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This month's question:
What is the most intense pain you’ve experienced that wasn’t physical?
There have been 17 answers to this question so far.
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Stories from Strangers

We’ll have a new question here every month for you to answer and engage with. Think of this as an online journal, except everyone gets a page in the book, and no one knows who’s written what (fun!).

Pour your heart out or read through the pages of someone else’s heart. Either way, we hope you find comfort in reading these stories from strangers.

What is the most intense pain you’ve experienced that wasn’t physical?

  • Anonymous

    Before my depression was diagnosed, I would have these episodes, often alone in my car after arriving home from somewhere. The swirling storm of negative/existential thoughts would peak in the form of a hurricane outworking as fits of sobs and shallow breathing. Bursts of pain and agony would escape my lips as I clutched my torso wanting to be as small as possible so that the hurricane might eventually pass me by. No physical pain. But I still catch my breath when I think of the unreal external pressure and overwhelming intensity of those episodes.

  • Anonymous

    Going through my first break-up. I was so young and naiive and still had so much growing to do. I thought I’d be with him forever. It wasn’t a healthy relationship at all but as someone who cares so deeply I had become so invested in this person even though they weren’t good for me. I’ll never forget that heartbreak. It felt like genuine physical pain. It wasn’t the relationship ending that was so bad. It was that I had planned this whole life in my head and everything I thought I knew came crashing down around me. I’d lost one of my best friends, a relationship and there was just all this uncertainty that came flooding in at once and I just didn’t know how to handle it all. Years later, a lot of therapy and I’m 10000 times happier and have a far healthier approach to relationships and life.

    1
  • Anonymous

    Living in a marriage spent fighting for the relationship, and finally getting divorced when there was no other way to move forward. Going through that pain can feel unbearable, everyday felt like a struggle and just getting out of bed was a victory. And then – letting go of all the hopes and dreams you had for your life in that role and for the future was part of that pain. While this was the deepest pain, it has allowed me to rediscover who I am and really experience joy again and to rebuild new hopes and dreams for my future.

    1
  • Anonymous

    After going through fertility treatment and finding out I was not pregnant on the same day as my BIL announcing that they’re expecting. I was heart broken, not only for myself, but for my husband too.

    2
  • Anonymous

    The loss of my younger brother, he was only 24 🥺

    2
  • Anonymous

    Losing my Mom.
    We found out about her cancer diagnosis on Christmas Eve. Five days later I was moving overseas. I tried to change my plans but she wouldn’t hear of it and insisted she was going to beat this cancer beast. I left. But returned three weeks later to help her after her surgery. She passed away 20 months later, in my arms. The most gut wrenching privilege of my life.

    2
  • Anonymous

    The loss of my mom was unbearable for me. I had lost my father young, my gran to suicide and my brother to an asthma attack. My mom had been with me through it all. She loved my kids like they were her own and always had my back. When she got cancer it devastated me. Walking with her through it, the chemo, the hospital times. The last night with her in the hospital was the worst and she died the following day. It broke me. I literally felt my body ache and wanted to scream so loud. I just wanted to go with her. That for me was the worst of all the pain I have felt.

    3
  • Anonymous

    Being told about my aunt taking her own life a month after I opened my own restaurant. Such shocking news to process and Carrying such a heavy load whilst trying to make a business work in customer service. Made me see the world in a totally different way since then.

    2
  • Anonymous

    Heartbreak when I found out I wasn’t pregnant

    5
  • Anonymous

    When my husband walked out, in the middle of the night never to return – no warning, no discussion, no knowledge that he had been wanting to leave for years and wasn’t in love with me – we were together for 22 yrs, from teenagers – the most soul destroying feeling i have ever experienced.

    6
  • Anonymous

    Being told I have multiple sclerosis. The emotional pain and uncertainty was crushing in the moment – I will never forget it.

    3
  • Anonymous

    My mum leaving when I was just 15 and never having the interest to stay in contact or get to know me. I was just a child.

    5
  • Anonymous

    When my 20 year old brother passed away.

    4
  • Anonymous

    Losing my mother and missing her every day.

    5
  • Anonymous

    My mom abandoning me, I still cry about it as a 30year old adult. That void and loneliness never goes away

    6
  • Anonymous

    My horse died unexpectedly from an illness – I watched him try and fight, stood by his side until the end. It broke me – I was emotionally and physically exhausted from trying to keep it together for him and when he eventually passed I think I lost a piece of me and a piece of my heart.

    3
  • Anonymous

    Hearing the words, “I just don’t love you anymore” after 5 years of dating. I thought we’d be together forever. I was completely blindsided and didn’t expect our relationship to ever come to an end. Hearing that one sentence, that came out of nowhere, was pain on a different level.

    10

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