Silent Screams

Some experiences and thoughts just can’t be explained or expressed so easily, especially in words. Some people may be able to relate when we talk about these things going on in us but honestly, most of those who say “they understand” hardly understand at all. “You don’t understand”, “You won’t understand” “You can’t understand” becomes our anthem. These things become loud screams but only in our heads, no one can hear them. This what I want to name “The Silent Screams”.

Several weeks after an attack on my life, I still found myself living in that extreme fear and anxiety, very paranoid. As to what actually happened and how it happened, where it happened and the exact time it happened, even where I was going or coming from on that night of the attack, no single individual knows the full story because I have not been able to recount the exact scenes to anyone. Even on the night of the attack, I stood still, glued to the spot trembling in fear. I felt so out of the world, so confused. After that night, I tried to recount my experience to a few friends I knew will listen, I tried to talk it out so as to be free of the feelings of fear that came along with it. Some of these friends were very supportive but many others made fun of it, even belittling the whole experience as though it was nothing. Their responses made me blame myself for everything that happened. In addition to the fear, I felt that intense guilt deep within. I felt that if I had not been there at that time of the night, I would not have been attacked. With time, talking about that night became nearly impossible, discouraging and quite challenging because of the few responses I had when I tried sharing. Though a bit reduced now, I still find myself feeling a bit shaken and afraid whenever I walk alone on our streets, even during the day. All these have become loud “Silent Screams” in my head.

Grow old along with me! The best is yet to be, the last of life, for which the first was made ~ Robert Browning.

Many of us at one point in our lives may have such “Silent Screams” in us, the unexplainable and inexpressible feelings, thoughts and experiences. For some, maybe you reading this piece now, these silent screams are an everyday thing for you. The screams may originate from different angles, different feelings and different thoughts and experiences. These screams may originate from some emotional uproar in our lives, some traumatic experiences, guilt from past mistakes and failures, self-blame from certain occurrences, grievous sins, lustful and sexual thoughts, the pains and hurts you may have caused others among many others. For other people too, these silent screams may originate from anxiety and fear of some things in the future, financial instability and the list continues. These “Silent Screams” are so unpleasant. They rob us of our inner peace and stability, even our sanity sometimes. These “Silent Screams” sometimes affects our social and spiritual lives, even our health. We wish we could just flush them out. We wish so deeply that we can just tell somebody about these. For some of us, we may have even tried various “help and support” we know but we find ourselves always coming back to square one.

I know, you know, we have been told over and over again, “take it to God in prayer” “speak to a counselor or psychologist about it” “open up to a trusted friend or family” “speak to someone about it” we have these suggestions from well-meaning people in our lives, but the question is “How?”. How do you open up? How do you even pray about it?
How do you speak to someone? Some believers will encourage you by telling you, “God has a plan, just trust him” “Everything happens for a reason, just believe” “Trust God for a better tomorrow” … these words are encouraging; I have been helped by these words too, but for how long?
How can one really handle these loud yet silent screams in one’s head? How can one get rid of this so as to live peacefully and freely? How did you overcome yours?

Philemon Gbadago