Pain sucks. There is little getting around it. Suffering can take many forms be it physical, emotional, spiritual, mental or some combination of all of these and more. My own story of pain and suffering involves OCD, Bipolar depression and subsequent alcoholism along with the loneliness and isolation it so often brings.
A little bit about me. When I was in 7th grade I developed Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. It pretty much destroyed my perception of life, God, and everything in between. Add in some bullying and I had a pretty rough time in school and I was very, very angry. After high school I entered a very dark time and was diagnosed with depression (it turns out much of my anger in high school was probably due to this but it is hard to diagnosis during those years) and I have had constant battles with it ever since.
A few years ago, during another really rough time in which I had pretty much given up all hope in life, I was re-diagnosed with Bipolar 2 with major depressive episodes. I was put on different medications which helped a ton, except for one big problem. By then I was drinking and I couldn’t stop. (It turns out roughly 60% percent of people with mental disorders end up with addictions. I am not using this as an excuse, more of just a fact we should be more aware of.)
All of my years of OCD and depression didn’t even come close to the hell alcoholism brought upon me. I seriously would not even wish it on my worst enemy. It brings upon you a total spiritual, emotional, physical, financial, relational bankruptcy I can’t even begin to describe. So I like to think I know a little about pain and suffering and decided I don’t want to waste it.
No one wants to go through pain and suffering but everyone does in one form or another. And while it may be difficult, it also makes you unique. It can give you tremendous depth and wisdom if you let it. It also gives you a story like no one else. And on the same note. It gives you a story others can relate to.
Our experiences with pain put us in a position to reach out to, love and encourage others going through the same thing. Sure it is tempting to pout, kick and scream about how unfair it all is, and oh boy, believe me I have. But eventually I realized this is incredibly selfish because it’s robbing others of the encouragement they may get from my story. Ultimately I realized good can come from something bad no matter how much it hurts.
Simply put, the lessons learned from suffering are to hard won to go to waste. So don’t waste your pain. After all, there are others out there who desperately need it.