Breathe through Pain

By Anel Conradie

If only it were easy to breathe-through-pain, it would be so much easier to go on with life when you’re at the lowest part of yourself.  Instead, most of us choke and fear that the emotional suffocation is the only way out of our misery and the heaviness of empty “nothingness.”

It seems too difficult to breathe when you are struck down at the lowest part of yourself – when you are crouched under a heavy cloud of lead, which seems to infiltrate your very core.  The funny thing is that you continue to walk around, breathe and smile and look as if everything is fine…BUT…inside, you are suffocating, until there is nothing left to feel.

This happened to me a couple of months ago.  I realised that all my passion for life and creativity has literally been hauled out of me.  It happened quite gradually, and before I knew it, I was stuck in the black and white picture of routine.  After a very stressful and draining fight to get out, during which I also lost my unborn baby, I came to the end of myself and realised: there is absolutely nothing left inside.

Nothing left to feel.

It had all just slowly died.

Facing the pain of death is something that can rarely be put into words, yet, it is such a common commodity, that it cannot, not be talked about.  When you are at the lowest part of yourself, you are forced to face yourself and to deal with your collateral damage.  Breathing air into that which is dead, has to be one of the most difficult, yet life-giving, things anyone can ever do.

My breath is writing.

The most challenging part of this whole journey is to face yourself – to admit to yourself what had happened and to know where you are at in the entire process of finding yourself again. Being honest with yourself about what had died inside you, acknowledging the fact that your passion has died, that your motivation and excitement for your life has died, that your baby has died…that is the most difficult part.  Every. Single. Day.  For as long as it takes to move on.

It is only once you take that step of acknowledgement and allow yourself to grieve about what has happened, what has been lost, that you can start the restoration process.  This is different for everyone, and whatever you need, however much time you need, if you want to fully recover, and one day live out of a place of abundance, you have to allow yourself the time.  Firstly, to grieve; and secondly, to breathe through the pain of death, unto restoration.

Be more gracious to yourself than the cruel heart that ticks according to the social mantra of “time is money.”  Healing of this utmost delicate kind, cannot be bought, cannot be rushed, cannot be forced.  Whatever you feel, however you feel it, be honest with yourself.  It is only through honesty, and allowing yourself time to process and breathe fresh air into this loss, that healing will slowly spring forth from the ashes.

Author’s Bio:


Anel is a freelance writer, editor and proof-reader.  With a background in teaching English literature and language she now pursues her own writing career.  She is an Alumni of Stellenbosch University, in Cape Town.

Growing up in Namibia, Anel has a deep appreciation of the vastness of nature which echoes the vastness of humanity.  “I love to write about the complexity of our humanity and that which forms our very core identity.”

Anel has been married for 7 years and has one daughter.  The journey of being a wife and a mom has also inspired her to write about, and share, her own experiences.  She is currently working on her first book:  “10 Lies we believe about marriage.”

Visit her blog or follow her on social media.



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S.W. Biddulph

Scott Biddulph is a published writer, author, and poet from North Georgia. He began writing as a youngster and followed his lifelong dream of reaching people through the written word when he returned to The University of North Georgia in 2013 to finish earning his BA/English with a concentration on publication and creative writing. His publications include the following: an eBook, Apples of Gold: A collection of inspirational short stories and poems (Smashwords, 2010) and a paperback, Voices from the Heart, (Createspace, 2012). His poetry is published in Papers and Publications Undergraduate Research Journal. Vol 3 (2014) and the award-winning Chestatee Review (Spring, 2015), among other places (Check his LinkedIn profile for a full list of his publications). He is currently working on publishing poetry, creative non-fiction, academic essays, and his memoir. ******** Scott has also worked as an intern editor for the University of North Georgia Press. As a freelance editor, he has done the layout and design of several books and magazines. He is currently working with several authors on various publication projects in which he is either ghostwriting, editing manuscripts, or doing the layout and design of their books. ******** Finally, and most importantly, he is a father, grandfather, husband, and dedicated Harley Davidson rider. He and his family enjoy the beauty of the North Georgia Mountains where they live—especially their screened in back porch where they love to bird watch. ******** ~ "I love realism. I love writing about the raw, down-to-Earth, heartfelt realities of life. I love to write in a way that reaches into the human soul—to take the greatest pains and struggles in life, and make them a blessing to others. Fantasy is a wonderful, interesting thing—but real-life situations, feelings, fears, and dreams are an unexplored ocean of stories that need to be told." ~ ~Scott Biddulph~


