Secret suffering in silence and solitude

One.

Don’t ask me to tell you, I don’t want to curse you.

Once you know, you can never go back to being blissfully unaware.

Don’t say that you want it, when I still wish to forget it.

Trust me, I’m trying to keep you safe from your mind.

 

Two.

Two questions so similar and with the same intention.

One will make me wince but with the other the pain lessens.

“Are you okay” or “are you alright?”

Versus “can you tell me what’s wrong?” and “how can I make it right?”.

I want you to tell me I’m not good at acting!

That you notice how I keep our eyes from contacting!

Please tell me you see that my heart is in pain,

Don’t let me pretend that it’s just in my brain.

~

I wrote these two pieces not very long ago, at a point where I was frustrated because no-one seemed to know that something was amiss within myself.

The first I created because I was stuck inside my own head, overthinking and overanalysing everything to the point it was making me very unhappy. I wished I could be blissfully ignorant as I once was and I envied people who didn’t know the things that I knew. I didn’t want to share my thoughts and fears with anyone because I didn’t want to spread this disease of unpleasant enlightenment. To the few people who did check in and ask me what was going on, I offered no answer. I didn’t want them to feel sorry for me and knew that if I told the whole truth it could make life harder for them.

The second piece I wrote after I had lied to someone. They had asked me if I was alright, okay, how was I doing… something along those lines. I told them yes I was fine. They believed me, or at least didn’t push the issue further. Despite apparently getting what I wanted and them going in the direction I was pointing, a part of me wished they had called me out for lying. Later, when I was in one of my psychology classes, we were talking about language and lying – how to catch people in the act and how to coax people into being truthful. I considered my situation and after doing some further investigation, found it would be harder to lie if someone asked ‘what is wrong?’ as opposed to ‘is there something wrong?’. Not only this, but I wanted someone to ask the latter question of me rather than the former. I wanted to be understood, to know that someone knew me well enough and cared about me enough to notice that my words were not true. I don’t like lying, I’ve made this clear before and so it made me uncomfortable to be inconsistent in this area – hence I wanted someone to call me out so I had an easy reason to correct it.

 

So I wrote these pieces… and then what? Did it change anything? Did it make me feel better? Did I decide to go and resolve the issues?

It did make me feel better to a certain degree because I better understood what was going on in my head and creating always improves my mood. But the feelings that inspired me were still there, and I’m a little ashamed to say nothing really changed as a result of me writing. I think I had one conversation where I brought up my research for the second piece: we were chatting about our uni work and I mentioned what I’d learned about lying and just how much of an impact different phrasings of the same question could have on a person’s willingness to give a response. But I still felt those fears and frustrations. I still felt alone. I still felt stuck inside my head, just now my head was extended to a file on my laptop.

Now time has passed though, I have changed some things. I do not resent the things I know even when it causes me to overanalyse, and I want to share the knowledge I have so that people can benefit. I have been more direct in admitting when things aren’t fantastic, not expecting people to just know intuitively, without me telling them explicitly. I have been more deliberate in my words when I am checking in with others, making sure they know I am invested in them and that I do care about if they’re okay.

 

What’s my point? The truth is this isn’t really about a point; this is about a confession and a warning. Don’t keep things bottled up, and that includes secretive expression. You might think writing in your journal or diary, painting a picture or playing music is ‘letting it out’ – it isn’t. You’re still keeping it to yourself and that is not helping. Simply defining the issue is not akin to resolving it. If anything, it may just magnify it because you’re feeding the fire, giving it attention while it preys on your fear of being alone.

You may be alone in your struggles, but that doesn’t mean you have to go through it alone. You may have inner turmoil, but you can seek assistance – you don’t have to suffer in secret, in silence or in solitude. Fortunately or unfortunately, few people in the world are mind readers. Therefore we must do each other the courtesy of communicating our feelings even if we wish that we didn’t need to. Do you best to check in with the people around you, but be sure to cut each other some slack.

Stay safe,

kp

3 thoughts on “Secret suffering in silence and solitude

  1. It can be a comfort knowing our experiences are not as uncommon as they might feel to us. I’m glad that you could tell your sister about your blog and it helped you There are a lot of negative consequences to repression so I’m glad you have this outlet to express yourself.
    It’s important that we don’t see ourselves as in need of “fixing” by any other person, this will help us be comfortable seeking help because it takes the pressure off everyone.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I have felt this exact way… There was a time where I became very… frustrated, with the world, with everything. And I didn’t want to talk about it because I didn’t want to spread my anger around, and because I didn’t think there was anything anyone could do. It’s not as if they could fix the world… Or me.

    “Are you alright?” is a question I started getting asked at least once a day, often more. And I hated it. It just reminded me that I wasn’t, but I couldn’t tell anyone that, because it would just make them feel bad and serve no real purpose. So, I lied. Again. And again. And I hated that as well: it just made me feel like more of a monster.

    Poetry returned me to some semblance of normalcy. But… I lied about that too. Until relatively recently, no one in my family knew I even wrote poetry. But finally telling my sister about the blog and everything was probably the best thing I could have done. Most of the feelings that plague me, can be found in my poetry. In telling her about that, I was telling her about everything. I let her in, and it’s a huge relief.

    Like

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