I have seen it time and again when talking with someone who has been raped, sexually assaulted or abused...it's the person's silence that is WHAT'S slowly killing them. Same things with other issues: Grief or addiction...it seems almost a natural reaction to hold thoughts and feelings in, keeping them to ourselves. This might help avoid some embarrassment or just having to re-visit an unpleasant memory, thought or feeling.
Whatever the reason, people who are hurting, in my experience seem reluctant to want to talk about it. My experience has also lead me to believe that when someone begins to share, to communicate those pent up, repressed thoughts & feelings they usually find that in the end it is a positive experience.
It is still really hard, believe me, to talk about old hurts or heartaches. Doing so can be traumatic and I don't suggest this off-handedly. In some instances, depending on the person and the subject matter (say rape for example) talking with a professional therapist or psychologist would be my recommendation. I know from my own experience that it is impossible to know how one might react, even decades after the traumatic experience may have happened.
I also believe that it is just plain healthy emotionally to get to a place where it's comfortable being open and honest about what's on your mind or perhaps troubling you on a daily bases. Either to a trusted friend or in some cases, a therapist or counselor.
I'm not saying that I think we need to open our lives up to everybody, I would not recommend that either, I'm just saying I think it's healthier emotionally to get into the habit of talking or sharing with others. I've seen too many broken people suffer in silence and NOBODY knew, not even their closest friends. Some literally commit suicide and their family friends had no clue they were hurting until they read the suicide note, a diary or long forgotten journal.
Life is stressful, there is a lot of pressure and high expectations in our society. Even in a crowd, the world can be a big, lonely place for some. I think sharing brings us closer together.
Ultimately this connects well with my previous thoughts that relationships are what really matters in life. We have each other...when nothing else seems right, in the end we have one another to fall back on. All I'm saying is we need to take advantage of it, trust and rely on our friends...