by Marlene Evans
(This article was written by Mrs. Evans during the years she suffered with cancer. She has been in Heaven since 2001, where there are no more burdens!)
People in trouble of any kind (financial, physical, spiritual, emotional, or mental) have difficulty with a sickness, disease, or syndrome that manifests itself by saying over and over statements such as:
“I’m nothing but a burden.”
“I’m sure you would be better off without me.”
“I’m not worth anything.”
I try with all my might to shut up when I think those statements. Yes, I do think those statements. I seriously doubt there is a chronically ill person who does not think in that vein. The important thing is whether or not we fight that thinking for the good of ourselves and, for sure, for the good of others.
Giving in to an “I’m-nothing-but-a-burden” syndrome is so selfish. Giving in to it is a blatant request for reassurance. Constantly requiring a family member or caregiver to provide reassurance is truly making yourself a double burden.
The syndrome goes like this:
Sick Person:“I’m nothing but a burden.”
Friend:“Now, don’t talk like that.”
Sick Person:“Well, it’s the truth.”
Friend:“No, just look what you do for me when I get busy.”
Sick Person:“You wouldn’t be that busy in the first place if you weren’t helping me.”
…and, on and on, it goes.
I should write, “and where it stops, nobody knows,” but I do know. It never does stop as long as the sickness or the person lasts.
Family, friends, caregivers, don’t even try to win that war. When “I’m nothing-but-a-burden” is said, you might say, “I’m sorry you’re feeling bad.” However, that is no time to try to convince a person she is wrong. Her mind is set. She won’t believe what you say, and to tell the truth, you will find yourself lying. You might want to try to give the person something new and a bit exciting about which to think that could cause her to quit the “I’m-nothing-but-a-burden” talk, at least temporarily. Perhaps you could let the “sickie” know you believe she feels her statement is true. Maybe you could even sit down, really listen, and perhaps cry with her once in a while. But, you probably can’t outargue her.
People around me constantly tell me of good things they’ve been doing, reminding me that I had a part because they chose to learn from me. That kind of talk helps me fight the “I’m-nothing-but-a-burden” syndrome best. I let people know I like that talk, and many people around me can’t wait to give me that talk. When “I’m-nothing-but-a-burden” syndrome thinking starts rearing its ugly head, one way I try to fight it is by remembering what people have told me that I have done to help them even when I’ve been so limited.
To you fellow “sickies”: Remember, you can be a joy simply by giving up “I’m-nothing-but-a-burden” talk! Yes, we may be a burden, but we can also be a joy. As we’re more than conquerors through whatever befalls us we can be a joy. Nothing can touch us unless it be allowed by God and that for His glory.
“Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:35–39)