Have you heard of the phrase suffering in silence? Well, surviving in silence is even worse.
In a world that often demands constant communication and all of you to show up at all times, there exists a profound irony — the silent struggle that many individuals, like you, face. Surviving in silence can be more insidious and damaging than suffering in silence. Are you wondering what the difference is?
Suffering in Silence
Suffering in silence stems from societal expectations, cultural norms, or personal reservations. Suffering in silence is unconsciously enduring the emotional and mental pain without expressing it. The internalization of this distress prevents you from acknowledging that you are suffering. This can be due to your own judgements, societal stigma, or a belief that mental health is not real or it cannot happen to you. Unfortunately, suffering in silence prevents you from being aware that you may need help. The absence of acknowledgment and understanding can exacerbate the distress, making it a solitary battle.
Surviving in Silence
Surviving in Silence is consciously knowing and self-acknowledging that you may be enduring emotional and mental pain, however, choosing not to apply the healthy coping skills to help you feel better. With surviving in silence we see many people have the awareness that they are not well, and continue to till “bulldoze through life.”. A good example of this is burnout; many professionals are aware they are burnout, and choose to continue to push through until a project is completed. With surviving in silence, there are false underlying notions such as:
“I just need to get through this, then I'll feel better.”
“It will eventually go away with time”
“This is temporary.”
Although both terms highlight the importance of breaking the silence surrounding mental health, surviving in silence is a conscious choice you make to not reach out for help to promote well-being. As you are reading this, you may find yourself becoming defensive. This can show up as coming up with reasons why you are choosing to survive in silence:
“I don’t have time to deal with my mental health right now.”
“This isn’t about me. I am not surviving, I’m just having a bad month.”
“It costs too much to invest in myself and it’s not worth it. I got over it before, I’ll get over it again.”
“Therapy takes too long and I don’t have mental health issues - I’m not crazy.”
If you find your mind becoming active with these thoughts, they may be excuses your mind is making to continue to survive in silence. This article seeks to explore the problem and discuss potential solutions, including the use of therapy at Shakti Therapy & Healing Services, based in Los Angeles, CA.
The Challenges of Surviving in Silence
Suffering in silence implies enduring hardships unconsciously while surviving in silence goes a step further by suppressing your own voice and denying the right to reach out and receive support.
Not using your voice to speak up and survive in silence lowers self-esteem, confidence, and resilience.
It is a myth that it builds resilience to ignore a problem or bulldoze through it. As a matter of fact, this behavior is telling your unconscious mind that you are not important enough to stand up for yourself. The weight of unspoken pain can become an unbearable burden, leading to isolation, loneliness, anxiety, and depression. When you forcefully choose to navigate your mental health struggles without expressing them, the toll on mental health builds up and can lead to more severe diagnosis.
The Isolation Paradox Mental Health:
Surviving in silence creates a paradoxical form of isolation. While surrounded by people and perhaps even loved ones, the inability to communicate your emotional distress can result in a profound sense of isolation. The fear of judgment, stigma, or simply not being understood may often lead you to keep your struggles hidden, contributing to a self-imposed exile. You may find yourself thinking:
“No one understands what I am going through.”
“If I tell anyone they will judge me.”
“I feel like it is the end of the world.”
“No one cares about my problems.”
Although there is resilience in moving through the discomfort, there is also a difference between surviving in silence vs. moving through the discomfort. Resilience happens when you take action when you are uncomfortable. Surviving in silence is the act of not taking action because you may falsely believe you’ll just get over it. This concept also leads to isolation because it dismissed your authentic feelings, leading to a sense of not feeling seen or understood.
The Impact on Mental Health:
Surviving in silence takes a toll on your mental health. The mind becomes a battleground where unspoken thoughts and emotions collide.
Your brain is wired to fix things and take actions. When your mind is trying to resolve the bottom level feelings, and you choose to ignore it, it can lead to anxiety, depression, and other mental health issues.
Anxiety, depression and other mental health issues are emotional alarms and signals from the brain; it is an attempt to get your attention. By contrast, allowing yourself to speak openly about challenges can alleviate the burden and create space for healing. Mental health clinics such as Shakti Therapy & Healing Services in Culver City and Torrance are teaching clients how to stop surviving in silence and take ownership of their lives. Life is too beautiful to be lived in your mind.
The Benefits of Thriving
Shakti Therapy encourages open dialogue in safe spaces about your struggles, so we can collectively create a culture that values living life authentically with compassion and connection. We use a holistic mind-body-spirit approach to give you permission to break the silence by not giving yourself excuses, stop just surviving through the day-to-days of life, and begin applying the coping skills you need to thrive. This not only helps you manage mental health symptoms such as anxiety and depression, but it also fosters an environment where you are seen, heard, and validated. This allows you to break intergenerational trauma bonds.
Surviving in silence is a silent epidemic that affects countless individuals, perpetuating a cycle of isolation and increased mental health challenges. It is crucial to recognize that this form of chosen suffering is more damaging than openly acknowledging and addressing challenges. By fostering a culture of openness, understanding, and empathy, we can empower individuals to break the silence, creating a world where survival is not a solitary endeavor, but a shared journey towards healing and resilience.
Remember, breaking the silence is a gradual process, and everyone's journey is unique. Taking these steps can contribute to a healthier mental state, allowing you to move from surviving in silence to thriving with a more open and supported mindset.
Ektha Aggarwal is an experienced licensed clinical social worker (LCSW) and Founder of Shakti Therapy and Healing Services.
Shakti Therapy is a holistic & psychotherapeutic mental health clinic. We realize that we are an integral part of the vast and complex web of life - that the health of the whole is intimately connected with the health of the individual. Shakti Therapy combines both ancient Eastern & the most up to date scientific modalities, to create a basis of connection - mind to body, human to nature, individual to community, physical to spiritual, past to present to future.
To learn more about Shakti Therapy and Healing services, please visit www.shaktitherapyhealing.com