A Thursday Thought on Suffering in Silence
I know many of you will disagree with me today on today’s post, but I wanted to voice my opinion on a news story that broke this week, and how it relates back to all of us.
Perhaps you saw the announcement this week that actor Dustin Hoffman is recovering after cancer treatment, and is doing well. “Hoffman is feeling great and in good health,” said his publicist Jodi Gottlieb, noting that the cancer was “detected early and he has been surgically cured.” I wish Dustin Hoffman the healthiest and speediest recovery… he is one of the lucky ones.
But this announcement led me to visit the notion of suffering in silence, as did Angelina Jolie, and do many women I know in my community who announce a struggle AFTER the fact. After they have crossed over to the other side. Once they are “cured,” or “better” or have overcome. So that means, throughout the duration of their suffering, whether it be marital woes, financial troubles, or problems with their children, they stay mum. They suffer in silence. They only disclose once they are luckily on the side of strength. Once they’ve turned the corner.
Which led me to wonder WHY? No, I take that back. I don’t wonder why. Believe me, I get WHY. People are entitled to privacy, to struggle without a community judging them, or watching them, or saying to them, “Woe is you,” or “Poor you.” I get it. But I just wonder why we opt to hide, over community support. For some, the shame is so deep, that instead of discovering possibly wonderful solutions or options to our problems, we conceal. This means we suffer alone. ALONE. Are we that afraid of what others think of us?
I’m just posing the question, I am not judging how one chooses to deal with struggles in their lives. I am not saying you have to air out your dirty laundry, or spew your diarrhea all over the place. But, we often put on a brave face when we’re dying inside. We’re afraid to admit weakness. We’re afraid to say that our child has failed the exam, or is bulimic, or is clinically depressed, or that we have been diagnosed with cancer.
I am simply here to pose a different angle. For me, I have found my community of support through writing, and you have joined me through my celebrations, but you have supported me through my struggles. Through my children stuttering, through my child’s panic attack, through life and career frustrations, through disappointments at times in my marriage, through it all. But, by sharing with you, I found solutions. I found resources.
Not everyone has to share their life in a blog. That is not what I am saying. I am simply saying that knowledge is power. That when you share, when you disclose, you learn new information that might get you to that other side quicker. Information that you might not have discovered had you stayed quiet.
So my beauties, I will leave it at that, and instead pose the question to you: Why do we suffer in silence? Why do we keep the bad stuff to ourselves? Do we HAVE to suffer in silence? I think this is a complex discussion. I’d love to hear your take on this matter. As always, you can comment anonymously if you are more comfortable. I’d truly love to know.