We all have secrets, either our own or someone else’s. Some secrets are lovely things – a birthday present, for example – but others are destructive. As a child I was made to keep secrets, and the weight of them dragged me down. Nobody told me about good secrets and bad secrets, so all secrets became as big and scary as the secrets I was told to keep. Fear made me keep secrets, bad secrets, long after I should have spoken out and until I could scarcely function beneath them.
Secrets you don’t want to keep but have to because the fear is too great eat you up from the inside, they sneak into every aspect of your life and leave you with nowhere to turn. When I first entered therapy I spoke very little about anything that mattered, that was actually making me mentally unwell. Telling secrets was, sometimes still is, dangerous. Gradually I am learning what I can say in the safety of an appointment, although it still feels as if I am taking a huge risk.
But I’m getting better at seeing the secrets I kept for what they really are – ways to control and manipulate me, ways for others to protect themselves. And now I can say to those people: