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Oct8
2015

You Are a Being, Not a Burden

By Shelley Queen

There are so many reasons to close yourself off to the world.

You don’t want people to worry. You want your space and privacy. You have an image to maintain. You don’t want to drag people down.

So you cover your heart with armor to keep everyone out.

You protect yourself.

You’re the fun girl. The laid-back girl. The girl with no story.

You float by on “I’m good, thanks” and smiles and always being a good time, dissolving into self-doubt and self-loathing as soon as you’re alone.

But eventually that armor can’t protect you any more.

It rusts thanks to the poison in your thoughts and the worries and fears coming from your head. You do anything to shut them out.

You destruct. You feel the heat across your skin. The growl and moan of an empty stomach. The numbness of an altered mind and the sickness the next day.

You pull yourself down into a place where your thoughts fight more viciously than they did before, where you think and feel too much, where you just want to be numb.

But there comes a time when you can’t fight alone anymore. You’ve got battle scars in different forms, and they sting all over. You can’t drown or burn those thoughts anymore.

There comes a time when you need to give an honest answer when faced with the question of “How are you?”

There comes a time:

When the words that have been caught at the edge of your tongue and at the tips of your fingers need to spill out.

When you need to free yourself from the armor crushing your heart.

When you need to recognize that your thoughts, your feelings, and your story all matter. That you matter.

You might think you aren’t hurting enough. That people are worse off than you, have fought themselves more, or have been through more. They’ve self-injured, slept, drunk, starved, tried to die. You might think your story isn’t significant enough when you compare it to those. Maybe, your brain suggests, you are just seeking attention.

There is no precision measurement for pain. You don’t have to reach a scale or number to be worthy of help or love. Everyone feels and copes and hurts differently. Never be afraid it’s not enough.

No matter where you are in your story or what it looks like, it means something. Your pain is important because it’s yours.

You need to teach yourself that your voice matters and that people want to listen.

When I opened up I realized that there were people who wanted to be let in. Who wanted to know who I was. They didn’t just want to know the laid-back girl with no story. They wanted to know the girl with dreams and fears and hopes and regrets and pain and love in her life.

You deserve to show the world the whole spectrum of your being – the light and the dark and everything in-between. Each shade of you should be illuminated. The more you try to hide or cover different shades of yourself, the more they fight against you.

And when, one day, you finally give an honest answer to that ominous question of “How are you?” you’ll find that sometimes you get a reply of “Hey, me too.”

Your story can help other people continue their stories. Yes, all pain is different. But there are things that we all share when the darkness comes and we feel hopeless. And it’s our similarities that can save us.

Your experiences of drowning out your thoughts can help someone else who is trying to do the same. After all, you understand the reasons why they’d want to forget those thoughts, regardless of which technique they choose.

We humans are made of stardust. It makes sense that we should constellate and come together with our shared experiences.

By telling your story, you stop the poison seeping in your mind. You free yourself from the rusting armor around your heart.

Saying the words “I’m not doing so great” doesn’t mean you’re a burden, or tiresome, or exhausting. It’s a part of being alive. Every emotion is. Joy. Hurt. Pain. Love. Hope. Fear. It’s all there to be felt, to be experienced.

You are a being. You are. You exist. You contribute. You breathe. You love. You fight. You hurt. You feel.

And because of all this, because you exist, you matter.

So let the world see the person with a story that deserves to be told.

Your pain isn’t a burden.

You are a being, not a burden.

Leave a Reply

Comments (140)

  1. The1701

    Thank you so much, I really needed to hear this right now

    Reply  |  
  2. Emily

    This speaks to me so much and I’ve never heard anything like it. Thank you for opening my eyes and giving me the validation I needed.

    Reply  |  
  3. Ge

    This is beautifully written! and I really needed to read this, as the darkness is getting stronger at the moment and i am reaching new levels of self-doubt… but i guess i have crushed my heart for long enough and it is time to admit the reality of my struggles to myself and others

    Reply  |  
  4. Hera

    This resonates with me so much. A few days back, I wrote something similar to this on my blog, & reading this today makes me quite proud actually to have written something so similar to this. People really do need to hear things like this more often. *I* as a person need to hear this more often. Thank you, Shelley. You are magic.

    Reply  |  
  5. anonymous

    But what if no one cares enough to ask? Not professionals I mean friends and such. What if no one is there for you when you’re struggling? I have read a number of things recently that, similar to this, emphasize the importance of reaching out, not isolating, and letting your support system be supportive. My friends have other priorities and making new ones isn’t practical when I am feeling poorly. Having professional support is great, but sometimes you just need a friend to hold you while you cry. Depression feeds on isolation and loneliness…

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Hi anonymous, We’re sorry to hear that your friends haven’t reached out to ask how you’re doing. We’d love to send you some advice and encouragement. Would you mind emailing info@twloha.com?

      Reply  |  
    2. Also Anonymous

      You’re not alone in this situation, Anonymous. It has become painfully obvious that I have nowhere to go and no one to be completely open and honest with.

      Reply  |  
  6. Hollie

    “You might think you aren’t hurting enough. That people are worse off than you, have fought themselves more, or have been through more.”

    This. This is me. I have been keeping things to myself because it feels so trivial when I think of other people who are going through what I consider “real” problems. So when friends and family ask how I am, I say “fine.” Thank you for this article.

    Reply  |  
  7. Lrslie

    Me. Totally me.

    Reply  |  
  8. Sara

    Everything about this post is beautiful. Thank you for the reminder, and for expressing the sentiment so exquisitely. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

    Reply  |  
  9. amelia

    thank you for this. i feel like someone gets me.

