I hadn’t spoken to my friend in more than 18 months. Not an intentional lapse, we both just got busy. She called today, out of the blue, and told me a horrifying story of her life in the meantime. Her daughter was sexually abused; she discovered her boss is covering up a major white collar crime; and she has some health problems. She said, “I am only now able to talk about all this. I kept going on, pretending like everything was fine, but thanks to a good therapist, I find that I can express what I’m feeling now.”
I felt like crying. I felt guilty. I felt like leaping into my car, driving to her office and hugging her.
But her story made me realize again how many people suffer in silence, in shame. My friend’s parents accused her of neglect when they found out that the child’s friend’s father had violated her. She’s got no real support system. She just spent Thanksgiving alone.
That’s where the problems fester: alone. When we isolate ourselves with our emotions, we give them a cold, dark corner in which to grow into monsters.
Here’s what we know for certain about suffering: A burden shared is half as heavy.
If you are suffering in silence, find a friend; hire a counselor or a therapist; tell somebody.
No matter what you think the fallout will be, it will be LESS than you fear, and you will start moving toward healing. Hiding this from the world is not helping you. Internalizing your pain will make you physically and psychologically sick. Please, get help. Reach out. You’ll be so glad you did.
There’s a whole world full of loving, supportive, kindhearted people out here ready to help you. I promise.
WHAT TO DO IF SOMEONE YOU KNOW
Please pass this on to anyone you know who you think may be hiding secret pain. This could be someone who has drifted out of contact with you; who is unnaturally quiet or loud; whose personality has abruptly changed; or who you’ve caught crying but who claims “no reason” or “just hormones”. Please, share. Or send them to the website www.WendyKeller.com.