Most people don’t like pain. In fact, they actively try to avoid it. Yet pain is there for a reason. It is there to tell us that something isn’t right. Imagine the damage we could do to our bodies if we couldn’t feel pain. For example, instead of withdrawing from something hot, we would just continue to let it burn us if we didn’t feel the pain of the burn. The key is to understand the pain so that you can learn from it. So you can address it. And the pain of depression or anxiety or any other mental illness is no different.
The natural desire might be to numb to pain, and our society has certainly come up with a lot of ways to do that. Yet the more we numb the pain, the more we ignore our demons, the more trouble is apt to come.
Before I got help and got into recovery, I knew something was wrong, but I ignored it. In doing so, I kept falling into the same problems, feeling the same pain. As I got older I went from simply ignoring the problems to trying to numb them with alcohol. And even though that only ever added a hangover to my list of problems, I kept trying to hide from the pain.
And there have been moments in recovery, in therapy especially, that have been full of pain. Yet those moments were opportunities for me to understand the pain and grow from it. Indeed, I am better because of working through that pain.
So if you are struggling with the pain of mental illness, know that you aren’t alone. Know too that that pain is there for a reason, and there understanding that pain can help you get better. But you don’t have to face that pain alone. There is always support out there to help you through the pain and through the darkness.