    Reply  |  
  10. Robyn

    Thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings. My daughter tells me that she is a burden because of all she has going on. I don’t know what more I can say or do to show her otherwise. I’ve tried everything I can think of. It breaks my heart that she feels this way. One day when she’s ready. I will share this with her. Thank you xoxo

    Reply  |  
    1. bellla

      I’m proud of the wonderful mother you clearly are. God bless

      Reply  |  
      1. Robyn

        That means so much! Thank you for your reply. It brought tears to my eyes. I hope all is well with you. Thank you again

        Reply  |  
        1. Bellla

          Oh how I wish this awesome blog template allowed for notifications! I’m so sorry I didn’t know you replied.
          You’re so welcome for my response, I posted it because it’s true I hope things are a little gentler for your beautiful daughter now. And of course for you. If not, please know you are loved.
          God bless

          Reply  |  
  11. Angelina

    Thank you for writing this. I really need to hear this now. Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  12. Kelly K.

    Needed this tonight. Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  13. Meredith

    I needed this too. I wish there were more people that would listen…it’s hard to find.

    Reply  |  
    1. bellla

      How are you, meredith?

      Reply  |  
  14. Angi

    Thank you I feel like this everyday. It is great to see there are others that are going through it and I’m not out here alone. So hard to try to get the people around me to understand it’s nice to see there are others that actually get it. I really needed this right now. Thanks again.

    Reply  |  
  15. Valrie

    Thank you for sharing this. I’ve actually been told by my mother, and 1 or 2 other people over the years that “I’m just attention seeking.” Praise God, they have never spent a minute inside my head. There is nothing anyone else could say to me that would tear me down worse that those voices of the past, of my imagination, that continually keep me sick. I wish I knew a step by step way to get out of it. Unfortunately, I don’t.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Hi Valrie,
      Thanks for your comment! We’d love to send you some words of encouragement and advice. Would you mind emailing info@twloha.com?

      Reply  |  
    2. mykall

      I have been feeling this way for a long time my family grew up critizing each other plus all of the abuse i have witnessed as a child i resently moved to live with my dad his wife and my step brothers and its now become so constant its painful seeing the people im living with so happy around their own family im still figuring things out im 23 but i dont know

      Reply  |  
  16. Vince

    This is amazing. Thank you so much.

    Reply  |  
  17. Christina

    I haven’t been doing so great for a really long time. I just don’t even answer when people ask “how are you?” anymore because I know they aren’t truly asking. No one ever is.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Hi Christina,
      We’re sorry to hear that. Would you mind emailing info@twloha.com? We’d love to send you some words of encouragement.

      Reply  |  
  18. Shelli

    THANK YOU, that’s it.
    Just THANK YOU.
    ~Shelli

    Reply  |  
  19. Alysha

    I honestly feel like a burden. i hate feeling like this and making other people feel bad because i do . i feel like i have to pretend. i hate it but what can i do?

    Reply  |  
    1. Anon

      I know how you feel, I don’t want to bother my mother by asking for help. Not to mention she always yells at me and makes me feel like crapibut gives my sister all of the sunshine. She used to sing me a song “you are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when the skies are gray. You’ll never know how much I love you. So please don’t take my sunshine away.” But now I feel as if I’m the heavy humidity that chokes you on a hot humid day. I don’t want to have her waste time and money on a therapist or doctor visits and medicine.

      Reply  |  
  20. Sarah

    Wow. That was really inspiring and exactly what I needed to hear. I always feel my problems aren’t that bad because there are others who have it way worse then me. I may hurt myself only once a week but some people do it every day. My problem isn’t bad enough for people to care. This really reminded me of the truth. We all have pain and it is okay to ask for help when you need it. Thank you for this

    Reply  |  
  21. Jess

    This is exactly what I needed today. I have been struggling with darkness for a few days now, more so than I have in a while. So reading this, wearing my old TWLOHA shirt and acknowledging to myself that it is ok to feel this way – that it’s not my fault, and I’m not weak for feeling it – it’s all my way of admitting to myself that this is who I am. This is the whole spectrum of me, and I need to embrace it before I am able to move on. So thank you for this post. It is exactly what I needed.

    Reply  |  
  22. Maya Vi

    It’s so true, what you say. You are not a burden, you are human, just like the rest of us. My heart reaches out to you, and to each of you who are bravely facing your pain alone. As people who care, your friends, your family, please, please ….let us in. We may not be perfect, but we want to listen, to feel, to help. There is much to do, to hope for, to look forward to and though it may not seem so sometimes, we can all do it together. Thank you for sharing.

    Reply  |  
  23. Kayla

    This passage helped me a lot. I’ve never connected with writing until I read this. Thank you so much

    Reply  |  
  24. Erica

    thank you. i needed this. i still need this. thank you.

    Reply  |  
  25. RJ2017

    I wish I could believe this.

    Reply  |  
  26. Dallin

    Hey.
    So this actually means so much to me. Pretty much everything I’ve ever thought about in relation to my existence and everything else in the world that I feel like is just too much or too little or too lukewarm or too different or too … the same … is encompassed in this article.

    Thank you for putting it in words. Thank you for just saying it.

    I need this.

    Reply  |  
  27. Leah

    This post literally saved my life tonight. Thank you 🙂

    Reply  |  
    1. bellla

      I’m glad you’re here. God bless

      Reply  |  
  28. Anonymous

    Some days it’s so hard I answer that question honestly. And people expect/get used to you saying I’m fine even when you’re not. It’s so hard.

    Reply  |  
  29. Grace

    I don’t have fingers and toes enough to count the times people have asked “how are you” then they tune you out. It has become a phrase, uttered in polite conversation and contains little meaning these days.

    I try VERY hard, when I ask someone that question, to listen to their words. I just wish someone would do the same for me.

