Simply stated, most likely, you are not a burden. So why do so many feel the strong emotion of lacking value? Often, shame resides in the mind and clouds all possibility of reaching the potential of our societal standards and norms. A plenitude of people, suffering from an illness, do feel to be an inconvenience to those in their life. Whether it be diabetes, alcoholism or any type of affliction, such may result in a low self-image.

I myself battle the challenges of mental illness. Truthfully, I have never felt comfortable residing among other people. My mind functions differently, as does the body of a cancer patient, battling for existence with chemo and radiation.

I’ve encountered a great deal of others suffering with the reality of their fate, as if it were a curse. Survival is the desired outcome for our seeking medical or emotional assistance. Base needs replace extravagant desires. Grave mistakes occur. Thus, our feelings of inadequacy are further grounded, as we attempt to discover normalcy. A day without crippling, inner mental anguish. An hour without the gripping pains of PTSD and the subsequent crash of the mind. The desired goal? Peace. The pattern of ceaseless ruminations, compounded by social misunderstanding, does create further barriers, as most of us simply strive to be accepted.

Unfortunately, our minds and bodies are fragile. This fragility breeds a sense of being burdensome — even to the self. Why? I do not presume to possess any knowledge, other than what I’ve attempted to overcome throughout my days of bipolar behaviors. All I may hope for, for my fellow travelers and myself, is to witness our own true and pure potential. The result, I believe is far less self-abasement and confliction. The term “burden” will then lack all value, so as to provide space for our artistically graceful ways, which can and will flourish.

Todd LaTourrette lives in Santa Fe.

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