We have great resiliency and often think that we can go it alone, or that it's not so bad, or it will get better. And things do, often. Time has a way of healing us and moving us along. But it's not always enough. Many times people wait for their relationships to really crumble, for the emotional distance between them to grow so deep and wide that it's almost impossible to bridge it. Sometimes we wait for something to shake us up or wake us out of our reverie, or we act out in ways that are vengeful, self harming or overly dramatic in order to get our message across or relieve the frustration, monotony or pain. And sometimes we wait until resentment and doubt have grown so big that we cannot really see our way back. We might move past wanting understanding and resolution and want revenge, escape, or both.
Sometimes moods dive, anxiety heightens and we just don't feel well. But we keep on keeping on thinking something's got to give. We tolerate loneliness, fear, frustration and depression, thinking that to start talking about it won't change things. Or at least not fast enough. We agree with ourselves to suffer, feeling desperate, but feeling bad about feeling so lost, as if trying to address things is some sort of admission of defeat instead of an act of strength and rightness.
In some ways, we almost like our suffering. Not when it gets too dark, or too frightening, but just before that. There may even be something noble in it. And people often tell me, "well, it's not like I don't have food or running water. I should be grateful." As if this means their pain should not exist or they are being selfish for feeling their feelings. (Gratitude and perspective is essential to emotional wellness, of course, but it does not negate pain).
We do have a responsibility I think, to ourselves, to take care of our suffering when it heats up. We have to be curious about why we ignore it if we are ignoring it, or what really we are waiting for before taking action to make things better. There are many choices. Therapy, of course, but also, friends, books, support groups, personal growth classes, marriage retreats, 12 step programs, motivational seminars, wellness programs. We don't have to go it alone, and we don't have to keep suffering in silence.