Hiding in Plain Sight

I’m stealthy. I’ve always been good at keeping secrets — hiding things. I hid my feelings of guilt and shame about my father’s suicide when I was a kid by telling people all about it as soon as I got comfortable with them. If I told them the story quickly, and without a lot of feelings, then they would think I was over it — that I’d made peace with it. I told people that it was something that had happened, matter of factly, like it was as insignificant as what I’d had for breakfast.

I kept the fact that I was smoking hidden from my mother for five years. It was easy since I was in college and rarely home. When I was home for the summer, I made sure that I had a restaurant job that required me to work nights so that I could sleep late, leave the house early, and start work just before the dinner rush. That made it easy to conceal things, like smoking — and drinking. I told her that the reason my clothes stunk was because my roommate, Geoff, was a smoker — that was true, but it was only part of the truth.

I’ve been writing these gratitude posts for a little over a month. It’s a solid practice and it has helped me immensely. But it’s also a cover-up. If you read my gratitude posts it looks like I’ve got the world by the tail. If I don’t write about the challenges that I am facing, then you can’t know about them. And the truth is that things are fucking challenging right now. Just as challenging as they were back in November when I wrote this post.

I’m not sleeping well — waking up in the early morning and sometimes not being able to get back to sleep. I’m sometimes waking up because of dreams, sometimes because I’m in a cold sweat, and sometimes because I’ve been grinding my teeth so hard that the pain wakes me. I have been walking through life gritting my teeth subconsciously. I go to bed every night with aching teeth.

I started taking a beta blocker last week to try to help with the anxiety. Some days it seems to be helping. Others not so much.

At my last therapy appointment, I put on such a good act that my therapist said, “things seem to be going really well.” And I agreed with her. But it wasn’t conscious deceit. I didn’t even realize I was doing it. I was actually convinced the things really were going well. It was only after a few days that I realized I had been hiding this so well.

Sometimes, just putting my truth out there is what I need to do. It’s not always pretty. Sometimes it’s messy, because life is messy and sometimes not pretty.

5 responses to “Hiding in Plain Sight”

  1. Hi Brother,
    Richard Roher wrote a book called
    “ Both And”
    We are more then the some of our parts .
    From what it can tell, there is no getting there except to go through it. It’ dirty and joyous!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Putting my truth out there always relieves a bit of the burden.
    I’m so sorry about your father. That must be a heavy thing to carry.

    I take cymbalta for my anxiety. It works extremely well and I have no side effects. I also take 300 mg mag citrate before bed. It helps with falling and staying asleep and muscle relaxation. It also keeps you regular, lol.

    I wear my night guard every night. My own teeth clenching gives me morning headaches otherwise, and I have a few cracked teeth. You can’t hide the stress….

    Thank you for sharing this. I believe the true miracle is finding the strength to share the burden, so we know we aren’t alone.

    My yoga teacher always says, if it wasn’t this, it would be something else. So you might as well deal with this. That though sustains me when things are not how I want them to be.

    In fact, I believe this will be my word for 2021.

    Stillness and peace

    Liked by 2 people

    • Cymbalta has been a miracle for me. I’ve been taking it for 15 years for depression. I added a beta blocker to the mix to help with the extra anxiety recently. As a side benefit it is also helping reduce my blood pressure.

      Liked by 2 people

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