Grief is a complex emotional journey filled with feelings that can be hard to put into words. Among these emotions, many people experience a sense of feeling like a burden to others, which can intensify feelings of guilt. This sensation can make the already challenging process of grieving even more overwhelming.

The idea that feeling like a burden is closely tied to suicidal thoughts is a subject that frequently comes up in mental health discussions. As September is National Suicide Prevention and Awareness Month, we find it crucial to examine this belief critically. 

In this blog, we’ll focus on the intricate relationship between feeling like a burden and grieving. We’ll offer insights and guidance to help you navigate these complicated emotions. Additionally, we’ll explore the potential link between feeling like a burden and suicidal ideation, clarifying this issue for those experiencing these feelings or concerned about someone who is.

Whether you’re experiencing this firsthand or supporting someone who is, understanding this link can be a crucial step in protecting yourself and others in a healing journey.

How Grief Can Contribute to Feelings of Depression and Anxiety

Grief is a natural response to loss, particularly the loss of a loved one. It’s a complex emotional process that can bring about a range of feelings, from sadness and anger to guilt and even relief.

While everyone’s experience with grief is unique, it’s generally accepted that a “normal” grieving period can last up to a year or less. During this time, it’s common to go through various stages of grief, such as denial, anger, bargaining, depression, and eventually, acceptance.

However, it’s crucial to understand that grief can sometimes trigger or exacerbate existing mental health conditions like depression and anxiety. This is especially true if you’re dealing with other stressful or challenging situations simultaneously, such as job loss, relationship issues, or additional bereavement.

One way to experience a healthy grieving period is by finding grief counseling services or support groups at the beginning of a loss. Transitions Grief Care offers free support for adults and children in their 8-county coverage area.

For information regarding grief support for adults, call 919-719-7199. For child or teen grief support from the 7 to 17, call Transitions Kids at 919-748-0823.

Grief and Depression

While grief and depression can share similar symptoms, such as intense sadness and withdrawal from social activities, they are distinct emotional states.

Depression is a mental health condition that can affect every aspect of your life, from your thoughts and feelings to your physical well-being.

When grief transitions into depression, the feelings of sadness and despair become persistent and debilitating, affecting your ability to function in daily life. You might find yourself:

  • Struggling to show self-compassion
  • Constantly apologizing
  • Having trouble seeing yourself as a worthy human being
  • Struggling when setting boundaries
  • Having a loss of self-esteem
  • Feeling too much responsibility for how others are doing
  • Having unrealistic expectations for yourself

While grief can feel debilitating, if you lose your ability to care for yourself and have constant negative thoughts, finding help or others you can talk with makes sense. Your life matters. If you can’t see that, seek out others who can help you see yourself without the lens of low self-esteem.

Grief and Anxiety

Anxiety can also become a significant issue during the grieving process.

The loss of a loved one can bring about intense feelings of uncertainty and fear about the future. You may start to worry excessively about your own own mental health challenges or the well-being of other family members.

These anxieties can manifest as physical symptoms, such as insomnia, heart palpitations, or digestive issues.

When Grief, Depression, and Anxiety Coincide

If you find that you’re not only grieving but also experiencing symptoms of depression or anxiety, it’s essential to seek help. This is particularly important if these feelings persist beyond the typical grieving period or worsen over time.

A mental health professional can provide a proper diagnosis and create a treatment plan tailored to your specific needs, which may include therapy, medication, or a combination of both.

While grief is a natural response to loss, it can sometimes lead to more serious mental health issues like crippling depression and anxiety.

Recognizing the signs and seeking professional help is crucial for navigating this challenging emotional landscape and finding a path to healing.

Is “Feeling Like a Burden” a Sign of Suicidal Thoughts? What Does It Mean When Someone Says They Are “Feeling Like a Burden”

When someone expresses that they’re “feeling like a burden,” it’s often a cry for help that shouldn’t go unnoticed. This phrase often encapsulates a complex mix of emotions, including guilt, shame, and a sense of unworthiness.

