Recovering from a traumatic event is a long process that can make you feel that you are a burden to others. It often involves both mental and physical recovery and you may worry that events in life might not just be taking a toll on you, but also on those around you. You may start to feel like a burden.
This happened to me when I got out of hospital. Of course, I was happy to be at home, even though adapting to a new way of life wasn’t easy, and certainly not pain-free. From the start we tried to set up a routine; we drew up a timetable so my husband could organise his workload around me.
We would get up in the morning and he’d help me with washing and getting dressed. Then he would make breakfast and later lunch and dinner. We would eat these meals together which was nice, but each day I’d see how busy and exhausted he was.
I’d suggested he take some time off, from work and me. I didn’t want him to get overloaded and it was obvious that he needed downtime. Who wouldn’t? He had important deadlines to meet at work and was looking also after me. I was making progress, but it was slower than expected. Due to the level of pain I was still experiencing, I couldn’t look after myself so I started to feel like a burden.
Feeling like a burden
With my hubby’s busy schedule, him having to care for me, and my feeling of being a burden started to grow. It all became too much. It was my first weekend back home when I had to call him away from his deadline as I needed help. When he came, it was obvious that work wasn’t going well. He’d had enough and I wasn’t of much help either. It didn’t need much before we both lost control. He was exhausted, and I felt like a burden.
I was in pain and he had too much on his shoulders. I just couldn’t help myself. The feeling of being a burden was so strong. It was an awful feeling. I already had it in hospital. At the time I’d apologised to a nurse for being a pain. However, her kind words reassured me that she was there to help me and I slowly got used to accepting help from others.
Nevertheless, I’d had enough by the time I got home. I wanted to be able to do things for myself independently. It wasn’t my husband’s job to look after me or was it? I am not a feminist, but I just wanted to be an independent woman again. I didn’t want to be a burden.
The truth is however, that we can’t always do everything alone. God did not design us to carry our burden alone. We just simply can’t juggle life’s hardships without God. So we really need to rely on Him, He is here for us every time.
Burdens become lighter when shared
Yet, despite the knowledge that God loves us, and His love is unconditional, it is still very easy to slip into the feeling of being a burden. However, realising this allows us to take action. The first step is to talk about it, to communicate it. Don’t rob someone of the opportunity to help you carry your burden. Reach out to family, friends, a counsellor, or a pastor. Speak to God, tell Him what your burdens are, cry out in prayer. It is essential to do so.
As it turned out it felt good to talk and open up about it to my husband. I didn’t expect the reaction I got from him. My hubby came closer to me and gave me a hug. I needed this hug so much. He pulled me closer and started to smile: “You silly one, I love you, we are married. Remember our vows – in good and in bad? Yes, it’s a hard time right now but it doesn’t mean that helping you bothers me.
“Not once have I said anything about having to help you… Yes, I wasn’t in the best mood today and it has been a very busy week but I’m here for you because I want to. Because this is what marriage is about. I’m sure you would have done the same for me. No one said the next few months would be easy, but things will get easier as you make progress in your recovery. We’ll get there.” He is right, we’ll get there because of love.
Remember: You aren’t a burden
If you feel that you’re a burden know that you are not. You’re a human being, a child of God. Know that you aren’t a burden; you have a burden. You carry your burden as a result of what has happened to you. After all, you haven’t chosen to have it. Doing your best is therefore all you can do.
It is important to take every step as it comes. You need to give yourself realistic goals you strive to achieve and progress. You are doing the best you can – your closest ones know it, and you know it too! Don’t slap yourself in the face every time you feel like a burden. You aren’t, so get rid of those dark thoughts and concentrate on doing your best.
With love you will get through it – love from others, from God and yourself. And this is important – be kind to yourself and focus on the positives in your life and on your achievements. This will help you to feel less like a burden as each day passes. Your loved ones want to have you in their lives. They love you, even in these hard times, they would be devastated without you. They would miss you if they didn’t have you around and wouldn’t want to trade the days with you for anything.
This works against those dark thoughts
Now it’s up to you to love yourself as much as your closest ones love you. Nothing else helps against those negative thoughts more than love. Give yourself a hug. Hug yourself – place your right hand under your left arm so you can feel your heart and your left hand on your right shoulder and remain so for a few seconds. Every time I do it, I feel this soothing effect. It helps me to accept myself as I am. I feel connected with myself, with God and it also enables me to see the brighter side of life. So why not to try it? Surely, you are worth it:)
*Do you struggle with the feeling that you’re a burden? What does help you to avoid feeling that way? Share with a comment below.
Visit Journeyofsmiley for other articles written by Katy Parker.