In context, I am looking for a word that refers to something that is in our way and inevitable, a conundrum. The sentence runs "It was there where I survived the greatest obstacle we will ever know. It was there where I survived myself." Obstacle doesn't follow the flow of the rest of the literary style. I want to make the work personable, relatable, and inclusive. I've considered "enemy" and "darkness," but again I want something broad enough to relate to every perception. Just a single word that could convey to anyone that THING that we've all had to overcome. Everyone sweats, what makes them sweat?

  • We don't usually give writing advice on the site. But have you tried looking for synonyms of "obstacle" in a thesaurus? – WS2 Sep 26 '18 at 16:24
  • Have you considered albatross? bane? – bookmanu Sep 26 '18 at 16:26
  • A trial is a test you need to pass to continue on your journey, generally speaking. – Zebrafish Sep 26 '18 at 17:42
  • @WS2 I have used the thesaurus. It isn't necessarily writing advice. I am unable to express this concept with a single word due to my limited command of the English language, which is why I seek guidance. – Abellonium Sep 26 '18 at 19:04
  • @bookmanu I like bane. – Abellonium Sep 26 '18 at 19:04


From Collins:

(noun) a demanding or stimulating situation, career, object, etc

"Challenge" has slightly more positive connotations than "obstacle" these days.

In your example:

"It was there where I survived the greatest challenge we will ever know. It was there where I survived myself.

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  • I like challenge. And it is definitely a positive connotation as of late. But challenges could be seen as avoidable, maybe even by interpretation. Ex. Exercise could be a challenge, while some refuse to label it as such others just avoid the whole thing together. What is not avoidable is the consequences of either extremes of exercise. One must exercise in between "too much" and not at all. Bane was suggested to me. I like it because it expresses something we all hold as an obstacle, yet is unavoidable. Regardless thank you! – Abellonium Sep 26 '18 at 19:23

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