The Only Way Out is Through

By Maria ShockeyOctober 13, 2017


That was all anyone seemed to tell me.

When it’s raining so hard you can’t see. When the thunder is hitting and the wind is pushing you to your knees. When the tough little muscle in your chest is aching with every beat. When it hurts to breathe.


That advice used to infuriate me. It used to defeat me.

I felt like the people I loved, the people I trusted with my pain, simply used that as an excuse to skimp out on their effort to help me. I believed that my pain was an exhaustive, demanding problem that they were tired of solving.

I didn’t realize that, at the time, I was wrongly expecting them to have a solution. To miraculously stop the rain. To fix it instantly.

And I didn’t realize that, the whole time, they were right.

“Let yourself be.”

Our minds and bodies are wired to avoid pain. At a deep, primal level. Our instinctual reactions are to protect ourselves, to keep ourselves safe.

So what happens when our pain is an emotional, heart kind of pain? What happens when the solution to our heart pain is not only counter-intuitive, it’s against our very nature?

What if the only way to get through the storm, is to walk through the rain?

What if the only way to heal the pain, is to feel the pain?

The thing is, throughout my life, I’ve found endless ways to numb pain. I’ve experienced plenty of happiness by boxing up my hurt and locking it into a closet in the furthest place of my brain. I’ve had good days, laughed, seen romance, gotten to do things I was passionate about.

But through all of that, I never experienced joy, I never experienced freedom, and I never experienced that deeply rooted contentment that I was stubbornly insisting was possible. And, inevitably, I always returned to the hurt. I always returned to emptiness, to longing, to the deeply rooted dissatisfaction. To the shame-driven belief that something was wrong with me, that I would never be good enough or satisfied, that I was not worthy of the things I desired.

I believed that disappointment was my destiny. That pain was my promised future.

It wasn’t until I started being honest with myself, being real about my pain, feeling the things that I had been burying for years, and grieving the losses I had been denying, that I started to actually find healing.

Our bodies may be instinctively wired to avoid pain, but our hearts are instinctively wired and divinely intended to feel.

To feel everything.

To cry out for our hurt, to mourn for our loss, to act on behalf of what angers us.

We’re cultured to believe that feelings are the enemy. That life should be breezy and smooth, that nothing should “get to us.” That anger is destructive, that sadness is burdening, that loneliness is weakness. But that is so far from true. Our feelings point us to what we care about, to the life we’re desperate for, to what we’re willing to fight for.

But let’s be honest: facing our feelings is some scary stuff.

It’s scary to walk down that bumpy, dark, slippery path that you’ve never been down before. You don’t know what ghosts are hiding there or what buried secrets might come up. You don’t know how you’ll handle it when they do.

Sometimes it’s easier to run than to face our fears.

But I challenge you to change that.

I dare you.

I dare you to walk into the storm, open your hands, and let the rain hit your skin.

I dare you to cry, to yell, to feel.

Because I absolutely promise, it will not rain forever. It will not drown you. And the healing will be worth the pain.

You may not be able to stop rain from falling, stop pain from hitting, but you can choose how you respond once it does. You may not be able to change what’s been done to you, get back what was taken from you. But you can choose to be brave today. You can choose to walk through the rain. You can choose to believe in the hope of a sunnier day that’s coming soon.

The way “out” is not to leave this earth.

The way “out” is not to numb yourself.

You will shake in your skin.
You will be more terrified than you’ve ever been.
But you will be brave.
And you will be okay.

The way out is not to run from the rain.

The only way out is through.

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Comments (18)

  1. Abigail Langer

    I’m not well rn. My hearts broken in a million pieces and I feel used and worthless.

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert


      Please know that while you may feel worthless, you are not. Your feelings are valid, they are real, but do not let them determine your worth. Please email us at [email protected] so we can know more of your story and offer you some support. We will respond as soon as we can.

      With Hope,

      Reply  |  
    2. Lee

      I LOVE YOU GIRL, PLEASE KEEP YOUR HEAD UP AND YOUR ARMS UP ONCE AND WHILE, I mean its ok to have your head down like when your reading a book, but try not to be unhappy for too long is what Im saying,
      I watched a beautiful movie you may enjoy called, “To Save A Life”

      A beautiful heart like your’s

      Reply  |  
  2. Melissa Sudbery

    Awesome – and TRUE. Thanks for sharing the wisdom. #SPNFamily #AKF

    Reply  |  
  3. CT

    I needed to see this today. I’ve been dealing with depression and have been running mentally from some problems that mean a lot to me. I need therapy again, even though it has been a while. I need to stop running. Thank you for your post

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert


      We hope you will get the help you need and deserve. It’s ok to go back to therapy, never associate needing help with being weak. Your strength and honesty are inspiring. If you are in need of some support and encouragement, please email us at [email protected].

