Persevere Through Infinite Suffering – Strategies to Keep Going

Perseverance through infinite suffering

“Emotions are authentic and warranted.”


Recently, I’ve been pondering the concept of pain.

Since my sister Cassy was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, I’ve been thinking about it more often.

My best friend and girlfriend, Cassy, is just 15 months younger than myself. Therefore, I’m concerned about her wellbeing.

Since her job involves constant manual manipulation—wiring, splicing, drilling—she must be in good physical condition.

Arthritis, however, has decided to settle in precisely the wrong place: her hands.

She informed me that there are days when she needs both hands to grip her toothbrush because the agony is so bad.

As a result, I started wondering what it was like to be in agony. How should we handle this?

I began to take note of my own pain episodes.

When I’m out of breath and my muscles ache from exercising.

When my cat tries to get some chin scratching from me and accidentally scratches me with her loving paw.

When the pain in my hip flexor flares up, it’s almost hard to get into my vehicle since I have to raise my leg so high.

As I observed my actions, I had an epiphany.

Knowing that these trying times would eventually pass helped me get through them.

The completion of my exercise meant that I could finally catch my breath and give my body a much-needed break.

My elbow, which the cat scratched, might benefit from some ointment.

My hip flexor pain was substantially reduced with ibuprofen.

This Unending Suffering

But what about suffering that never goes away?

Similar to the persistent pain that Cassy suffers from?

What about intangible suffering like heartache and despair?

My heart goes out to the people of Newtown, Connecticut, who have lost loved ones in the tragic shooting deaths of twenty children and six adults.

The suffering of those families has only just started, and I know that none of them can see any relief in sight.

When I reflect back on the time that I lost my spouse to breast cancer, I remember the intense pain and despair that I felt. I recall vividly worrying that I would never again have a life free from emotional suffering.

Searching for Solace

Humans have an innate need to avoid experiencing any kind of physical or emotional suffering.

After accidentally touching a hot stove as youngsters, we made it a rule to never touch one again.

This type of instinct is both fundamental and useful. As a result, we learn to avoid potentially dangerous situations in which pain is present.

We also shut down emotionally when we’re in pain.

Like a hot burner, we leap away from it.

So that we don’t get burned emotionally again, we establish guidelines in our heads for what meets that threshold.

We try to find solutions to soothe the pain caused by our accidental contact with the emotional burner.

Many of us turn to print media in our pursuit of solace.

Like the Neosporin or ibuprofen we use to treat our bodily wounds, we sometimes stumble across the remedy we need.

Unfortunately, there are situations when, despite receiving sound counsel from knowledgeable individuals, the suffering persists and cannot be alleviated in conventional ways.

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There Is No Way But Through

I wish more than anything that there were anything I could say right now: “But wait, there really is something that works when you’re in devastating emotional pain.”

However, that’s not possible for me. Because life may be rough at times. For quite some time.

And you have to find a method to get through it.

One right-wing fanatic murdered 77 people in Oslo, Norway, in 2011, including 69 adolescents at a summer camp.

The clergyman remarked softly, “There is no way out of it but just to go through it,” amid the shock and grief.

I asked my sister how she copes with the constant ache in her body, and she said, “It’s like an athlete training for an extreme event; there’s pain every day that you train, and it depends on how much you can tolerate on any given day.”

To that, I would respond, “But you just keep training.”

Emma Wilson was a friend of mine from childhood. Her parents were killed in a train accident together in 1985, along with one of her sisters and a close friend.

She was sure she would be permanently damaged.

However, after walking this road for a while, she realized something: “Sometimes, fate throws you an alternate reality and demands you come to terms with it.” Moving forward is the only option sometimes.

But what about my personal experience?

Did I come across any mystical elixirs that may soothe my anguish and help close this gaping emotional wound?

The answer is no.

However, I did eventually pick up on something. Making progress.

Even though I was sure I would not or could not make it through the day, I did.

It didn’t end well.

There were some days when I didn’t feel like crying, but there were other days when I sobbed till I felt I might throw up. Where I found myself on the floor, weeping and unsure of how I got there.

Just make it through the next five minutes, I told myself. And if I didn’t leave after that time, I’d have to force myself to endure another five minutes of it. On other days, there were many 5-minute breaks.

Still, I prevailed. Likewise, you will

To That End

Take whatever steps are necessary without risking injury.

It’s healthy to express your emotions (cry, laugh, and discuss) with your friends. Relax and enjoy some time off. Let out a nocturnal scream into your pillow. cried softly in the office restroom. If you have faith in a higher being, be angry with it.

Pray, get plenty of rest, and spend your late nights penning verse. Watch some mindless movies to pass the time. Read a book or assist someone else, and you’ll forget about your troubles. You need to survive the next five minutes.

It’s not simple to deal with suffering, and sometimes life simply stinks.

Nonetheless, don’t worry; you’ll survive.

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