    Reply  |  
    1. bellla

      How are you grace? God bless

      Reply  |  
  30. Caty

    Thank you for this, really. I needed to read something like this to understand that I’m not the only one in this situation. Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  31. Cindy

    Reading this brought tears to my eyes. For years I’ve lived with depression, anxiety, OCD. For years I’ve felt not good enough but hid behind a smile and bubbly personality. To read that “I matter” has tears streaming down my face. My husband knows I suffer from this and is my Prince Charming but doesn’t know much about depression. He doesn’t know it’s constant. He’s my shoulder to cry on when it’s really bad but he worries so I try not to show him “really bad” as often as it comes. It’s nice to have found this site, this blog. It’s nice to connect with others who feel the same, who struggle with what has seemed so alienating for so long. This is the first time I have responded to a blog. I hope I find comfort in it.

    Reply  |  
  32. Pingback: 10.17.2015 | prolixponderations

  33. Anonymus

    Thank you for this. It’s really hard to see sometimes, because depression protects itself so well that you just make yourself think all bad about yourself instead of realising that it’s not really you, but just your depression or anxiety or stuff. This made me realise it again, which is so important 🙂

    Reply  |  
  34. Deidre

    Thank you. I have never seen my own feelings written out so clearly before. Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  35. Kim

    Shelley – Reading your words made me want to yell out “YES, listen to her, you exist, you matter, you are not a burden and those you love and who love you want to be let in.” Wow, shout it from the mountaintops and whisper it in ears. Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  36. Just a girl...

    So I’ve read this post quite a few times now and each time I muster up a little more courage to finally ask what I’ve been thinking, and that is……… what if you don’t want to be noticed? What if you don’t want anyone to know or find out how you’ve been feeling? What if you feel so alone and scared by your own emotions, that the very idea of anyone finding out…of someone discovering the truth… terrifies you? What if you have friends and people who care about you, but you….. just can’t bring yourself to talk to them? What if you are just being ridiculous and there’s no reason to feel the way you do and you wish you could just get over it all before anyone else figures out what’s going on? Is it just seeking attention to want someone to listen, but not have that person be anyone you know? Is what I am feeling really real if I’m too afraid to let the people in my life see it? Could I be wrong and I am actually fine and I just need to get over myself…and if so why would I want to share that with anyone else(especially with the people I know)?

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Hi there,

      Thank you so much for your questions and for having the courage to ask them. We’d love to talk to you more in depth and offer you some encouragement during this time. Would you mind emailing info@twloha.com? We’d love to hear from you.

      Reply  |  
  37. Sara Allenby

    This gave words to what I haven’t been able to express.

    Reply  |  
  38. Christy

    Beautifully written and if you can get to that point, if you can believe that, beautiful. I know myself enough to know I’ll never quite get this. A deep self hatred since childhood and now 30 years old, this isn’t for me. I recognize it and accept it. And just move on.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Hi Christy,
      Thank you for coming to our blog and for reading this post. We’re so sorry to hear that you’ve been living with a feeling of self-hatred for so long, but we believe that you too can get to a place where you believe you’re not a burden. Would you mind emailing us at info@twloha.com? We’d love to send some words of encouragement to you.

      Reply  |  
  39. Pingback: You are a being, not a burden. | Max Winchester

  40. Kathryn

    Thanks so much. This has helped me so many times to reach out and ask for help. Going it alone is a slow painful death. We can’t and we were never meant to go it alone. Love you guys and appreciate you so much

    Reply  |  
  41. Pingback: Top 10 Blog Posts of 2015 « TWLOHA

  42. Jessica

    Thank you so much ❤❤❤

    Reply  |  
  43. Anshita Jindal

    How awesome is this!

    Reply  |  
  44. Cathy

    This is beautifully written Shelley! Thank you for being a voice and for encouraging us to use ours. Your words will bring healing to many. You have touched my life. God bless you!

    Reply  |  
  45. Marygrace

    Thank you for the reminder<3

    Reply  |  
  46. marisol

    thank you. I felt every single word. thank you. I needed to read this.

    Reply  |  
  47. Lexi

    This really hit home for me tonight. Thank you for sharing this. Hearing these stories keep me going.

    Reply  |  
  48. Andrea S.

    I don’t usually write online, but I have to say that this post is beautiful. It makes it easy to relate to a journey that can easily be like mine as well. It actually shows how much you’ve learned from your pain; how you evolved from feeling like a burden, a nuisance even, to speak up and say ‘I don’t have everything figured out, but the fact is that I exist.’ Depression messes with our thoughts quite frequently –it’s what she does– and with how we show ourselves to the world. So we get scared and try to hide in different ways. But as the post says and quoting one of TWLOHA’s mottos, ‘it’s okay to be honest.’ I would say being honest is the first and most courageous step to treat our pain and it starts within ourselves, inside. The pain may or may not go away with time and help, but the intensity will and how you deal with it will make the greatest difference. Just please, give honesty a chance. It doesn’t make you weak. It makes you strong and real. It makes you feel and I would say that it’s also okay to feel whatever you need to feel…

    Reply  |  
  49. Amy H.

    I truly needed these words.

    Reply  |  
  50. Dave

    Very encouraging. I feel like this might be the voice of my wife, from the future. She is still stuck living without hope, unable to trust the love of her family, feeling worthless and spending her waking hours hiding and numbing. More people see it than she realizes. But I pray that she will have a similar epiphany very soon. That the walls come down and the light shines in on all of it. Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  51. jcfenske

    Thank you for your words. We all need to be reminded that our pain is not insignificant, and that to share the burden with someone else may be a gift, both to you and to them.