      With Hope,

      Reply  |  
  4. Dawn Worth

    Never underestimate the value of what you’re doing with TWLOHA! I have depression. Although never suicidal, I have days I wished I weren’t here anymore. I was at Louder than Life two weekends ago when I saw your booth. I’ve been following TWLOHA on social media for a while and I was drawn in to the booth when I saw the book, If You Feel Too Much. Man, do I feel too much. I bought it with intentions of reading it. But the time didn’t feel right until last night. My closest friend, confided in me she attempted suicide this week. That story in its self shook me to my very core. I picked up that book, read it cover to cover, and now know why I was drawn into that booth two weeks ago. I wish I could put into words the power of that book and the uncanny coincidences that unfolded on nearly every page. I am a firm believer that those so called coincidences are actually The Law of Attraction at work in my life. I read it cover to cover last night and immediately packaged it up to mail to my friend on Monday. As incredible as my story is, can you imagine how many lives have been touched by your foundation? Thank you for being out there. You gave my support!!!!

    Reply  |  
    1. Becky Ebert


      We are so glad that you stopped by the TWLOHA booth at Louder Than Life. It is always an honor to meet and talk to people such as yourself in person.

      We are grateful that your friend is still here and that she has someone like you. Please know that you and your friend are always welcome to email us if you are ever in need of a safe place to talk. Every message we receive at [email protected] is read and replied to. Your friend is fortunate to have you, and you her. We are here to walk alongside both of you.

      Please continue to spread your honesty and love and light.

      With Hope,

      Reply  |  
  5. Elvis

    This leaves chills in my bones.

    Reply  |  
  6. Elvis

    You see, sometimes I wish I can divide myself into two. And offer a half to my “unloving family” who probably will never grasp the reality of my sexuality. And offer the other to me – a present of me to myself.

    I feel numb and scared of life, I’m even too scared to die or hurt myself hence I’ve never tried but sometimes I wish something or someone could just end it for me.

    I don’t know how to live or feel things outside the way I have programmed my brain to feel. I do go around thinking does everyone feel the way I do or is it just a unique feeling that is particular to me.

    I don’t know the kind of help I need because on the outside, I’m so full of life and an achiever thus even counsellors don’t see my issues – I am a good actor. But deep down in me, there is just a hollow pit of emptiness, void and FEAR.

    I fear I’ll be a failure and amount to nothing. I fear I won’t have any meaningful relationship, I fear no one would love me if they find out that truly underneath the muscles and nice clothes I have on, I’m nothing but a terrified kid.

    I want to feel but I really don’t know how.

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA


      We know that the weight of what you’re carrying is exhausting. But please know that you don’t have to carry it alone. You do not have to keep these thoughts and struggles to yourself.

      We hope that you will be honest and open, as you have been here, with the people who want to help you through this trying time. Know that you never have to act or pretend to be something you’re not in anyone’s presence, especially when you’re in the presence of those who care, such as your counselors.

      Please email us at [email protected] so our team can learn more about you and respond to you with some encouragement and support. We do our best to reply as soon as possible. We want you to know that you are not alone and that you do not have to continue down this path.

      With Hope,

      Reply  |  
    2. Lee

      I love you man.

      Reply  |  
  7. Estelle Hartman

    Maria, you have a wonderful gift to be able to articulate your innermost feelings! Only loving thoughts should come your way, Grandma E

    Reply  |  
  8. Nora

    Thanks for this. Even though there’s a part of me that knows deep down that the only way out is through, it doesn’t make the journey any easier, you know? And I’m so tired of being trapped in the same patterns, but I wouldn’t even know where to begin in order to break the cycle. But little reminders like this are what keep me grounded in the fact that as lonely as life can feel, we’re never truly alone. 🙂

    Reply  |  
  9. Kat

    I needed this so much tonight. I finally let myself feel some very repressed feelings that stemmed all the way from elementary school. After a good hard “ugly cry” last night, I felt a little better today. Completely drained, but somewhat better. I put on the brave-ish face for people in public, but as soon as I tried to open up to my closest friend about it, she (I think unintentionally) made everything worse. I feel like I’ve gone back so far from where I got to last night. I know she means well for me, but god was it a back fire tonight. I needed to reach out somewhere and this is the only safe place I know and trust.

    Reply  |  
    1. TWLOHA

      Hi Kat,

      We’re proud of you for opening up to your friend. It’s not an easy thing to do. Although we wish she could have provided you with some insight and comfort, we’re glad that instead of keeping your emotions to yourself, you came to our blog.

      Please know that you can always reach out to us. Would you email us at [email protected] and tell us more of your story? Our team would be honored to offer you some encouragement.

      We hope to hear from you soon.

      With Hope,

      Reply  |  
  10. Colleen

    I need to remember this. Especially this time of year, when everything around me is bright and merry, but everything feels dark and heavy on the inside. I wish I could skip through these months.

    Reply  |  
  11. Lee

    I love you.

    Reply  |  
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