Speak Your Pain

I’ve been having a hard time deciding what to write for today’s post. I’ve been a little tired lately. I’m a little too quick to accept that everything is bad and a little too weary to be positive and constructive. I feel like I’m failing all those who come here for productive and objective help, but today I’m afraid all I have to offer you is commiseration and a safe place to be sad.

I know to many it looks like I’m wallowing in negativity, but in my mind I’m just giving myself a break.  I’m allowing myself to feel bad because even though the positive end of the emotional spectrum is a lot more pleasant, there’s a lot of benefit in understanding the negative end of the emotional spectrum as well.  Acknowledging and feeling the full range of emotional experiences that life throws at us is, in my mind, a necessary part of human existence.  It is certainly a necessary stop on the path towards post-traumatic growth or what many call the ‘transformative nature of pain/grief/whatever’.

The trouble is, for one odd reason or another, we’re often discouraged from spending any time in our pain.  Regardless of the hardship we face, many of the messages we receive explicitly and implicitly suggest walk-445272_1280we keep our feelings inside and for reasons like shame, fear, pressure, anxiety, and embarrassment, we comply.

I’m embarrassed to admit that I used to downplay idea that it helps just to talk. But then, I took for granted the fact that I’ve always had a supportive environment where I felt comfortable, safe, and accepted enough to express and explore my flaws, feelings, fears, and pain.  Some people have never had a support system strong enough to hold them up, and there aren’t nearly enough safe spaces in the world to shelter all those who are lost and alone.

It’s also true that sometimes our pain comes from a place so scary that we don’t want to say it out loud, talk about it, or even admit it’s true to ourselves. We feel safer avoiding our feelings because it shields us from pain; when in fact avoidance and the inability to express and experience emotions associated with our losses might be the very thing that’s keeping us stuck and confused.

I don’t know what you’ve been through and I don’t know who you have to turn to, but if you’ve been holding your pain inside I would encourage you to take the first step and say it out loud.  Regardless of where your pain comes from, your experiences and feelings matter.  So say it…when you’re ready…wait till no one is around and tell it to the sky if you have to, but say it.  Acknowledging the magnitude of your pain is an important first step in fumbling your way towards healing.

If you want to say it here in our comments section…say it.  You might find that you’re not alone, or you might help someone else feel more understood and supported.

You could also…

  • Talk to a therapist or support group
  • Talk to a trusted family member or friend
  • Write it down on a piece of paper and then throw it away
  • Say it to your mirror, just to hear and see yourself say the words
  • Tell it to your cat or dog (seriously, why not?)

Yes we want you to acknowledge your pan, but we don’t want you to live in forever-sadness, anger, resentment, numbness, guilt, regret, blame and bitterness. If you feel like your emotions have been impacting your daily functioning for longer than you are comfortable with, then I encourage you to talk to your doctor or a mental health professional. Also, I know sometimes things feel so bad it seems like they’ll never change.  If you or someone you know is having thoughts of harming themselves or someone else, then we encourage you to call 911 or the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1 (800) 273-8255.   We are just a website and we will never be able to take the place of a therapist, nor will we ever equal a trusted family or friend.  That being said, to the extent that we can, we are here for you.


We’ll be constructive another day.  Subscribe.

May 5, 2017

30 responses on "Speak Your Pain"

  1. I am just 14 years old. I live in Nepal. I feel in love with a guy when I was 9 yrs old . He also had crush on me . We are now together like for 2 years . But my parents and teachers are totally against this plz…… Suggest me if I am wrong.. now a days I am physically and mentally tortured by my parents they don’t want me to talk with boys . Day before yesterday I went with some my friends and my boyfriend to a cafe and my parents came to know about it . They don’t talk with me nicely. They give me physical pain with sticks every day. I don’t even feel like coming back from school. My exams are going on and they don’t even want me to go to give my exams. My board exam is near too. I can’t concentrate on my studies I know this may be small thing for others but I don’t feel like doing anything. I am a small hearted person and I can’t bear any pain . Right now I have headache and I have burning eyes . I feel like I don’t wanna live anymore without support from my families 💔……

  2. I’ve had this best friend for, 11 years and she has this ex who i don’t like whatsoever and he’s constantly hurting her and i’m tired of having it in my life but i want her in my life. So i dropped her. I want my best friend 💔 i hate myslef for doing this to her because she’s always been there for me.

  3. Hi, I just wanted to share some of my feelings here, to feel kind of better

    I’m 17 years old girl, I was daddy’s little girl, I used to get along with him a lot but destiny wanted that he died when I was 11, leaving me with the eternal fear of losing those I love that are left here.