    Reply  |  
  52. TMG

    Wow. This is me. It’s nice to hear someone else feels the same way

    Reply  |  
  53. Serina

    “You destruct. You feel the heat across your skin. The growl and moan of an empty stomach. The numbness of an altered mind and the sickness the next day.
    You pull yourself down into a place where your thoughts fight more viciously than they did before, where you think and feel too much, where you just want to be numb.” This statement really resonates with me. Although, I know I matter and my story means something and people do want to be let in, it doesn’t always mean it’s easy to. But, when you find that special someone who gives you comfort in knowing that they are truly there to listen and be there for you no matter what AND prove it to you continually, its not so difficult to tear down those walls and let them in.

    Reply  |  
  54. Darquetta

    Hi I would like to say that this is exactly the same poem that I wrote when I was younger. I blog and so I posted this same exact poem on my blog page a few days ago.

    Reply  |  
  55. Annika

    Thank you! I’m sitting among my loved ones under the christmastree and I’m reading this in a quiet minute. I’m in tears. I really needed to hear this. People so often want to listen, but because of some stupid misconception we close them off. I know I do. I’m very good at listening, maybe I can be just as good at telling MY story. I’m going to try… Much love to you all!!

    Reply  |  
  56. A

    This comment could not be shared due to the nature of the message.

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Thank you so much for sharing part of your story with us.

      TWLOHA is not a 24-hour helpline, nor are we trained mental health professionals. TWLOHA hopes to serve as a bridge to help.

      If this is an emergency or if you need immediate help, please call and talk to someone at 1-800-273-TALK or reach out to the LifeLine Crisis Chat at http://www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org/GetHelp/LifelineChat.aspx“. We also have a list of local resources and support groups on our FIND HELP page. Please know that we also respond to every email we receive at info@twloha.com.

      Reply  |  
  57. Delfina

    One of the warmest loving and worth reading texts I’ve ever felt. Words can’t describe how thankful I am for these paragraphs! Love xoxo

    Reply  |  
  58. marsha

    I am a burden I don’t want to be i do things I don’t want to so that I can make others happy but I never feel accepted or appreciated just hurt and unworthy.

    Reply  |  
  59. Tina

    Thank you for writing this. This helps. Heals. And empowers. Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  60. LJ

    Thanks for writing this! You stole all the words out of my mouth of how I feel.

    Reply  |  
  61. Steph

    This is saved as a bookmark of mine and whenever I feel down I just reopen it and reread it. This never fails to make me feel better about everything. Thank you

    Reply  |  
  62. Tine

    These words are so true.
    It’s been three years since I discovered TWLOHA, didn’t trust it at first but I came back again and again. I gained hope through it so now I can saw:
    These words that are written above are true.
    I don’t know how to thank you all for everything you did.

    Reply  |  
  63. Morgan

    I know that this is true, all of it.
    How do you stop feeling guilty for telling your story? I can’t make it that far. I’m stuck in wanting to tell someone what is going on but I can’t do it without immediately hating myself for it. How do you do it?

    Reply  |  
    1. Abbey

      Morgan,
      I know what you mean. I was the person, and still am many times, that desperately wants to be heard and known, but feels trapped. It is so hard. Sharing can be one of the most powerful and saving things in this world. Its also one of the scariest.
      As for how we do it? Baby steps. Start with being a little more honest with yourself and people you trust. How to share has been the hardest part for me. I feel like I always either share too much and overwhelm people or can’t seem to step out of my rusty, creaky armor to share even the tiniest truth of me.
      Because sharing is so delicate and difficult, I think its absolutely essential to find someone you trust. Through my experiences trying to open up more, I’ve found that doing so with the “right” person really matters. You need someone to be receptive and supportive of you. The first person I really opened up to in college was this guy I dated for a while. Eventually, he told me that I cried too much and he felt like I was using him as a therapist. We don’t date anymore.
      This isn’t to say that he is not a wonderful person, or that I begrudge him needing to step back. We are still friends, he just was not “that” person for me. The next person that I thought was the “right” listener/confidant/friend turned out to be 10 million times worse. Then I called an old friend who has known me since kindergarten. She listened like an embrace and gave me just the kind of strength I needed. I know it is hard, but have courage to keep looking.
      Now, this is looking back with some distance. In the moment, it tore me apart. I felt I had no one and I just kept trusting the wrong people. Thats when the self-hate you mentioned really grew. The “why did you ever trust him/her, why did you ever think anyone would love you if they knew” toxic thoughts started pumping through my veins. They still do sometimes. It is a process.
      Then sometimes, there really is no one to talk to. And that seems to happen in the moment when you need someone most, doesn’t it? It is then that I write. I think of it as telling my story even when no one is listening. I have a running list on my computer, of whatever pops into my brain and needs to get out. Sometimes its groceries, questions I have about French conjugations, sometimes its a manifesto of my depression in it’s deepest darkest forms.
      In short, experiment. Keep trying. Talk, cry, read, write, listen. Find whatever feels good and do it. And keep looking for the “right” people, those who are worthy of hearing and holding your story with you. Also, give yourself some credit. This is hard. Life is hard. And you are still here. Thank yourself for being here, and do your best to love yourself along your journey.

      My best wishes for you,
      Abbey

      Reply  |  
  64. Kenzi

    I needed this tonight more than I can explain. I needed this cry. I needed to hear that “you don’t have to reach a scale or number to be worthy of help or love”. I needed to remember that the world wants me, people want me, as I truly am. Broken. Imperfect. Sacred and hurting. The world needs and wants me as I am. Thank you so much.

    Reply  |  
  65. Lindsey

    Your words are the thoughts and feelings I didn’t know how to express. Thank you for showing me that I’m not lost in this dark place alone. Thank you more than words can say.

