Where did your pain come from?

I’ve started this blog so that I can make something nice, something that lifts people up. But I have noticed that there is nearly always something painful that has to happen in order for there to be that nice thing borne out of it. And it’s got me thinking what it is in my life that has spurred me on to at least try and create a nice space on the internet.

I’ve been watching some videos on Youtube recently and really zoned in on the ones that show people who have dealt with horrible things and come through fighting and made something good of it. The something good always seems to be completely different but the fact remains that there always is something good.

I have watched videos of people who have fought through cancer or lost relatives to the disease. I’ve seen people describe their fight with addiction and people who have endured painful family breakdowns and the stories that seem to resonate the most with the viewer is always the story where the person who has suffered has come out fighting and they’ve created something beautiful out of their pain.

This doesn’t necessarily have to be a charity or anything as obvious as that. It could be something so small, but the very act of coming out the other end and telling your story is so powerful and you have no idea how helpful it may be to somebody else going through something similar.

I’ve been thinking back over the last decade of my life and there have been a few blows along the way. I have spoken briefly about my struggles with addiction but the thing that kind of kicked it off for me was the breakdown of my marriage when I had a nine month old baby and I was only twenty one years old.

I don’t normally like to talk about that time in my life but I felt like putting the words down in this blog might be of help to somebody else and wouldn’t it be great if I could help prevent somebody enduring a decade of alcoholism in the process?

So my story started when I went backpacking around South Africa aged nineteen. I was naive and pretty innocent and I got swept off my feet by a local when I was only two weeks into my trip. I thought this guy was gorgeous and he asked me to marry him after just a few months. We did marry and then I got terribly homesick and decided I needed to go home, leaving him behind. We had the plan for him to follow me over when his visa was sorted and we had some money saved so we could get a flat. However, the day I landed in England I went to the doctor and found out that I was five months pregnant!

It was all a crazy panic in the months that followed but my husband did make it over to England with just a few days to spare. The baby was born and I went back to work very quickly leaving the husband looking after the baby. Unbeknown to me, he started having and affair and it was a good six months before I found out.

Finding out that your trust has been broken in such a terrible way at such a young age was crushing and I don’t think I’ve ever really gotten over it. I’ve not had a relationship since and I find it really hard to trust men. I find it hard to accept any kind of attention from men because my brain seems to instantly associate them with that intense pain that I felt in the early days after the split.

The pain was so intense that cutting myself was the only way to dull it. I also took to starving myself and all manner of other kinds of bodily punishment followed. Anything to get rid of what I was feeling, and that ultimately led to alcohol.

I do wonder if I had had someone to confide in in those early days, would I have gone through so many years of hurt afterwards? If I could have been made aware that my pain was shared by every other human on the planet would I have felt less alone?

The answer is most definitely yes. I think that we need to share our stories of pain so that another young girl who gets hurt at the beginning of her adult life doesn’t lose her twenties entirely. Just because she thinks that she’s the only one feeling so intensely.

Can we all just be a little bit more open about our feelings and our stories. We don’t need to label it as depression or anything heavy like that, we just need to tell people that we were deeply distressed and in a dark place for a time. But we can also show that there is light at the end of the tunnel and give hope. Being left by a spouse at any age is heart wrenching and it would be nice if we could cultivate a space where we could talk about this kind of hurt without feeling like we’re telling some kind of sob story.

I truly believe that something good always comes from the hard times. There is always something that we can pass on to the next person who we see that is struggling. And we can all come together and share our stories to lighten the burden. My parting advice would be to sit with your pain, find others to help you through it and know that there is probably something good coming from it eventually, even if you can’t see it now. If you have any examples of things you’ve been through and how they’ve turned into something good or shaped you in a positive way then I would love to hear it.

Jesus replied “You don’t understand now what I am doing, but someday you will” – John 13:7

Much Love

Rachel xx

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