  1. Anel, I couldn’t agree more that we need to allow ourselves to acknowledge, to feel, and to grieve a loss. Grief shouldn’t be a taboo topic. Your post is a refreshing read. I’m sorry your time with that special one was cut short on this side of heaven.
    Blessings ~ Wendy


    • Hi Wendy

      Thank you so much for your kind words. Yes, I often do think that people are not allowed space to feel and breathe through what they are feeling. It is such a shame, because I’ve so often seen that that grief turns into bitterness. And no one who lives with bitterness can truly be content…

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Hi Anel, I am so sorry for your loss.
    Your post so beautifully describes the essence of grief. It would seem as if it shouldn’t be difficult to breathe as that is a natural function of the body, however when one is in the midst of all consuming grief and loss, we do find ourselves suffocating instead.
    I am glad that you are finding your breath through your writing and I pray that this is the first of many healing breaths as you journey though your grief. My deepest condolences.


  3. Hi Anel, I am so sorry for your loss.
    Your post so beautifully describes the essence of grief. It would seem as if it shouldn’t be difficult to breathe as that is a natural function of the body, however when one is in the midst of grief and loss, it is indeed suffocating! I too, am learning to breathe in the midst of pain and grief and I am writing my way through my journey in my first book entitled “Breathe, Just Breathe.”
    I am glad that you are finding your breath through your writing and I pray that this is the first of many healing breaths as you journey though your grief.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hi!
      Thank you so much for your message. I know that your book will bring so much healing and relief…and ultimately add value to the lives of others. And that is after all, why we write 🙂 All the best to you.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Anel,
    I love the way you emphasize being honest with yourself. I think grief wants us to hide away and pretend…but when the truth comes forward and our tears drip down our faces it is then that the pain finds its release. Praying your release comes through your vulnerability. Thanks for opening your heart up.


    • Hi Michelle
      Thank you for your kind words. I have found that being honest with yourself, about everything, is just so liberating. I don’t know why we sometimes try to hide away from it. Even though it might hurt, it’s all for the best in the end.
      Thanks for sharing your thoughts 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  5. I went through the same thing so I can say I understand what you are going through although when others told me this I wanted to shout at them telling them they have no idea. Time heals and it is so true. It took me long time until I decided to try for another baby and I was scared all the time.
    We cope with pain differently. I worked and worked until I was so exhausted I forgot who I was. After that I started to feel and brake down and face the reality

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Anel,

    I am sure you will have several interpretation of this writing, each seeing it through their own filters. For me, you have captured the most realistic description of deep depression. This is an awesome description of the pain, directional loss, and the struggle to stay alive.

    You have several, but the following put me into tears. “It seems too difficult to breathe when you are struck down at the lowest part of yourself – when you are crouched under a heavy cloud of lead, which seems to infiltrate your very core.”

    During my previous periods of deep depression, I have described it as being in a barrel. It is dark, warm, protective, and you can watch the world go by without involvement. No one can touch you as long as you stay in your safe environment.

    Thank you for such a passionate and expressive piece of writing. I look forward to following more of your writing. God Bless.


    • Hi Chuck
      Thank you so much for your sincere opinion.
      To stay wrapped up in our pain is often so much easier than to take the courage to dive back into life. However, I do believe that we owe it to ourselves to fully live alive, and with God’s grace we are eventually able to face one day at a time 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  7. Good morning, Anel. I can’t imagine your loss.

    You have let us understand the process of grieving and what for you was a way to move through it. All of us have experienced something that we describe as a loss, including deaths. Yet, many do not know that grief is not a linear progression from A to B to C, and believe that they should be farther along in the process than they are. We do have to acknowledge the sorrow that we feel, and much like you write about, find ways to breathe.

    That image of overwhelming sadness, pain, and the longing to find a way to solace runs through your entire post.

    Thank you for describing your process so profoundly and offering hope for those just beginning.

    Liked by 3 people

    • Hi Marilyn
      Thank you so much for your kind words. It really has been a process, but I am so deeply thankful for God’s grace to allow me to breathe through this.
      Your words are very true…there is no A,B,C to getting through grief. You have to allow yourself space, to really feel it, and then slowly start working through it.
      I truly hope that my words will bring people to realize that they need to have grace with themselves, and that they cannot give up on everything around them. When you breathe into pain, healing will come.

      Liked by 2 people

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