Just Because You Can’t See My Pain Doesn’t Mean It’s Not There

There are few people who have seen me amidst a breakdown, who’ve watched me physically collapse on my knees and surrender to the pain.

Few people have witnessed moments when my cries become sobs, somewhere between wailing and screaming, when I’ve lost all ability to stifle them, feeling them involuntarily pouring out of me, nearly suffocating at every attempt to breathe, as if there’s an invisible weight on my chest, leading me to gasp for air.

Most of the time I am the only one present to this, when my feelings truly feel agonizing, heightening all of my senses, and seizing my entire body. The retelling of the experience never quite does it justice, often subdued to relieve others’ worry, to protect them from any potential discomfort.

Yet these moments exist more often than anyone sees, often sparked by unanticipated and uninvited memories of traumatic experiences. Sometimes from flashbacks of past abandonment, betrayals, heartbreak, or bitter words that revive throbbing wounds.

This release of emotion can be healing for me, but it is also intense. In these moments I feel trapped and must fight every attempt to numb or run that comes to mind. I want to jump out of my skin, I want to escape it so badly but I know that it’ll only follow me. I know the only escape is to feel my way through it.

There is a heaviness I experience frequently that I don’t speak of, mainly because this is the closest I’ve come to putting it into words. There is an indescribable weight that comes from feeling so deeply, from succumbing to the reality of my emotions. There is a silent weariness that comes from pushing through time after time, when all you want to do is give up. There is a solemn loneliness to facing it all by yourself.

This is what you don’t see. You don’t always see the pain someone is working through, but that doesn’t mean it isn’t there.

About the author
Spilling my heart on pages, in hopes to help others feel less alone. Follow Ashleigh on Instagram or read more articles from Ashleigh on Thought Catalog.

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