Oh how I know this feeling.
I feel terrible a lot for some things I cannot control. I have felt like a burden more than once to more than one person on this journey and I am sure that there will be more times in the future. This one is hard because you need support, but sometimes the right people to get that support from are people who are more distant from you. Because they don’t make you feel guilty for needing the help and you don’t have to manage THEIR pain while you are talking about your own.
I have found great support within the Veteran community. I don’t have to explain what my brain is doing, they just know. They know when to check on me and when to leave me alone. They know the thoughts, they know the blurred vision, they know what a flashback REALLY is — folks, it isn’t like the movies — they get it. You need to be around others who have similar labels. You need a community of people who you don’t have waste energy justifying the pain, answering all the silly questions so they will comfort you — as if you have prove to them that what you’ve been through is “bad enough” to warrant the way you feel about it.
This one is hard, but it can be addressed. Some people can go through the exact same experience — one ends up with this injury — our common burden — and another doesn’t, it doesn’t seem to phase them or impact them in the same way. So the thing to link, isn’t the pain, it isn’t the circumstances that caused the fear and loss of control or the hopelessness, the endless sea of pain. It is the fear, loss of control, the hopelessness and the endless sea of pain that is the common string. The why of it isn’t comparable and for some reason other people who have the same thing — whether the cause was going into combat or childhood trauma, we know the affect that has on the brain. You need a place you can go where people just get it. So you can expend your energy on management and re-training your mind, instead of wasting time trying to help people see that it is needed in the first place.
You wouldn’t be a burden to anyone in that space. You would be a light. You would be one more person they could talk and listen to — who helps them know they aren’t alone. You wouldn’t be a burden, you would be a gift.