    Reply  |  
  66. Abbey

    Wow Shelley,

    Just what I needed to hear. I can’t say how many times the simple question “How are you?” has completely wrecked me. When this happens, I tend to spiral inwardly, attacking myself- “What’s wrong with you?” “Why can’t you just smile, lie, and move on with your life?”

    It becomes so tiring to keep lying and smiling. But in truth, we can’t take this question as an invitation every time. If I didn’t lie to myself at least a little bit, I’d never make it through the day. I’ve never been a fan of “fake-it-till-you-make-it”, but a little armor, a nice facade is necessary now and then.

    But as you said, the armor breaks down eventually. There has to be a balance between authenticity and protecting ourselves- doesn’t there? There are so many mixed messages, everyone telling you how to do/beat depression the right way. People say to be open, honest, and bare our true raw selves to the world. At the same time, we’re supposed to keep going, doing, being, even if it doesn’t feel real. The balance is the hardest part. How do you find your balance?

    I also want to thank you for what you said about thinking we aren’t hurting enough. This exact idea has been weighing on my mind so much lately, and I hadn’t ever heard anyone else voice it. So often, I try to shift out of my own misery by telling myself how blessed I am, how there are people so much worse off than me. And while I think this can be a valuable truth for gaining perspective, it should not be used to diminish my struggles- as I have been using it.

    In particular, I’ve been agonizing over the decision to begin medication. I have a host of reasons not to, everything from “you should be able to do this on your own!” to Americans being some of the most overly-medicated people on earth. But the loudest voice has been saying “You don’t need medication. You’re not as bad as ____. You don’t do ______.” You’re blog made me realize how I’ve been measuring my story against others’. Thank you for giving me the courage to respond to my inner dialogue with “Yes, I may not _____. But I do hurt. And I do deserve to get help.”

    Best,
    Abbey

    Reply  |  
  67. Julie

    Thank you . These words are so true for me and so many others x

    Reply  |  
  68. M

    I wish everything was just as easy as it sounds. The battle I have to face with myself in my own world on a daily basis is much harder.
    Living alone in a different country, with no one around, disturbing people’s lives instead of helping… not easy at all to fall asleep at night!

    Reply  |  
  69. Maria

    I am struggeling with self-harm (and I think maby depression). I have tried to quit 3 times already, but I relapse after one-two months. Yesterday I had a big relapse. Today I went down to the ocean and trew away my blade. I can’t continue doing this to myself. This can’t be who I am.

    But I find it so hard to talk to people about my thoughts and my problems and I am so scared that people are gonna find out what I’ve done. I’ve started talking to the guidance cansler at my school, it seems to help, but the pupils in my class have started asking me questions about why I leave class and stuff. I am so scared, I used to be bullied all trough middle school (7 years), and I just can’t go back to that.

    It feels like this pain woun’t ever end. I struggle to get out of the bed in the morning, because what is even the point?

    My parents are the worst part of all of this, they care and try to “help”, but what they don’t understand is that they’re only making it so much harder with all of they’re questions and thoughts. They haven’t gone trough this. They just asume that what they think must be right.

    I don’t really know where to go from here, but the thing that I do know is that I can’t continue like this.

    Reply  |  
    1. Dakota

      Maria, I know how you feel. I am a little bit over 60 days clean and it’s a difficult struggle every single day. Congratulations on throwing away your blade, because I know that it’s a big jump. I can relate to you with parents who try and help but aren’t actually doing any good. Please stay strong and never give up, because this world would suffer without you in it. I wish I could meet you in person and give you a hug, because everyone needs a hug every once in a while. If you ever want to talk to someone, send me an email, because even though I don’t know you, I care. (kotabug2002@gmail.com is my email.

      Reply  |  
      1. Maria

        Thank you so very very much Dakota, you have no idea how much that means to me!
        My email is maria.sorhus21@gmail.com.
        Huge virtual hug from me

        Reply  |  
  70. Anon

    Thank you. Just, thank you

    Reply  |  
  71. Dakota

    This is a beautiful blog post, and it is necessary for everyone to read this. Telling people that they are worth more than they think they are is extremely important in today’s society where people have a lower self-concept of themselves.

    Reply  |  
  72. Debbie

    This is so meaningful to me. Thanks Tara, my precious friend/daughter. You know what to say at the right time. Life is so much about pain and fear right now. We know there’s a hope only God can bring and we’re clinging to it the best way we can. One day at a time.

    Reply  |  
  73. A

    Thank you for putting my feelings into words. Thank you for helping me heal. “There is no precision measurement for pain. You don’t have to reach a scale or number to be worthy of help or love.”

    Reply  |  
  74. Yasmeen

    I am in tears, reading this not only made me feel that I am a part of something, it made me realize that I am not alone. I ____, and yeah maybe for silly and stupid reasons like fighting with my parents, feeling lonely and worthless, to escape the emotional pain of wanting to die through the physical pain of cutting. But we all have our reasons, thank you for letting me know that it’s normal and okay to feel pain.

    Reply  |  
  75. shea

    I have a boyfriend who loves me like crazy and cares about me even more than he loves me. Ive had depression for a couple years now but moved out of the country 8 months ago, away from him, and things have gotten so much worse. He’s a very busy person but when he is free he’s always ready to listen and help. But for some reason, everytime he gets busy I feel like I shouldn’t tell him how I feel and that I should keep it to myself because I dont want him to get tired of fixing me. These words are so true I just wish I could believe them and stop being afraid.

    Reply  |  
  76. Sam

    Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  77. Ester S

    This is beautiful! Thank you so much for this!

    Reply  |  
  78. Francesca

    I want to believe this so much
    X

    Reply  |  
  79. katie

    I have felt and I feel this way. What do you do when you have a friend who does not understand that and has pushed you away because of your depression. He said that he only wanted to be around successful people so that’s why he couldn’t be friends with me anymore, I was and still am devasted by what he had said. He knows how much I am struggling and yet he would ignore me on purpose and it was just too much for me.

