How I Learned to Suffer - Part 1

I am pretty good at suffering. It didn’t come naturally. I started out like everyone else, wanting food, sleep, and a clean diaper on time. As a kid, I didn't suffer too much. The occasional spankings were usually due to my own foolishness. I'll admit that they were handed out on the wild side in my alcoholic home, but they were usually deserved, and didn't leave physical scars. Food was never withheld and I was clothed appropriately for the weather, so I can't count suffering as part of my childhood.

As an adult, I got plenty of chances to suffer small inconveniences. Things like caring for a family, working long hours, or watching my paycheck fly out the window could be placed in the suffering category. My actions were born of love and I felt satisfied with life. I was being schooled in unselfish grownup-ness. It didn't really feel like suffering. It felt more like life.... without griping and complaining.

Why I Learned to Suffer

As I kid, I can't to understand that there could be harsh punishments for those who don't suffer well. In fact, I learned that certain tools of suffering are actually necessary in order to survive. I had an aunt who suffered through emotional and mental troubles. Depression and back pain created anxiety for her. The only cure she applied was a pronounced need for rest. She didn’t suffer well. After a decade of rest, she ended up more depressed.

By the time I was born, she had survived a lobotomy, which was a widely used, and tragic, treatment for depression in the 50's. Family members were kind to her in a gentle, pitying way. All I knew of her was that she was once married and then began to suffer resentment which led to further depression. When I was growing up, she lived alone and visited family a few times a year. Her home was a refuge from what she felt was an unsafe world. The lesson for me was this: Those who suffer poorly have dull and limited lives.

Is Suffering Right for You?

You’ve already had your fair share of suffering. The fact that you’re reading on a hepatitis C website tells me that you or a loved one are affected by a silent killer that is attacking your liver. You may be quietly suffering from fatigue, brain fog, and mental stress. I’m certain that many of you have physical symptoms like elevated liver enzymes, anemia, or jaundice.

Whether the suffering is internal or external doesn’t matter. If it creates a state of depression, stress, and anxiety, it is not good for you mentally or physically. I’ve experienced it all and have found a few things that work for me. I also know what has NOT worked well. You too have tried a lot of different things. You may be sick and tired of trying on most days.

It may sound like suffering well is a bit ridiculous. I figure if you’re going to suffer some setbacks, it’s going to be a lot easier if you can learn from it.

Read Part 2 from Karen about "Learning to Suffer"

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