Friday, February 13, 2009

Revealing secrets

I've never been the type to reveal secrets but in instances where there might be harm. Okay, there was the one instance that my family never lets me down when I was very young and right before my mom opened her Christmas gift, I blurted out, "it's a blue shirt." But besides that, I don't reveal much. In this way, I've become the "keeper" of secrets, even my own.

Except for yesterday.


When I decided to head back to therapy this time around, I told C. I really wanted to be as honest with her as possible. It's not that I try to be dishonest in therapy, it's just that I'm too afraid to say some things. I find when I get into these moments, I have to remind myself that I really want C. to know this, because it gives her better insight about me. By not being honest, how can she truly help me?

While it's true that sometimes it takes me a awhile to actually tell her whatever thing it is I am fearing, I do eventually reveal my secret. At my last appointment several weeks ago, I told her one small detail (okay big detail) why I was afraid of going on a medication. As always, she told me she appreciated me telling her and hopes that I can let go of my "safety net."

Yesterday's appointment, something similar happened. It was a gradual building. First, I talked about my
blurred lines post, then about the babies post. The latter offered interesting discussion. In some ways, this was up C.'s alley, as women and pregnancies are one of her specializations. I told her how I had not ruled out the option to have children but was worried about passing on eating disorder genes. She understood all this and just said how the best you can do is be aware of it and if you see it, to intervene as quickly as possible.

Then I said, "Sometimes, I think if I had a child, it would...not necessarily make me more recovered but maybe...more normal."
C. replied with a simple "Yes, I think it would." This was a moment of direct eye contact, and it seemed we were both a little teary-eyed for a split second. It was quite a moving scene.

Then, she went on about how your focus is on something else other than yourself, etc. Later, she asked me whether I wanted to just have a child or have a male partner, husband, etc. My reply was I thought having some father, male figure would be nice.

C. asked, "so when are you going to open yourself up enough to have that?"

And then I found myself saying why I was this way.


So that's how it all went down. When I walked into yesterday's session, I had not planned on talking about this secret. Most times it is just left in my distant mind, though it still lurks, reminding me of shame once again.

Although I don't regret talking about my deepest, darkest secret with C. which only very few people know, it leaves me scared, panicked, exposed, and vulnerable. Of all my issues, this is the one left virtually untouched. I say virtually, because in the past when I have tried to get past this, I go into a state of panic, feeling frenetic, feeling like I must run, thinking how fat I am, thinking how I don't really need this food. In essence, it leaves me a mess and easily headed down the relapse path.

Therefore, I've neglected it for both intentional and unintentional reasons. Intentionally, I know it opens a can of worms. I know I'd hurt all over again. Unintentionally, being out of mind, made it not seem so real. It made it buried at least in some shallow grave. But really, that grave is so shallow that no amount of dirt would ever really cover it.

I'm not always for rehashing your history or dwelling on the past, but this is a subject that's whittled at me for more than a decade. It's an issue that hinders me from ever having the life I really want, the life I used to dream about. I realize how much I'm missing out on things, because there is an intense fear.

This secret has left me emotionally scarred, and I want to learn to let it go. I want to learn to move on. I want to know that I won't necessarily be hurt again. But most of all, I want to learn to forgive myself. This is where I falter. I may let the secret out, but then, I don't know what to do next except panic, like some scared animal. The panic may eventually subside, but yet again, the remnants of the secret remain and I'm still left with myself.

What do I do? Where do I begin? Where does it end? Someone, please tell me I really do have the strength and ability to get through this, that I need to get through this healthily, because right now, I'm fragile like glass.


Standing in the Rain said...

I don't know, except for I have to believe it DOES end at some point. Oh it's so scary I know, but you will get through this. Tomorrow the sun will rise again. Even through the anxiety and pain you are currently feeling, life continues.

I think telling the secret is the start of the healing, of letting go of shame and guilt, of becoming whole again. So good for you. I can hear your pain in this post, hang in there hon. It will get better!

Anonymous said...

Tiptoe I wish I had the answers. I really do. Far too many of us carry our secrets around, playing the "It's not that important" game, and knowing that it really is one of the things holding us in our ED. I have time and again pushed mine down, and not wanted to even so much as acknowledge them, but I think after everything else is said, it leaves only the real problems to talk about.

Lola x

Gaining Back My Life said...

Tiptoe, first, I had to chuckle about the sweater event. And how insightful of you to bring that in as a segue to your post.

Secrets keep us buried; I have many that I keep from my pDoc as I am still trying to project a certain 'image'. For what reason, I don't know. But I'm not doing myself any favors in doing so.

That being said, rehashing old events can be very harmful and even destructive, if your therapist does not handle it apporporiately.

However it sounds like you have a t who understands oain and trauma, and who may be able to help you overcome this area of your life once and for all. That's asking for alot of trust, I know.

But it sounds like you are working on the 'blurry lines' (boundaries) with her, and that might be just what you need to lay the groundwork to tackle the greater issue at hand.

Whatever you choose, you know we all ssupport and care for you.


kb said...


I think uncovering the secrets and letting yourself feel open, exposed and vulnerable IS a huge step towards fulfilling this hope, and it is courageous. Also, being able to open up in therapy and then deal with the aftermath of emotions always helped me to then discuss an issue more openly with other people.
Like others have said, we all carry around secrets, afraid to talk about them either for fear or for shame. Bringing them out into the open diminishes (hopefully) the shame attached.
I'm glad that C was so understanding - it's great to have those intimate moments in therapy.
Take care of yourself, Tiptoe.

- Kristina

(On another note, I did take the blog down, for now; but I might return to it soon)

Kim said...

This was a very moving post for me. I've often thought that a child would bring me out of myself, and I wonder how having a child for that reason can be NOT totally selfish? Anyway, I don't know if I'll be able to open myself up to that. There are so many fears and secrets. I agree with everyone here who says that the stuff we hide is what keeps us in our eds. I starve because I'm not communicating what's really going on inside. It sounds like you're doing a lot of soul-searching, getting to know what you want, and what secrets you need to release to get there. Just know that NOTHING is as shameful or dark or bad as it is in the confines of your ed. Your ed wants you to think you are terrible. You're not.

Tiptoe said...

Thank you all for this support during this difficult time for me.

You are all right that the secrets we hold keep us a prisoner inside our own walls, and by letting go, it is a step in healing and moving on.

I don't know what will happen. I guess I'm hoping C. will be able to help me figure this out, as it is not as easy as just read this book. Some therapists have mentioned this to me in the past. If things were that easy, then everyone should be cured by positive self-help books and the like.

I'll update every once in awhile how this progress goes. Again, thank you all.

Kyla said...

I wish I had answers too, but I don't. I am glad you opened up to C though. Since C knows the details, perhaps she can better help you?