Suffering is in a gross surplus in this world, which is the cruel reality of it


My experience has been that the common bond that all human beings share is that no one gets out of this life without experiencing some form of suffering.

Her is another great piece by my friend and fellow sufferer of mental illness, Bridgette Saunders:

“I’ve discovered the nature of suffering this year. It’s not as if I’d never suffered myself or that I was somehow naïve to the definition of the word; rather, I’ve happened upon the quite discreet philosophical nature of suffering. We’ve all endured some form of suffering, specific to each of us, to our circumstances, in relation to our fears, threatening our livelihood and contentedness in some way.

And though we’ve all acquainted ourselves with it and, theoretically speaking, seen its face, my suffering looks nothing like yours. They are, perhaps, kin as they only share the word like a stubbornly everlasting surname. But that’s the extent of their parallels. I was recently discussing a woman I know that had complained about her life due to trivial matters. To place it more modernly and grammatically unappealing, “f my life”, she said.

As though she was in some anguish that could neither be removed nor numbed and her life, both up to this point and all she’ll experience after the dramatization of such a sentence, was either moot or inconsequential or bound to only be met with more suffering.

Here I rolled my eyes.

And I did so because I know this woman personally and, when compared to my woes, it felt as though surely, surely this was a joke. No, it wasn’t. It was merely a woman suffering in her own way, not a woman suffering meekly by comparison, just a woman suffering.

It ultimately annoyed me the barbarity of life for some and then others experience such an ease with it — like a gust of wind temporarily disturbing flowers when others have been ripped up by their very roots from a ruthless tornado — that suffering is conceived by such seemingly paltry matters; matters a child in an underdeveloped country, searching for clean water, would certainly scoff at. But that is a skewed perception. Suffering is not only valid upon comparison. There is no unspoken competition. Mine and yours look nothing alike and yet they torture us both when they arrive. Suffering is as individual as we are. Shadows, really, taking on our shape and never able to replicate another’s.

I was wrong in my belief that suffering was somehow rationed. And only those genuinely agonizing, deeply suffering, deserve to acknowledge it. Suffering is in a gross surplus in this world, which is the cruel reality of it. And one suffering does not negate another, as the suffering are two vastly different people merely sharing the same name.”

Photo: Betroffenheit, a play by the Electric Company Theatre that touches on themes of loss, addiction and recovery

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