    I always had joint pain but my parents (both doctors) thought it was only growth pain. Turns out it wasn’t. I always had allergies and migraines, and when it became too much, my mom decided to do blood tests, turns out I probably have Lupus, an auto immunity disease that can affect heart, brain, kidneys and more. I’d be lying if I said I’m not afraid, especially that my dad had the same kind of illness..

    Later on I fell in love with a boy I knew from childhood, I nourished those feelings and hope, to discover at the end that he loves a friend of mind dearly, I felt all left out and broken when I figured it out. Something I was sure of, everyone was supportive of their relationship, so I could only accept it, and leave them alone with a supportive smile when they wanted to chat more intimately. Nothing was as painful as that.

    Here I am, today, I went through what seems to be a depression, I probably have anxiety, and anger-managing issues. I harmed my self in every possible way, and my arms are forever destroyed and ugly, what makes me feel worse. I’m still ill, both mentally and physically, and I’ve almost committed suicide two times, but didn’t, despite the thousands of suicidal thoughts I get.

    I want sometimes to complain to family, but they say they heard me tell the same story over and over again too much. I wrote a honest letter to my mom in which I tell what I’m going through, she answered after reading it that I’m a spoiled, ignorant child. So I won’t complain anymore.

    I just need some hugs, I just want to have someone to talk to, in the darkness of the night, when the world is asleep and my pain awakes. But I’m lonely, completely lonely.

    • Is everything ok now ?? I can feel your pain through your text I don’t know how to react to anything such that but I just want to say that sooner or later everything will just be fine ❤😊…it may take time sometimes u just have to worry less and hope that everything will just be fine……nothing is gonna last forever ………….

  4. Dear Eleanor,
    Hello, I came to your blog searching to answer why I can’t remember what I said to my sister in law last week when telling Her about how I deeply hurt by mydaughter because of my misperception of her pursuing satanic things (please don’t dismiss me as crazy yet). My daughter was greatly hurt by my misperception, and I was trying to tell this person how I felt so bad, and how I wished I had not thought ill of her. My dad had mistrusted me; I know what that pain feels like and it is the worst, and it is even more painful to think that I did this to my daughter. The reason I thought this of my daughter is because she was dying her hair black, and wore all black clothing, she was tattooing weird letters on her hands, and hiding tattoos by wearing long sleeves around me and distanced herself for many years and then she bought some kind of moon pearl ring which seemed weird to me so I looked it up and some weird dark websites came up, I in my head somewhat I guess justify that I thought that, but I really hurt her and she is a good woman.
    I on the other hand, come from a very broken background, and have started to question my own mental wellness in recent. I attend codependent CR group for the past 4 years and have no communication with my oldest son, my youngest daughter who’s 18 moved out last year and now lives with her dad. I do not have a close relationship with any of my kids, which really has made me start to think that maybe there is something wrong with me.
    The thing is that I can’t remember where the conversation went after I started to talk about it, and I am concerned that my sister in law will talk to my niece who is best friends with my daughter and my relationship with my daughter will be further severed, which is my fear, since my daughter and I recently started to work on having closer relationships.
    I guess the question I’m trying to answer is how does one determine if they just have broken relationships due to past hurts and hang ups and codependency, or if one is just not well mentally and should stay away from loved ones so they can’t be hurt by me anymore. And why can’t I recall what I said? Thank you.

  5. how can someone not commit sucide when the pain is so intense they can nolonger take it. I suffer from failed groin pudential pain surgrey. and as a result of that my right heel is in so much burning nerve pain i can no longer put my shoe on after 2 oclock.. no depression here. no mourning of love break up…strickly pain..no meds work..surgreys failed..i must end my daily suffering. oh yes cant sit down.

  6. Litsa and Eleanor,

    Hi. Glad to have found your blog. I lost my father on March 28 to chronic kidney disease. He was 78. He was a doctor, a gardener, a teacher, a communist and my sage. I fought with him in a bid to spiritually better myself. But when the time came for me to share myself with him and share him with my world, he died. My struggle had been so hard and intense that I had forgotten its purpose towards the end. Though I had always thought it was intellectual rapprochement when actually it was regaining of his trust which I lost when I discontinued my studies and taking care of him. I am from West Bengal, India, by the way, aged 44 years. I don’t even have a child. My dad, my baba was very lonely and had neglected his own health even though he had known about his kidney condition since 2015. When we finally came to know and acted, it was too late. He loved me intensely, perhaps the most in the world. But the evening before he died, I told him I would not publish the collection of stories and pieces I had written that he had given me money to publish as they had been for him and if I had to give them to him it would mean their non-publication. He was intubated at that time and could not speak but was so hurt and angry it showed on his face. But I was slow to process and I said to him, I would do this the way you said I wouldn’t and I still did. His face had flashed in hurt but I said my I love you and I left. Because he was in the ICU and I could not stay. He died in the morning. Yours is the first resource I am reading to process.