People who feel like a burden in this way may believe that their problems are too much for others to handle, or that their presence is a hindrance rather than a benefit to those around them.

Feeling like a burden can manifest in various ways. Some people may withdraw from social activities, believing that their absence will make things easier for others. Others might refrain from sharing their struggles, thinking that they’re sparing their loved ones from additional stress.

In more severe cases, this feeling can escalate into suicidal thoughts, as the individual may start to believe that their loved ones would be better off without them.

It’s important to note that feeling like a burden is often a symptom of an underlying mental health issue, such as depression, anxiety, or another mood disorder. It’s not simply a phase or a fleeting emotion; it’s a persistent feeling that can have serious implications for one’s emotional well-being.

If you or someone you know is grappling with this or other heavy feelings that their mere existence is a problem, seek professional help.

Mental health experts can provide the necessary tools to manage these emotions and can help to identify any underlying conditions that may be contributing to this state of mind. Remember, acknowledging the problem is the first step toward finding a solution.

Removing the Stigma of Mental Illness: Is it Our Fault When We Can’t Function?

One of the most damaging aspects of mental illness is the stigma that often surrounds it. This stigma can make individuals feel as though their inability to function is a personal failing rather than a medical condition that requires treatment.

The idea that someone is “lazy” or “weak” because they’re struggling with mental health issues only serves to deepen the emotional pain and isolation they may already be experiencing.

Let’s get one thing straight: mental illness is not a choice, nor is it a reflection of someone’s character. Just like physical illnesses, mental health conditions have biological, psychological, and environmental factors that contribute to their onset and severity.

No one blames a person for catching the flu or developing diabetes, so why should mental illness be any different? After all, the brain is a bodily organ that sometimes develops physical problems also.

By removing the stigma and treating mental illness with the same level of understanding and compassion as we do physical ailments, we can create a society where individuals feel supported rather than judged.

This shift in perspective is not just the responsibility of healthcare providers but of each one of us. Educating ourselves, being mindful of the language we use, and offering a listening ear can go a long way in making mental health a topic that we can openly discuss without fear of judgment.

So, to answer the question: No, it’s not your fault if you can’t function due to mental illness.

What’s important is recognizing the signs, seeking help, and taking steps to manage your condition. And for those who are not affected, it’s crucial to be part of the solution by fostering an environment of understanding and acceptance.

When to Seek Emotional Support With a Mental Health Professional

Recognizing when it’s time to seek help from a mental health professional is a crucial step in taking control of your emotional well-being. While it’s normal to have ups and downs, persistent feelings of despair, anxiety, or feeling like a burden should serve as red flags that it’s time to consult an expert.

Persistent Negative Emotions

If you find that you’re constantly battling negative or overwhelmingly burdensome emotions that interfere with your daily life, it’s a sign that you may need professional help. This is especially true if these negative feelings last for an extended period and show no signs of improving.

Changes in Behavior or Personality

Significant shifts in how you act, think, or feel can be indicative of a deeper issue. Whether it’s withdrawing from social activities, experiencing mood swings, or a noticeable change in your eating or sleeping patterns, these are all signs that you should consult a mental health professional or seek out friends you trust for a chat.

Struggling with Relationships

If you find it increasingly difficult to maintain healthy relationships, whether with family, friends, or a significant other, it may be beneficial to speak to a professional.

Relationship struggles can often be a symptom of underlying emotional or psychological issues.

Suicidal Thoughts or Self-Harm

If you’re experiencing thoughts of suicide or engaging in self-harm, it’s imperative to seek immediate professional help. These are serious symptoms that require urgent attention and intervention. You can always call 988 in the US to find resources in your area.

Feeling Overwhelmed

Life can be stressful, but if you find that you’re unable to cope with the challenges you face, and it’s affecting your mental health, seek out help. Feeling overwhelmed with intrusive feelings can lead to a host of other issues, including anxiety and depression.

Consulting a mental health professional doesn’t mean you’re weak or incapable; it means you’re taking proactive steps to improve your emotional health.

Whether it’s through therapy, medication, or a combination of both, getting the help you need is the best way to take care of yourself and those who care about you.

Helping Others Who Have Warning Signs of Suicidal Ideation

When someone you know shows warning signs of suicidal ideation, it’s a situation that requires immediate and thoughtful action. Whether the person is in middle school or in their later years, we all need help sometimes.

Your support can make a significant difference in their life, and in some cases, it could even be life-saving.

Here’s how you can help:


Your willingness to express concern for the person in crisis can be a crucial and helpful first step in getting them the help they need. Open dialogue can break the silence that often surrounds mental health issues, including suicidal thoughts.


Active listening is more than just hearing what the other person is saying. It’s about providing a safe space where they can express their own feelings without judgment. This simple act can remind the person in crisis that they are not alone.

Remain Present

Your physical and emotional presence can make a significant difference in the life of someone contemplating suicide. If you’re concerned about their immediate safety, don’t hesitate to seek help from a mental health professional right away.

Call or Text 988

The 988 National Suicide Prevention Hotline serves as a lifeline for those in crisis. By dialing 988, you or the person in need will be connected to a trained crisis counselor who can provide confidential support 24/7.

This hotline is a universal entry point, accessible no matter where you are in the United States.

What To Do If You Are Struggling

If you’re the one struggling with suicidal thoughts or mental health-related distress, remember that help is available. Dialing 988 will connect you to a trained crisis counselor who can offer immediate support.

Research Insights

  • Studies show that people contemplating suicide often feel relief when someone reaches out to them in a caring manner.
  • Acknowledging and discussing suicidal thoughts can actually reduce the risk and make the individual feel less depressed, less overwhelmed, and more hopeful.
  • Research also indicates that making lethal means less accessible can lead to a decline in suicide rates. Creating a network of resources and individuals for support can help someone at risk take positive action and reduce feelings of hopelessness.
  • Brief, low-cost interventions and ongoing supportive contact can be vital components of suicide prevention, especially after someone has been discharged from healthcare services. (1)

If you know someone in an emergency who is at immediate risk of suicide, call 911 right away. Your actions could be the difference between life and death, so don’t underestimate the power of reaching out and offering support.

We Can Help

Death is an inevitable part of life, a chapter we all must face at some point. However, it’s important to remember that suicide doesn’t have to be a part of this narrative.

While we can’t change the circumstances that bring families to our doors at Renaissance Funeral Home and Crematory, we can offer a compassionate space to honor and remember your loved ones in a meaningful way.

Creating Meaningful Events

At our funeral home, we understand the importance of celebrating a life well-lived, even when that life was cut short. We work closely with families to create personalized events that truly capture the essence of the individual.

Whether it’s a traditional funeral service, a memorial gathering, or a more intimate farewell, we strive to make it a memorable occasion that pays tribute to your loved one while offering comfort and closure to those left behind.

A Supportive Environment

We know how crucial support is during this difficult time, and we’re here to provide it. From the initial planning stages to the final farewells, our dedicated team is committed to helping meet your emotional needs and making the process as smooth as possible.

We offer various resources to help you cope with your loss, including grief counseling and connections to mental health professionals who specialize in bereavement.

Taking Steps to Prevent Suicide

While we’re in the business of helping families say goodbye, we’re also advocates for mental health and suicide prevention. We believe that education and open dialogue are key to breaking the stigma surrounding mental health issues.

By talking openly about the challenges we face, we can take steps to ensure that suicide doesn’t become a part of more families’ stories.

If you’re going through the unimaginable pain of losing a loved one, especially through suicide, know that you’re not alone. We’re here to help you through this challenging time, offering both the professional services you need and the emotional support you deserve.