Blog

Aug27
2015

More Than the Pain

By Julianne Elouadih

For a long time in my life, I let my pain define me. Years of struggling with depression, anxiety, and self-injury made me believe that I was destined to be broken. I thought anyone I told about my struggles would abandon me. I felt alone, and I was terrified. I feared myself, I feared my voice, and I feared my honesty. My fears kept me silent, and I began to believe every lie depression told me: My voice doesn’t matter. Hope doesn’t exist. I am worthless. Healing isn’t possible.

I hid my pain beneath a mask that told the world I was happy. Even my own family and my closest friends didn’t know about the hurt that was always lurking beneath the surface. They did not know about the demons that haunted me or the fears that kept me up at night. Depression told me that I could not ask for help because, if my friends and family really knew me, if they knew who I really was with all of my pain and brokenness, then they would know that I was unlovable.

At the beginning of my senior year of college, I was at an all-time low. My self-injury was worse than it had ever been, and I came extremely close to a suicide attempt. This made me realize that I couldn’t live in silence when the pain and loneliness of depression were threatening to take my life. I decided to give up self-injury for good, and I put an end to my silence. It took all my strength to find my voice, but I finally began to be honest with myself and with others.

I began to open up about my struggles to some of my friends and to my advisor. They didn’t run away. They didn’t think I was “crazy.” They didn’t see me the way I saw myself. They knew I was more than the pain, and they still loved me. For the first time in my life, I knew I wasn’t alone. I finally began to believe in hope and healing, and I began to learn what it meant to love myself again.

A year later, when depression reared its ugly head and came back into my life, I finally decided to get professional help. I was able to be honest with my family and more of my friends, and I learned healthy coping mechanisms and techniques for managing my mood when things get tough.

Today, I can honestly say that I have reached a point where I am happier than I’ve ever been. I am thankful to be alive even though my life is still far from perfect. Recovery is a choice I continue to make every day; I’m human, so I still struggle. I have days when I would rather not face the world. I have days when I hear the whispers of fear and self-doubt come creeping back into my mind, and I fight hard not to listen to those lies anymore. I don’t know if I will ever be free from that, but struggling is just a part of life. I’m learning that sometimes we still hurt even after we find healing, and that’s OK. Now when things are difficult or I have a really hard day, I try to look for the good and the beauty even in the broken. It takes a lot of work, but I can always find it. Even though that doesn’t make the pain go away, it strengthens me for the fight.

If you’re struggling, I want you to know that you are not alone. You are more than your pain, more than the brokenness, more than the lies you’ve learned to believe. In the midst of your struggles and suffering, it can be very easy to forget the truth, so let me be the one to remind you. Life was never meant to be something you do alone. Don’t let your fears keep you suffering in silence. Vulnerability is terrifying, I know. I’ve been there. But vulnerability is the first step to freedom, and honesty means that the lies don’t hold you anymore. There are people out there who can help you win this fight. You were always the one meant to walk away in victory.

Leave a Reply

Comments (26)

  1. Theresa

    Thank you for writing this article. It is beautifully written and has so much depth and honesty. I am inspired and comforted by your words. Thank you for being you.

    Reply  |  
  2. Keren

    When I read I felt I was reading my own story. Thank you so much for sharing, it has helped me to feel more understood by someone else and I feel less alone. Before I suffered by feeling alone and I wanted to get help from someone else. Over the years I found the task of understanding that nobody would ever be there for me, I had to be saved by my own. But after reading this page my way of seeing things has changed a lot. This page has changed my life. When I feel really bad and my fears are near, I read the blogs in here and I find peace and understanding. Now I understand that I am more than my pain and that I will fight my battle by my own but my armor will be the people that could help me by learning from them.

    Reply  |  
  3. Debbie

    this story could have been written by e!

    Reply  |  
  4. Beck

    Thank you for this piece of hope. “Meant to walk away in victory” … I hope these words will stick with me for a long time!

    Reply  |  
  5. Faith

    This blog post is perfectly written and so encouraging. It’s nice to know that I’m not the only person who has struggled like this and felt this way. Thank you so much for this beautifully honest post.

    Reply  |  
  6. Brittney

    This was beautiful. It described exactly how I think and feel on a regular basis. After reading this, you showed me that there is light at the end of the tunnel…that the impossible can be made possible no matter how much It hurts. You’ve shown me that there is hope, despite the pain. So Thank you for your comforting and beautiful words.