    Thank you for creating this beautiful space.

  7. I agree with the others. This was very constructive. We need to feel safe expressing our grief. While I still have not had success finding a good mental health professional here, I am blessed to have a great support system (including 2 very affectionate cats). Sometimes I just call a friend or meet them in person to simply cry. I talk about Mike (my late husband) all the time. Sometimes I worry that people will get sick of hearing about him. But I don’t care. He was my soulmate and partner in crime and now he’s gone….except in my heart and mind. And that is where he will stay forever. I have been blessed to have him in my life, and it’s helpful to me to share the many memories we made.

  8. I have no support system from my family and friends. I hate everybody most of the time. But I don’t want to feel like that. I am just dead inside. It will be one year anniversary of my husband’s death 2/28/2016 and the closer it gets the more closed off I feel.

    • It’s so sad when family and friends aren’t supportive during the most devastating time(s) in your life. I, too, am lacking that support from many friends and most of the family that I “used to have”. I get depressed. I feel sad, down, unworthy,; ask myself “what did I DO to ‘deserve’ this?” I don’t know how to “confront” those who have been disrespectful or mean or have not reached out; for those who seem to think it is all about themselves.
      I struggle, too, with figuring out my “new life” as a widow. Unexpected. Sudden. And not welcome whatsoever.
      I try to keep a good attitude and have hope that I will figure things out and be able to be in my new world…nurture me, take care of me, be good to me. But it is so fucking hard. I don’t want to be alone without him. I miss us. I wanted to share my life with him for many more years. 33 years wasn’t enough.
      If I could reach through this blog and give you a warm, loving, kindly hug, I would. Since I can’t, I’ll simply send hope and love your way and hope you can hold onto that for just a little bit, making your day a bit more enjoyable even if for a moment.

  9. I miss my dad but I never met him. It has been almost 2 yrs since he passed away. How can I mourn for someone who I remember leaving at the a very young age. I can count my fingers for memories and one of them was him leaving. I miss him and forever will. I was mad and pretended I didn’t care not having a father around. I don’t know how to grieve when there’s no memory to grieve. God has shown me truth and peace that’s the only reason why grieving has been less louder in silence

    • Zenith, I am so sorry for the loss of you dad. Grieving someone who we had a complicated relationship with is, well, complicated! But we absolutely grieve people we can’t remember. You may be grieving feelings like the loss of having a father in your life, loss of the ability to get to know him because he wasn’t around, and even grieving the loss of having a ‘normal’ grief experience, with traditional memories to hold on to. You may find some ideas in this post helpful, though it was written for parents with children who don’t remember their parent. There are many ideas that apply to people of any age who don’t remember someone who died.

  10. The sad thing is no one has any idea how to cope with or deal with someone who has suffered a loss. That’s until you find yourself in that situation, then unfortunately you become an expert in a way. No one wants to be around a “Debbie Downer”, people have their own issues and tend to keep away from anyone who is a bit “low” for fear of dragging themselves down. So we keep it bottled up, we put on a brave face and then we take it out on the small, select group of people we know we can rely on, thank god for that small group who don’t care how much you “wallow” in your grief and are there no matter what.
    I witnessed a Pacific Island funeral right before my nephews funeral and the poor lady was wailing, (which was heartbreaking to witness) apparently that’s an accepted tradition, I really think that would help in all situations, we tend to be stoic and be brave for everyone else when all everyone wants to do is wail.
    We all need to be allowed to be sad, have bad days and keep mourning for how ever long it takes, there are no rules, grief affects everyone differently and people just need to accept that one day, guaranteed, they will be in a similar situation.
    Sad but true unfortunately.

  11. Hi Eleanor, not at all NOT constructive! Sometimes, our most constructive times are the messy, disorganized, tearful, terrifying, painful, paralyzing and just plain [email protected]&ked up moments… I faked it until I made it for a long time (actually until I didn’t make it). it was a lie. All of it a lie and not a healthy attitude. I was afraid of loosing friends but you find out who your friends truly are. Trying to stay positive. Trying to never keep repeating that I was still sad, fearful and lost and in the darkest loneliest corner of my life. Hi Eleanor, not at all NOT constructive! Sometimes, our most constructive times are the messy, disorganized, tearful, terrifying, painful, paralyzing and just plain [email protected]&ked up moments… I faked it until I made it for a long time (actually until I didn’t make it). Trying to stay positive. Trying to never keep repeating that I was still sad, fearful and lost and in the darkest loneliest corner of my life. I eventually had a breakdown and finally reached out for help and I’m terrified. You’re keeping it honest and real and I need that xoxo

  12. Yes!! Our marriage counselor was awesome in helping us recognize “some days just be sad.” He showed us that leaning on each other during the sad days (instead of pushing each other apart) actually brought us closer. Its weird but for us its true. We are approaching the five year anniversary of Thomas’ death and the anticipation of this day and Christmas takes my breath away. But when i allow that sadness to just ‘be’ it releases it instead of holding it inside. Great post.

