Posted in Caregiving, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, overcoming adversity, Relationships

Releasing Your Secrets Can Be Your Gateway to Freedom!

We all have a vision of ourselves that serves to provide us an identity. Cooley, a noted sociologist, devised the “Looking Glass Self”. His theory says that we see ourselves from multiple angles. He believed we see ourselves in one way, then there are the ways others see us and finally how we perceive others see us. It’s like standing in the dressing room of a clothing store and seeing yourself from all angles. The amazing thing is that he didn’t account for the secrets we hold.

The releasing of secrets can be your path to freedom. If you look at those facing addictions; it’s the secrecy that holds them prisoner. Releasing the secret provides a path to recovery.   However there are times when the focus of our secrets is not connected to shame, but the belief that we’re sparing others from experiencing the same pain you are facing the diagnosis of a chronic or life-threating illness.

John Churton Collins, a British literary critic, said, “If we knew each others secrets, what comfort we would find.” The secret of pain or symptoms prevents those closest to us from feeling taxed, or at least that’s what you believe. You look around at all those who have been caring for you and you ask yourself, “Can I burden these loving and supportive folks with one more request?” However, keeping those secrets can seriously jeopardize your health.

I understand that you believe these secrets are protective of the relationships you have with caregivers, but the truth is these secrets strain the relationships. Caregivers are there to help and when you keep secrets about pain and suffering caregivers may experience a sense of guilt for not having the mindreading abilities of The Amazing Kreskin.

The other aspect of keeping secrets about your health is that you have the chance of having minor symptoms become a serious matter that could compromise your life. When facing a chronic or life-threatening illness symptoms are not minor. They are your body’s way of saying pay attention to me. They are the outward signs that you need to change the dialogue in your head to a dialogue with your medical team. Keeping secrets from your medical team can result in severe consequences.

The real question is, “Who are you really protecting when you don’t share your secrets of pain or symptoms?” In most cases you’re protecting you. Having these symptoms or pain means something is wrong and as long as you keep it a secret it doesn’t really exist or you believe these symptoms will pass if you give it time. Why are you willing to sacrifice your well being when sharing your symptoms can bring relief and actually cut-off further damage to your body.

Secrets are good when you’re trying to do something nice for someone like a birthday party, but when it comes to your health, secrets can be your demise. Seek freedom and release those secrets!

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I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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