Human Interest

Suffering in Silence

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All around us are people silently suffering. Yet, we miss it. On their faces are the most beautiful smiles. On their tongues are sweet words meant to encourage and uplift others. In their hands are the tools to help others in whatever capacity they can assist. Their ears hold the secrets, the stories, the triumphs, the pain, and the joys of others. But in their hearts, they are heavy. And no one knows.


They go to work. Tend to the children. Love on the spouse. Work the business. Serve the community. Help others. And are quick to lend a hand when they see others in need. While their own needs go unmet. They suffer in silence, because no one takes the time to see if they are okay. Or when they do say something, their needs are summarily dismissed as the person makes the conversation about themselves, disregards the pleas of the one reaching out, while at the same time asking them to do something more for them, or in some way blames or judges the person who has found themselves burned out.


No one is taking the time to ask how they are doing or if they might be of some assistance. So these silently suffering people press on and just do the best they can to make it. Sometimes moment to moment. On the rare occasions when someone does ask how they are doing and the person feels it might be a safe place to share the real deal of their lives, they are met with judgment, criticism, and a serious lack of compassion. Fingers are pointed their way. Accusations are slung. After all, they are the reasons their lives are a mess. Right? Yet these very ones slinging insults and uncaring words are first in line to ask for an ear when their own lives aren’t going according to plan.


We know that ultimately we are responsible for what we allow in our lives. But the truth is, many of these roles were started for us in childhood and we may not even realize the patterns we’re in, because it’s been so ingrained. It is through a process of soul searching and feeling a pressure so intense one can barely stand under it that many people realize something is wrong. However, the person still needs a safe place to share, to vent, to breathe, to discuss, to share ideas that will ultimately lead to their own healing. That rarely happens when the person is being criticized, judged, ridiculed, or blown off because of their experiences. Everyone needs someone at one time or another. Needing others is not a sign of weakness. Instead it is a sign of strength. Sharing the innermost details of one’s life and exposing fears, pain, frustration, confusion is not an easy thing to do, especially when what might await are harmful reactions to what is shared.


No one is all right all the time, no matter what they tell you. People deserve the right to be right where they are at that time and be given the support and freedom to be in that space and work through the issue their own way. When a hurting person reaches out for help and is met with criticism, judgment, ridicule and a lack of compassion, they shut down. Instead of seeking out others who might help, they suffer in silence because experience has told them they are not safe to reveal their struggles. This must stop. We are losing valuable people each day because the pressures of life are too much. Even if the person does not commit suicide, they are not functioning at the full capacity of themselves if they are depressed, angry, or anxious. People are like bank accounts. If all we ever do is make withdrawals and never make any deposits, eventually we’ll become overdrawn. An overdrawn person is no good to anyone. Not even themselves. It is imperative that we take the time to take care of ourselves…and each other.


Here are some things you are can do to help a person who might be struggling.

  1. Take the time to ask if they are okay and really listen to what they are saying. I’m not saying let them whine and complain about their lives for hours to the point where they lower your vibrations. But listen enough to get a sense of what is going on. Sometimes just having someone to talk to about it is the best help of all.
  2. Offer to pray for the person. This is not a religious act. Prayer is a tool that invites the God of the universe into the situation of another person. Prayer isn’t personal; it’s just a tool. If the person is not open to having you pray with them, just pray for them on your own.
  3. Check in on them from time to time. Just knowing that someone took the time to call or send a card can make the person who is struggling feel loved and see a ray of sunshine. It doesn’t have to be a long call or an in depth letter. Just a few words can be enough to brighten someone’s day.
  4. Follow your unction. When the stray thought comes to mind to compliment a person on their smile or to say something encouraging, just do it. Even if it’s to a stranger. Too often we blow off the unction to do something, not realizing that what you could have done was just the thing that person needed in that moment. Many people believe in God, but God uses people on this earth to help each other. The next time you get that ‘feeling’ to do something good or nice for someone, follow through and just do it. You can very well be the answer to someone’s prayer.
  5. Remember that it could be you. No one is okay all of the time. We all have times in our lives where we need something or someone. Treat others with the same level of care and concern you’d want to receive if the shoe was on the other foot. Compassion goes a long way. Be a help, not a hinderer, to the healing process of others.


If you are that person who is silently suffering, Beloved, I encourage you to reach out. If there is no one you feel safe enough to talk to in your inner circle, it might be time to change your inner circle. However, in the meantime, seek out counseling from a licensed therapist or spiritual leader in your place of worship. Therapy is not a sign that you are mentally ill. Just as you’d take your body for a physical or your car for a tune up, the mind needs care sometimes too. Self-care is the best thing you can do for yourself and for your loved ones. Make it your business to do something just for you each day. Whether it’s taking a walk, going to a day spa, reading a book that uplifts your spirits, or meditating…do something. Make yourself a priority and know that it is okay to do it. Know that sometimes in putting yourself first, it may mean saying no to everyone else. I promise you the world will not end because you can’t meet that person’s needs. Eventually, they will get over having been told no, and you will learn that the world will go on even if you can’t help with everything and everyone.


It is okay to get the help you need. There is no need for you to suffer in silence. Know that you are loved and the universe supports your decision to love and care for yourself.

Tumika Patrice Cain is an award-winning author of fiction and nonfiction works, book publisher, media personality and motivational speaker. Her timely messages of hope and inspiration are highly sought out. She offers practical instruction of living one’s best, most authentic life. Tumika is changing lives one word at a time! Connect with Tumika at

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