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.



Two Drops of Ink: The Literary Home for Collaborative Writing

More memoirs on Two Drops of Ink

Recent news about the site

“Like” Two Drops of Ink on Facebook

Our published contributors enjoy becoming a part of an established, award-winning blog. They gain exposure from our ever growing audience. In turn, we gain the audience that they bring with their writing. Join the Two Drops of Ink family. Read our submission guidelines and send us your submission.

We have more than 20 wonderful contributing authors who have been published on this site. Check out their bios. Read their work. Visit their sites. Check out our list of ‘Published Contributors.’

Sell your book from our page, ‘The Book Shelf


  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…

  2. Hi Anel.
    Thanks for sharing your story with us. You are amazing.
    My heart goes out to you and your loss.
    May God continue to inspire you.
    God bless you and keep on shining.

  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 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.

  4. 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.

    • 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.

  5. 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 🙂

  6. 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

    • Wow…that is so tough.
      I guess we come to a point where we try to forget about what happened, just to be able to move on. However, I don’t think we can move on until we have come to a sense of complete acceptance of what has happened.
      I am so sorry for your loss.
      All the best to you 🙂

  7. 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 🙂

  8. 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.

    • 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.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.