Privacy vs. Secrecy

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.

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14 thoughts on “Privacy vs. Secrecy

  1. Paper Doll says:

    Andi, this is incredibly beautiful and vulnerable and inspiring. I wish you all the best. I hope to see you around still, as your insights are most welcome and helpful, but I simultaneously applaud your decision.

    I hope to feel strong enough to do the same one day. All the best wherever life takes you and whatever you choose. Xx PD

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  2. dangerousvoyager says:

    Hi Andi,

    I started reading your blog just as you were slowing down on your posting in the last few months, and part of me is sorry that I won’t get to follow your story in the same way any more.

    My first reaction to this post was jealousy, I guess at your being at a place in your life where this change feels right for you. I’m still at a point where there is just so much I need to say that has never been listened to that it can’t be contained within the limited time available for therapy and it just pours out of me in writing between sessions.

    But I’m very interested to watch other people change and grow and demonstrate that things can get better, and that ways of dealing with things and interacting with people are not static or fixed. It gives me hope.

    Thank you very much for your blog. I hope you will post on the odd occasion in the future, just to satisfy curiosity as to how you are doing.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Lemonbella says:

    So lovely to hear you have got to this space. I stumbled on your blog just as I was starting therapy myself and i just wanted to say thank you for the comfort it brought me (even just the title…. ‘fumbling through’….) and thus the strength to carry on fumbling through myself.

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  4. Amanda C says:

    I think that is why I stopped blogging in recent months, too. In a way, I used it as a coping mechanism (hey, I’ll tell the whole world and their mom about what I’m struggling with… anyone BUT my therapist) But in recent months, I’ve found it incredibly beneficial to engage in life and relationships themselves directly. Although another reason for the lack of posts is that I haven’t NEEDED to be in therapy for the past few months either.
    I’d venture to say all this shows growth and change from the therapy process itself. Like everyone here, I’ll miss reading more of your blog posts, but I wish you the best of luck in your therapy journey! ❤❤

    Liked by 1 person

  5. La Quemada says:

    I’ve been reading your blog for 20 months, ever since I first started blogging, and I’ve always found so much value both in your posts and in your comments. Thank you for everything you have shared. I’m thrilled for you that you feel able to carry your true, vulnerable self off the screen and into safe places in “real” life. That sounds like such a healthy place to be. Know that we will still be here if at some point you feel like posting. xxoo

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  6. Blooming Lily says:

    This sounds like a wonderful place to be, emotionally, and I am so glad for you (though like the others, I will miss your posts!). I hope you will keep us updated (in a general way) but of course you have no obligation to do so, and I’m glad to hear you’ll still be around the blog-o-sphere.
    I really appreciated this post, because it made me think about my blog, how I use blogging, etc. And in the end, I’ve determined that right now, blogging is still a very healthy thing for me. I’m still at a place where I simply don’t know how I’m feeling in the moment, but writing it down later gives me more awareness and insight, which I can then carry into future present moments. I am hopeful that someday, I will also reach the place you’ve reached, where blogging is no longer necessary.
    Lots of warmth and light to you, and best of luck in this new chapter! 🙂 xx

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  7. Rachel says:

    I am so touched reading this post, Andi, because I hear your capacity for holding your experience. And from where you started this blog from, and where you are now, wow. You have been working so hard, and here you are. Holding yourself, holding all the parts, opening to vulnerability in relationships and allowing yourself to be seen. You are seen and heard, and letting yourself be seen and heard. Well done my friend.

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  8. alicewithptsd says:

    Andi, I’m glad you can finally stop screaming. I’m glad to read you are doing good, and feeling more connected and supported in life. I wish you all the best, and I hope we still see you around here sometimes. Xx

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  9. S says:

    This is beautiful. And what tremendous growth since the start of your blog! I am deeply glad for you to have reached this stage. I’ll of course miss your posts but will be thinking of you and wishing you continued growth, clarity and connection.

    Like

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