    Reply  |  
  80. Kristin

    Oh my gosh, thank you so, so much for this. It brought me *this close* to crying… but I don’t cry. I don’t feel much of anything, and have been struggling with self-harm in early sobriety, and you have found words for so much inside of me. Thanks for starting to crack me – I *want* to be broken open, in the right way – I *want* to get this out of me, to heal, and to feel worthy, and to live wholeheartedly. I want to believe you. Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  81. Kaye

    What are you supposed do when someone makes you feel this way and you have no friends?

    Reply  |  
  82. Megan

    Why was this so accurate? Thank you. Thank you so much. This applies to me. I am crying right now.

    Reply  |  
  83. Anon

    I know how you feel, I don’t want to bother my mother by asking for help. Not to mention she always yells at me and makes me feel like crapibut gives my sister all of the sunshine. She used to sing me a song “you are my sunshine, my only sunshine. You make me happy when the skies are gray. You’ll never know how much I love you. So please don’t take my sunshine away.” But now I feel as if I’m the heavy humidity that chokes you on a hot humid day. I don’t want to have her waste time and money on a therapist or doctor visits and medicine.

    Reply  |  
  84. Mbali

    Hi Shelly
    My name is Mbali from cape town South Africa , I watched the movie TWlOHA and i cried so much because it was spoke directly to me , I have been dealing with depression since the age of 10 , because a lot of events have taken place in my life , I am 20 years old now and still struggling and reading your letter now just made feel so greatful to be alive and not giving up even though I one too many times to kill myself cause i just could’nt handle the pain anymore and a lot of the time I always thought I was crazy because in the african culture back here , being depressed is not a thing so I never recieved proper help to get over my depression but your letter and this movie has kind of helped a great deal. I would like to share my story and perhaps even create something like in South Africa to help other people like me who go through these things but dont receive attention and help that they need .
    thank you for this .
    Mbali

    Reply  |  
  85. D

    It’s har to think you are not a burden when everyone until a certain age treated you like one.

    Reply  |  
  86. Denise Slowick

    Those are the most beautiful and truthful words that I’ve read in years.
    Thank you for making me stop and think.

    Reply  |  
  87. JessiRae Pulver-Adell

    I’m tearing up as I read this. I would love to connect with you about featuring some of your work in an online magazine about addiction and self-discovery. Please email me at JPulverAdell@HarborVillageFlorida.com

    Reply  |  
  88. Sunshine21

    This was in every sense of the word beautiful. Powerful. Inspiring. I felt like you wrote it based off of something I wrote about depression years ago. It was perfect and captured everything I’ve thought and felt. I always preach about others not being a burden but now I’ll learn to mean it for myself. I enjoyed reading this. Thanks for writing ♡

    Reply  |  
  89. Rhonda

    Thank you for this post.

    Reply  |  
  90. DONNAI

    Wow very powerful words to live by. I have someone that I’ve given my whole life to tell me I’m a burden, and seeing these words today signifies that I’m not. I now know for sure after reading these words that I do matter. And to let it go in one ear and out the other. I cared for Hospice patients for twenty years before hurt in a workplace injury only to be told that I’m a burden now. But from this day forward I will walk with my head high knowing for sure I’m not. Thanks so much for your encouraging words because I needed to hear them today.

    Reply  |  
  91. Insha

    You say “There is no precision measurement for pain. You don’t have to reach a scale or number to be worthy of help or love.” I know what you’re saying, at least o think I do, but in other terms some people are arrogant and think their pain is beyond any others… how does that work? Of course there are problems everyone has to face; people have different ways of tolerating, but how about that particular individual who craves every ounce of attention he can get. Apparently everyone is accountable for his pain and suffering. Is he the boy who cried wolf? How about those people who lock themselves away, and wait for the train of death to pass them.

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert

      Hi Insha. We hope you are well. Of course everyone feels pain at a different capacity, along a varying scale. And while some may be more vocal with their emotions and struggles, that certainly does not mean their pain is more substantial than someone who is more subdued (and vice versa). It is impossible to truly contemplate someone else’s pain and feelings. We can and should try to empathize, but we cannot rate their pain for them, nor can we deem their suffering “too loud” or “too quiet.” We hope that you see yourself in this light as well. Whether you are outwardly honest with your mental illness, or more reserved, you are deserving of help and love. And if you are in need of communication, we suggested that you seek professional help beyond our words. By texting TWLOHA to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741, you will be put in contact with a trained counselor. Please don’t hesitate to seek help. Sending you hope.

      Reply  |  
  92. pril

    Nice thanks for sharing!

    Reply  |  
  93. Petrichor

    Thank you. You just saved me from my own thoughts.

    Reply  |  
  94. Liz

    As much as I want to believe and hope the words above are true, in the end, my brain keeps saying “you’re a burden”. “But why?” I’ve retaliated back. “Don’t you see, the more you open up, the more you allow yourself to be openly unhappy, the more no one wants to be around you? Can’t you tell by their responses whenever you seek them for help? They’ve had enough, even I’ve had enough of your stupidity and I’m you! Everyday, you’re a waste of space, money, time, energy. Everyday, more people suffer, and you living your life of luxury with food, clean water, a home, and yet you’re useless. You don’t deserve all these. You don’t deserve what you have, why not end your stupid self so that the people supporting you can be released from the responsibility of having to feed you. This world is messed up enough and you’re only going to make things worse for everyone around you. You’re not even trying to get better.” “That is not true, I’m trying my best” “really? Then why do you still think of self harming? Why do you still thibk of dying? Why do you still keep yourself away from everyone? You KNOW how to make yourself feel better, but you don’t do it. You’re seeking attention aren’t you, waiting for that bloody text saying are you okay. Stop BSing yourself.” “The reasons why I keep to myself and do all this is because you keep telling me how awful I am when I’m with people, you tell me I’m burdening them, how am I suppose to continue being around them when you tell me I’m wasting their time.” “Because you are.” How does anyone fight back against your own thoughts when the belief that you’re a burden is so ingrained in you? That to call and reach out only makes me regret taking a person’s time. Why is it that everyone in my eyes are so worthy of love and life but I’m a horrible human being and by saying that i am, i am seeking attention and that I should keep my mouth shut because no one wants and needs to hear anything from someone who doesn’t deserve to speak of hurt and pain.

