure out why. Usually, there is some difficulty with my writing. I have to recall what I went through, and what I did to overcome it. It’s not like recalling my favorite vacation, this is recalling painful memories and experiences.

Writing this has been difficult because I still experience it. It’s still an active feeling that I have, sometimes daily. It’s a reminder that this takes time and practice. It’s not something that you or I am going to fix overnight.