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.