Honesty is a foundation of recovery from anxiety or any mental illness. If you cannot be honest with yourself or your support systems, your recovery is put in great risk.
I believe secrets keep you sick. I have found this to be true time and time again. When I keep my secrets and am not honest about what I’m hiding, my symptoms are worse. I find it next to impossible to move forward in my life and recovery.
However, when I am open with the appropriate people in my life and honest with myself, I have the freedom to improve and move forward. Anxiety, however, plays a large role in honesty and secret keeping.
Sometimes anxiety can be the reason we are keeping secrets hidden or hesitate to be honest.
The fear of others’ reactions to our secrets can be a source of great anxiety and lead to our continuing secrecy. The very act of keeping secrets can be anxiety-provoking but so can the thought of telling them. This becomes a vicious cycle. It can lead to a constant state of anxiety.
Little can be done to relieve it until a firm decision is made to be honest and the act is carried out.
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It is important to recognize who is in your life to help keep you accountable.
This is your support system. Your treatment team should, of course, be a part of this if you have one, but it should also include outside supports such as family and friends.
The very act of being honest is a vulnerable moment that is extremely anxiety-provoking. It is important to pick out people who do not shame you or pass judgement on you when you share your secrets. This way, when you are honest, you can move forward and grow knowing honesty has led to something positive rather than negative. Thus hopefully lessening the anxious reaction in the future.
While your anxiety may lessen with time and experience, it also may not.
As is the case with anxiety disorders there may always be an underlying sense of anxiety that is hard or impossible to be rid of. In the case of honesty and secrets, we have to learn how to balance this uncomfortable feeling with the other uncomfortable feeling of letting people in.
I previously mentioned I believe secrets keep you sick. When I am keeping secrets I may engage in self-harm, restriction, or other self-destructive behaviors to manage the anxiety I feel.
I engage in my sickness to escape what I am feeling from hiding my secrets when in reality the only way to feel true relief is to tell my secrets. In most cases, honesty is not comfortable or easy. But neither is struggling with anxiety.
Honesty is worth it.
It allows you to move forward in your recovery and in your life. It may make you closer to those you are honest with and help you move toward wellness.
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