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert

      Hi Liz. Please know that these conflicting thoughts are not necessarily the truth. You are not a burden. You really aren’t even if your mental illness tells you the opposite. It’s a difficult task to sort through what is real and what is a falsity when the thoughts are being challenged on the same platform; however, you can overcome these thoughts telling you you are a burden or undeserving of help and love. Those thoughts are not true. Those thoughts are not you. It is your illness speaking. Please take the time to visit our help page here: https://twloha.com/find-help/local-resources/ and, if you would like to be connected directly with a trained counselor, you can text TWLOHA to 741-741 via the Crisis Text Line.

      Reply  |  
  95. Lost

    I punished myself for being depressed because I was being ungrateful. So I tried hiding my depression even from myself. The more I hide the more I fall deeper. Thank you for making it clear. The thing is what can I do? All I do is fail and all I hear is that I am a burden. Yet I have so much to be grateful for.

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert

      You are not a burden for having depression. You aren’t a failure either. Yes, we have a lot to be grateful for in this life, but dealing with mental illness doesn’t negate our gratitude even if it is buried when we feel heavy with sadness and despair. Talking with a counselor and seeking help for these conflicting emotions is essential. If you text TWLOHA to 741-741, the Crisis Text Line will put you in contact with a trained counselor. You don’t have to keep feeling this way, Amy. Please know that being depressed or struggling doesn’t make you ungrateful.

      Reply  |  
  96. H

    I just wanted to say how incredible this was to read, and I’m actually sitting here writing this to you in tears (it’s a rare). But anyway, I write to say thank you, for giving me something to one day learn to accept and apply to my life. You words remind the rest of us to be strong.

    Reply  |  
  97. Trinity

    Thank you so incredibly much!!! You have no idea how much I was breaking before I read this!! This is so encouraging!! Thank you so much!!

    Reply  |  
  98. Albertine de L'Aster

    you’re so right , you can hide soooo much behind a smile … but also try to fight against what’s inside you and don’t let it some space even if it’s killing you , …even if you already know that you’re condemned and the battle is already lost … but just thinking about the others and the pain you don’t want them to feel when they realize what’s happening … if they are not already gone when they have discovered that you had some “issues” … Because there are different ” levels” … the thing you feel badly … the illness that can’t be cured … and the armor is so convenient but heavy and exhausting to care when it’s too often … I hope one day I would be able to feel the same as in your beautiful hopeful letter … I wish I could … Thank you .

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert

      Keep going, Albertine. You are deserving of the hope and good you speak of. Know that. Remember that.

      And please do not hesitate to seek out help if you are in need. You don’t have to do this alone. The burden you are carrying doesn’t have to be just yours to carry. Others want to help you.

      A good place to start is our Find Help page here: https://twloha.com/find-help/local-resources/

      Also, you can email us at info@twloha.com if you wish to share more of your story. We read and respond to every message we receive. You are not alone.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  99. jmk

    this is exactly how i feel & needed to hear it
    but how do i open up to the ones i love?
    im done pushing away

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert

      It’s great that you want to open up to the ones you love and trust in your life. Creating a safe and honest space to speak about your struggles is essential. Entrust in those you feel most comforted by and free from judgement. In addition, we would also recommend that you reach out for professional help, too. You can start at our FIND HELP page here: twloha.com/find-help

      You can also text TWLOHA to 741741 via Crisis Text Line. You will be connected to a trained counselor free of charge (it’s available 24/7).

      We’re so glad you want to be honest with your story and reach out for help. You deserve it.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  100. Sheila Mejia

    You have a right to be here,no less than the trees or stars, for the world is full of trickery, ….i thank you for this today I agree with it all

    Reply  |  
  101. Andrew Hamilton

    I cover up my hurts with hardcore partying. Then, I forgets.

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      Andrew,

      You do not have to use partying as a means to relieve your hurt and struggles. You don’t have to continue relying on coping methods that harm you further, please know that.

      We hope you will reach out for professional help, so you receive the help and support you need and deserve. Please start at our FIND HELP page here: twloha.com/find-help

      Things can get better. You are stronger than you think.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  102. Anonymous

    Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  103. Anonymous

    Thank you. So much.

    Reply  |  
  104. Brandon

    I’ve always felt less than. At 38, I look back at my life thus far and see a long trail of people and decisions that would not have been if I would have at least felt equal to others. I started small tests lately where I tell people the truth in a very short, yet honest, sentence or two and gauge their reaction….. usually with, “I’m not doing so great.” But even then, felt the need to lighten the mood with “but I know it will get better.” How sad is that? I only added the tag line at the end for their sake….. and it just stung me inside more.

    Why do I have to make it better for them? Why do I have to feel scared to even admit my life is falling apart?

    I have had a tendency for 38 years to surround myself with people who don’t really love me…… and but for the grace of God, a few got in there that did.

    I needed to read this. I am the problem, but I’m not a problem. I love deeply and unconditionally, but it’s ok to not be perfect. Thank you for this. I don’t even know how to say how much this means to me.

