You Are Not A Burden

I have to repeat these words to myself on a daily basis recently.

I’ve been posting a lot of poems lately. Not every single one I’ve written, but a good chunk of them. It’s annoying because I want to save them and try and publish a poetry chapbook of my own, but I think there’s power in sharing an emotional struggle to ensure that no one ever truly feels alone in the battle with their own mental health. I feel that when we try harder to hide it from everyone, it’s when we feel the most alone and that we are a burden to those who love us.

I’ve uttered those words to my therapist a few times. “I feel like I’m becoming a burden.” It’s the anxiety/depression talking, I know. She’ll ask in response, “Who told you that you’ve become a burden?” and I have to admit that nobody has said it, that’s just how it feels. It’s crazy what a sick brain can convince you of.

I’ve been really low lately. I spent most of this past school year anxious AF, always on high alert, ready for the worst case scenario every time. But I’ve lost my energy. I’ve lost my motivation. Even at work, where I hold myself to the highest standards, I find myself cutting corners, being passive, not wanting to be the best teacher I can be. I’ve wanted to skip lesson planning with my partner; I’ve stopped reaching out to coworkers; I plan for more and more independent work time (which to be honest they really do need, but my intentions don’t feel pure) so I can spend less energy. I come home to watch TV and TikTok on the couch. I didn’t wash the dishes in over a week – my husband finally had to do it (our agreement has always been he cooks/I do dishes). I haven’t showered since last Thursday (and I’ll blame this crazy weather and lack of power/water down here in Texas but that’s not why).

Last week when I spoke with my therapist, we discussed the poem I published on my blog the day before, “In My Sleep.” I posted it solely to share with her, and was going to post it privately, but decided to just go ahead and post it. She has always been supportive of writing being my space to truly express emotion, because some things are just hard to admit out loud. I sat on that poem for 3 weeks in my journal. I told no one about it. But in a brief moment of clarity (i.e. I drank a bottle of wine), I realized I needed to share it with her. I emailed it to her the day before our sessions, so I couldn’t just “forget” to mention it. It was the hardest session to date, because I was forced to face where I truly was emotionally.

I’m exhausted. Anxiety is exhausting. It’s a constant battle with your own mind every single day about everything, and I’m just so tired of fighting it. They call it “suicidal ideation.” Thinking that life just isn’t worth living anymore because it’ll never get better. I don’t have a plan. Zero intentions. I’m just tired.

I had an appointment with a psychiatrist this afternoon for the first time, at my therapist’s suggestion. There is some sense of validation that comes from a diagnosis, even when you’ve known all along. Moderate major depressive disorder and generalized anxiety disorder. I know that a diagnosis doesn’t change anything. I know that a prescription SSRI isn’t the cure. It’s within me to make changes. I do know that having another person in my corner is helpful.

What’s really gotten me through this far are the people that are in my corner.

My husband, friends, family, coworkers, bosses, my therapist, even strangers on the Internet (looking at you, Susan) have been there for me more than I can ever adequately thank them for. If any of them are reading this post: I will never have the words to express my gratitude for your check-ins, texts, answering my random mental breakdown calls, Facetimes both to talk and just to be in the presence of someone else, letting me cry or vent in your classroom/office. Sometimes I ask myself how or why you continue to put up with me, but I recognize on the better days that I am loved, even if I don’t always love myself. One day I will find better words, but for right now, just — thank you.

Wherever you are at in your own journey, never let yourself feel like a burden to those who truly love and care for you. If that one thought it where you spend your energy for the day, let that be it. Because that support may be what carries you through the bad days, until the fog finally starts to clear again.

You are not alone. You are not a burden.

6 thoughts on “You Are Not A Burden

  1. I can understand. I’ve went through about 4-5 blogs now. Every one of them have ended up the same way… I get to feeling like nobody cares. I start feeling like a complete downer and I’m striking out left and right. So I delete. Then I get some motivation mustered up and repeat the process lol.

    I also talk a lot. Some don’t mind (I think) and I get the feeling that it’s very burdensome for most.

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