I understand “painful existence”. When drowning in various addictions (food, alcohol, drugs), I was simply existing…not living. Temporary moments of fun, but very little joy. I was asking myself often, ” What is wrong with me?” I had to put it all down before I could connect with myself, with others, and actually start living!! I could not be “alive” until I stopped running from myself. This is my experience – I could not let go of my “painful existence” until I put crap down and was willing to go through versus running from.