Over the last several months, I’ve begun to understand the difference between being private and keeping secrets. I think I imagined they were the same thing. As someone who grew up in a world filled with dark, terrible secrets, I have been hesitant in adulthood to hide my truth. I figured I’d spent enough time concealing my own reality, and doing a lot of damage in that process, to never need to hold back again.
And I still think that’s true. My story is mine to tell, in whatever way I please.
But as for the privacy – I’ve started to grow a modest appreciation for being more selective in regards to how and when I share certain information, particularly as it relates to my healing process. I have enjoyed writing this blog, especially the interaction with my readers. I think I’ll always miss that component, and will likely continue to be active in the comments sections on other sites for this reason.
But, for now, and for the foreseeable future, I am not going to blog about my own therapeutic experiences anymore.
I recently read a post written by a therapist. In it, she talks about the importance of doing the work around therapy within the actual therapeutic space. A year or more ago, I definitely would have balked at this and felt angry or irritated by the suggestion that I shouldn’t share my therapy experiences with others. But now I think I understand much better.
The specific example she gave in her post was around ruptures, or underlying difficult emotions in the therapeutic relationship. If, for example, I become angry with my therapist and don’t bring that into session, but rather come home and rant about it to my spouse or friends (or on my blog), I am preventing those emotions (and the possible work around them) from coming into the sessions themselves. Not entirely, of course, because I always bring that process back into session in the long run. But I can see how having the more immediate or raw emotional responses available right within the therapeutic space can be quite valuable.
Having put this into practice over the last month or so, I can really see the difference. Although it’s been tempting at times to come home from session and write out all my intense reactions on here, I didn’t. Instead, I held them for myself, did some light writing or debriefing alone, and then brought it right back to my therapist.
The result is that I’m able to be much more present with my experiences as they are happening and I’m also able to experience more authentic “live-action” responses while in the presence of my therapist. It is, of course, far more vulnerable and risky than my previous approach to therapy, but the payoff has been worth it. I overall feel much closer and more collaborative with my therapist than I can ever remember feeling.
I’ve also seen this trickle over into my other relationships. I recently received unexpected contact from my biological family via mail. It was shocking and upsetting to get this package out of nowhere. I immediately wanted to sit down and blog about, writing out each and every words my parents wrote to me (there were several letters).
Instead, however, I took the package itself to therapy. The first session I just talked about getting the package and feeling very violated by their intrusiveness. That night, I reached out to my best friend to tell her what happened. I also spoke with my cousin/”sister” and my wife about the whole ordeal. Then, gradually over the next week my therapist and I went through the letters together one by one.
Then I went to dinner with two very close friends. I asked for their permission to read the letters to them in person. These are individuals that read this blog, so historically I likely would have just posted about all of this on here, assume they read about it, alluded to it in-person and hoped to have some sort of discussion about it.
Instead, however, I had to actually reach out to them and ask if I could be incredibly vulnerable. They agreed and I read every single letter to them. It was a much more fulfilling and beautiful experience to share with them in person, having explicitly asked for their love and support, than to go about it the peripheral, removed manner in which I would’ve done previously.
The point is, not blogging has forced me to get much better at reaching out and making meaningful, authentic connections. It’s allowed me to have deep and vulnerable conversations in person, in a way that feels more mutual and connected. And it has brought a level of richness and authenticity to my therapy that has been very beneficial to me.
It feels good to be in this space. I think I spent most of my early life screaming out, desperately hoping someone would hear me. I think this new method of scaling back my disclosures and being a more private person is indicative that for the first time in my life, I truly do feel heard.
I can finally stop screaming.