The Danger of Silent Suffering and 7 Ways to Heal

Certainly we have rituals now for life’s larger moments, but we shy away from any difficulties expressed in day to day life.

Today, the predominant acceptable channels for expression of angst are through paid therapists or in groups of strangers. There are support groups for every known ailment of society. They are safe but very often void of intimacy as members disperse and go on their way.

Residing in the wisdom of acceptance of suffering is the understanding that “what you resist persists and grows larger.”

What happened for me, as that unhappy fifteen-year-old who wished to die, was that I thought my family was the only dysfunctional one on the block. I felt embarrassed having a bed-ridden mother plagued by depression and devastating reactions to prescription drugs. I felt isolated because social standards informed me that it was bad juju to share one bit of my woes with anyone. I carried the hurt inside, pasted a grin on my face, and developed dysfunctional patterns of my own just to get through the day. The sad feelings and dysfunction traveled with me well into adulthood and intensified as I found no way to heal them.

My ability to help clients increased tenfold as I became more comfortable with the shadow and light of myself and others.

Our hiding, our discomfort with the pain of others, and refusal to accept suffering as part of life is not working. Hiding pain behind false appearances compounds the underlying source of the pain for everyone, but especially those prone to taking life…their own or others. Showing only the bright side of your life gives a false impression that there are people who are happy all of the time, a physiological impossibility. That false impression leads us to believe that some people, the hurting ones, should be shunned. It is time to change, to come together, to embrace each other in confidence and trust. The secret, I believe, is in learning (and this can be learned) how to be WITH suffering with strength and courage rather than falling apart at the first sign of distress.

What can you do as someone who thinks about self/other violence or as a family member or friend of such a person?

· Understand that nature offers some of the best medicine for healing. Get outside daily for play and exercise and pay attention to how you feel when you come back inside. There are hidden substances emitted by trees, plants, soil and sun that stimulate serotonin production. Invite someone you know who is going through a hard time to join you.

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