    • It sounds like you had a wise marriage counselor. I’m so glad you were able to find your way closer to one another rather than apart. I hope you are able to finds moments of peace as the 5 year anniversary approaches.

  13. Hi Eleanor

    I am mental health counselor in GA who subscribed to your -very- valuable website when I was asked to work with a hospice bereavement coordinator in early 2014. Fast forward 15 months to find out my mother, age 68 and my biggest life support, friend, & cheerleader, had a very aggressive lung/brain/spine cancer. Long story short, despite palliative treatments that kept her very sick (but her choice to try) & me moving in almost immediately to be her full-time caregiver, she died in less than 4 months. It was a 24/7 gig & the toughest job I’d ever had emotionally, mentally, physically, & soulfully. I still am glad I did it.

    It is 12 days after her death, & I feel as if my internal organs have been ripped out, and I am being forced to regrow them. Despite all the clinical training & experience…despite losses of my father, 2 mid-term pregnancies with no living children, & divorce…and despite great friends (there is no family except me & her bachelor younger brother), it is still the most challenging emotional pain I have ever had. I am doing all the right things, including professional mental health help through the hospice, but am still crushed by the pain & overwhelming responsibility of being the sole person in charge of all this.

    Eleanor, YOUR ABOVE BLOG POST helped -so- very much. Validation is such a gift. It is great to have your professional/personal opinion to know it is OK to feel like sh*t on a shingle right now when the world has kept on spinning. I am finding small joys but the pain is immense.

    Please accept my heartfelt thanks. You provided a little joy in that validation for me today, and I am grateful. And my clients and I have benefited greatly from your amazing site. Thank you to you & Litsa for your vulnerability and your guidance.

    • Oh Kim, I’m so sorry about your mother’s death. Ugh, all I know is that it is awful. I’m really glad to hear the post helped. It is certainly okay to feel like crap on some days – especially in the weeks and however long following a death. My heart goes out to you.


  14. Thanks for the heartfelt post, always a comfort reading the discussion and posts. Yes, pets are great to ‘talk’ to on those really sad days.

  15. I still enjoyed reading your post, although you didn’t think it was constructive! What I took from it is that it’s OK to feel; what a valuable message. Thank you for writing today, have a great weekend!

  16. Thank you for your real heartfelt post. I know how scary it can be to feel the pain of my own losses, and how long I spent denying even to myself the pain, due to initial ‘survival pressure’ as a small child to ‘keep it in’, and later ‘unacceptance ‘ by other well meaning caring people. Think it’s important to recognise too that grief is a life long journey, that is like the sea or weather with changing tides or weather, some times it rains so hard and for so long doubt that the sun will ever come out again can take hold in the mindset, yet the sun does come out again. Love your post. Thank you.

  17. That’s why I have a literal “fit” to throw. Someone made it out of red, white and blue yarn and put eyes on it then attached a card that explains it. It says “I am a Fit. I am here to help you through all of your Tantrums. When you feel your blood boiling and your temper at a breaking point, don’t throw something that might break.
    Just pick me up and Throw a Fit.”
    I thought it was crazy when I first got it, I was sure it couldn’t possibly work but it did. It even makes me feel a tiny bit calmer.
    I used to go to a group called Parents of Murdered Children (for the family and friends of those who die by homicide. That’s where I got the Fit I just described.
    It helps with unrelenting rage that is truly frightening IMO to experience.
    It does nothing, however, for the pain I felt all over my body before I went to sleep when I never should have been tired. Not after having been awake for only 7 hours. How could I have even been tired?

  18. Don’t know why you think you were not being constructive. This is what I got: Allow yourself to feel your pain, with or without what ever help you may have around. (dogs!) And secondly, do one of the half dozen things you list at the end.
    The most beautiful point, to allow yourself to occasionally inhabit your painful place.
    Eye opening and heart warming.
    …And in your painful place today – feel my virtual shoulder against yours.

  19. You were constructive. Thank you. I feel this way today…just let me be sad today.

  20. Love this post. May I reprint and use an excepted version in Oct or Nov?

  21. Yes, but people fail to mention some of the very real, potentially harmful, consequences of showing negative feelings. There’s blackmail, losing your job, having a traceable, permanent police involvement record, having over zealous social workers tear your family apart and leave scars for generations, being the victim of a “mandatory reporter” who misunderstood you. Serious stuff. I like the last one– talk to the pet. They can, usually, be trusted. (Ha ha!)

  22. Lovely and honest. Thanks

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