    Reply  |  
  105. Barbara

    Thank you!❤

    Reply  |  
  106. Robbie

    That was really good

    Reply  |  
  107. JC

    I can’t tell you just how much I needed to hear these words today. I’m trying to let the words sink in and also recognize the parts of my being pushing back and saying “but your experience as a trans and queer person has been one of mistreatment, abuse, etc. etc. etc.” It still matters. I matter. Thank you.

    Reply  |  
  108. Kaylee

    Thank you for sharing. There are so many people that need this

    Reply  |  
  109. Ruth

    Thank you
    my brother called me after a gap of over ten years and said..”I need help,“. I said simply “ok.” He died six months later in a facility that was horribley abusive.
    My step brother says “I’m sorry your burdened with such a burdensome burden.” I felt raw abuse in that and deep hurt! Three times even in one sentence!
    This is his brother too??
    this reading was so beautiful and absolutely my mindset when I started the shortest journey yet… From a long absence to a deep wanting to connect and to help, he was never a burden, he’s my brother, and how beautiful that I was so blessed to have had every other weekend for five months visiting him before he died! I’m embracing that because it’s true! And it was hard, hard! So burden? Or blessing?

    I d bet the farm on, it was a blessing! Huge sky opening up and giving and also taking! To say life’s challenges are really blessings and finally I hope today was peaceful yet joyous?
    That’s our step brother who is really not nice to us!
    Yours and my understanding is It may just be the hugest blessing, one that you can’t contain! whew! t.u. Jesus for going before me and always making a way to the blessings! I just want to say, It wasn’t peaceful, joyful, or a blessed challenge. But it wasn’t a burden. Know your truth! And hold on to it! Everyone matters. “Come as you are!” Amen

    Reply  |  
  110. Anonymous J.R.

    I’m so worried. I want to open up and sometimes my hurt slips through the cracks of my carefully sculpted mask but I’ve heard so often how it drains them to be surrounded by crying, negative people. They hate how it poisons them and makes everything bleaker and my best friend even said that it’s only natural that given the choice you’d pick a healthy cat over a three legged one. They’ve unfriended enough people because of this and even though they’ve held me when I cried, I’m too scared of being that depressing three legged cat that only drags them down. What if you pick the healthy cat but later on its leg gets amputated? Will you love it less? Haven’t you already grown fond of it? They want happy people, ones who smile and joke and I do but I’m not always happy and it’s so exhausting. I feel like I’m going to drown and I can’t reach out for the hands above me because who knows if they’ll pull me up again or drop me. I’m too scared and too worried and I want them to be happy, I especially want them to be happy with me but I’m a human with feelings and I can’t. They’re my family and my best friends and I can’t even tell them how I feel. I’m too distant from my other friends for them to even realise but if they did, I’d probably brush it off anyway because I’m a coward. On the other hand this might be for the best because I don’t want them to cut themselves on my shards and I know that they’re already busy with their own struggles. They’d probably listen if I asked them to but what if that’s how I lose them?

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      Hi friend,

      First, we just want to thank you for your transparency and willingness to share how you are feeling with us. We know it isn’t easy, but you have inspired us.

      Second, we are truly sorry to hear that you are struggling in silence even though you want and need to reach out. It can be difficult to find people who will support and love and accept us through both our good days and our not-so-good days, but we believe in the power community and being able to be honest with those we care about.

      Would you email our team at info@twwloha.com so we can have the honor of hearing more about your mental health story and offer you some encouragement and support? You are deserving of time, attention, and care, friend. We hope to give that to you as best we can.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
  111. Meagan Baldwin

    This is very heartfelt, and true.

    Reply  |  
  112. Forrest Moss

    I am going through my own healing journey now. I was just talking to a friend and I was saying I don’t like to feel like I am burdening people with my problems. As I said it, I remember my mom telling me that “You are not a burden Forrest.” It isn’t until now that I realized that deep down inside, there was and still is a part of me that feels that I am a burden, that I don’t matter, many more people have it worse off. I now understand that I MATTER, and my voice matters, my story matters, because I matter. And the people who truly love and care for me want me to share my story, want to know the real me. Thank you for writing and sharing this, it is a blessing. If it’s ok with you, I would like to share this. Maybe if someone who is going through these emotions sees this, it will light a spark inside to help them remember who they are and that they matter too. They are not burdens, they are beings.

    Reply  |  
  113. Rachel

    Thank you for this.

    I’m the “strong one”. I’m tired, and I’m losing control of the mask I wear. People around me don’t know how to deal with this difficult me. I feel so misunderstood and alone.

    I completely feel like I’m a burden, my feelings are just going to bring others down. I want to hide them so I don’t have to deal with the painful repercussions. I fear the damage control. I have to make it up to them when I slip.

    I’m left feeling hopeless and angry.

    This blog entry is what I needed tonight to make me feel not so alone. Thank you again.

    Reply  |  
  114. Bri

    I have quite borderline personality disorder. I’m so scared of being a burden to my friends. I don’t want to hurt them. I don’t want them to feel the pain I do. I don’t want to put my stuff on them. I want to bless them and not annoy or drag them down with my shit. So I try not to reach out. Why should they have to come to the rescue Everytime I feel pain? But I do want real deep friendships and Im sick of feeling so alone in this, just trying to get through. I can’t convince myself that maybe I’m not a burden.

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      Bri,

      We understand feeling as though your struggles can be a burden to those around you, but please know that your pain is valid and you are allowed to need help and support. We all do. We hope you will come to believe that there are people out there, friends especially, who can and want to be there for you through the heavy and the light. You can always talk to us about what you’re going through too by emailing us at info@twloha.com. You are not alone, Bri.

      With Hope,
      TWLOHA

      Reply  |  
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