    Reply  |  
  7. Jane

    Thank you for your honest voice! ?

    Reply  |  
  8. Monica

    Thank you for sharing! I also felt like I was reading my own story. Ive learned that opening up to those around me isn’t so bad.

    Reply  |  
  9. Karla

    I am 52 years old and was able to hide behind my family and career. Now that the kids are grown and gone and I’m disable I can’t hide anymore and it’s so painful to watch 2 of my kids going down the same road. I DON’T KNOW HOW TO HELP THEM. I can’t help myself, when you tell someone you are suffer from depression they treat me like I’m nuts because of my front I put up. So I feel doomed to always keep quiet. But it does help to know I’m not alone.

    Reply  |  
  10. Jessica

    Thanks for that!

    Reply  |  
  11. Julia Gummelt

    I tried reading this with a not-depressed mind, but I when I ask for help I just get a no. I’m so afraid of no. I just want to be happy for once. :'(

    Reply  |  
    1. Claire Biggs

      Hi Julia,
      We’re sorry to hear that you’ve received a “no” when you’ve asked for help in the past. Would you mind emailing info@twloha.com? We’d love to send you some encouragement.

      Reply  |  
  12. Courtney

    Thank you for writing this. I too struggle with anxiety, self harm, and depression and everything you wrote.. its everything i have felt or been feeling and have not been able to put into words. This gave me hope. Thank you so much

    Reply  |  
  13. Jeanne

    I really needed this tonight, I needed the reminder that I’m not my fears and what they try to turn me into, thank you.

    Reply  |  
  14. LaVerne

    thank you

    Reply  |  
  15. Anna

    As I struggle not to relapse into my old habits of self-harm in this difficult time that I am going through, I can only thank you for writing these words. They showed up at the perfect time and help me to keep trying to stay strong… <3

    Reply  |  
  16. Lori

    I just wanted to say Thank You!

    Reply  |  
  17. Tiphanie

    Thank you for sharing this article. I am a foster parent that has a 15yr old that has been struggling with depression, cutting, etc. and I was just doing some personal searching for resources that I could glean from in order to help her to her own path of victory! I am going to print this article out for her – blessings to you for your transparency with the world, your victory is paving the path for others to dance upon!! 🙂

    Reply  |  
  18. Stefane

    Já tive vários dias que eu queria sumi e não ver ninguém… Porque eu acabava que não sou importante…e se sumice ninguém ia notar…Mas comecei a mudar ..assim quando começo meu dia repito varias vezes um versículo que me ajudou muito “Tudo posso naquele que me fortalecer”..e assim que começo com esses pensamentos mentalizo esse versículo… Acredite em você não estamos no mundo para ser invisível temos que escrever nossa história no livro da vida…com vários momentos de felicidades,lágrimas, sorrisos… Todo mundo tem um propósito na terra…

    Reply  |  
  19. Stefane

    Já tive vários dias que eu queria sumi e não ver ninguém… Porque eu acabava que não sou importante…e se sumice ninguém ia notar…Mas comecei a mudaör ..assim quando começo meu dia repito varias vezes um versículo que me ajudou muito “Tudo posso naquele que me fortalecer”..e assim que começo com esses pensamentos mentalizo esse versículo… Acredite em você não estamos no mundo para ser invisível temos que escrever nossa história no livro da vida…com vários momentos de felicidades,lágrimas, sorrisos… Todo mundo tem um propósito na terra…Me vi nessa mensagem e comecei a pedir ajuda para mudar e estar dando certo… Minha familia estar me ajudando…. E eu não vou desistir de min.

    Reply  |  
  20. nancy

    thank you for sharing I needed to read this

    Reply  |  
  21. chad.berg

    you are not alone you are not a freak you loved you are unique you are not alone

    Reply  |  
  22. Shawna

    I’ve been clean from self-injury for 76 days and I’m having one of those nights so I decided to read some of these blogs for encouragement. It’s just so helpful to know I’m not the only one who’s gone through this, thanks for sharing!

    Reply  |  
  23. Ashley

    Thank you. I needed to hear this today.

    Reply  |  
  24. Lesley

    Thank you for writing this article of hope. As a Mother of teenager who recently found about our daughter is a self harmer I’m grateful to read stories of recovery which also include how to respond and love self harmers through recovery. God bless you.

    Reply  |  
Get Email Updates

Sign up for our newsletter to hear updates from our team and how you can help share the message of hope and help.

Join our list