It’s not that bad or it doesn’t hurt THAT bad are two of the most disempowering statements we can make to a person in pain. Physical, emotional and mental pain cannot be ascertained by another, they are purely personal experiences. We do ourselves and the other an extreme disserve when we minimalize their experience. Are we seeking to make their discomfort more comfortable for us? Does putting their experience neatly in a box make it easier for us to handle? What would it mean to accept what they are saying as they try to explain or vocalize their pain? What does it mean for the listener? Why does it scare us so much when others seek help, or try to vent? Is it because on some level we understand that we are them? That could be us? As a person who has been trapped in the abyss, I can say with all surety that it DID hurt that much, and it was horrendous. After about a year of my sentence (that’s what it felt like) I stopped trying to explain it to others and stopped trying to get help. I felt that no-one understood or believed me, and yes that too was excruciating. I’m ubergrateful for the experience that bitchslapped my ego so, that now I realize that when someone is trying to vent their pain, there’s really nothing that can be said, so we can hold their hand and let them know how much we love them. Even if there is no way to understand what they’re going through, we can still let them know that they are precious to us, and that we trying to understand without assigning our belief systems to their pain. Caring and listening are enough. Holding another’s hand and heart are enough. On the heels of this profound understanding I am hitting up one of my besties and apologizing if I’ve ever minimized their pain. What else is possible? I’m aiming to find out!