Little white lies and the big confession

What was the greatest risk you took in 2013? What was the outcome?

The greatest risk I took this year was telling the truth.

Wow, it sounds terrible when I put it like that, and even worse seeing it in black and white. For years I had been trying to cover up just how bad my anxiety was.

My anxieties started around social situations and grew from there. Being too scared to face situations meant that I became very good at avoiding them, but with the avoidance came the lies. The little white lies about why I could never make the work Christmas meal, the terrible lie about why I didn’t make it to a friend’s wedding (I was dressed and ready, and then came the panic attack….), the daily lie of “I’m fine”.

I hated telling every single lie. Every lie I told was horrible, horrible for the receiver, but also horrible me. That sounds really selfish, let me explain. Every lie I told took me further and further away from being “me”.There was a huge gulf between the Amy I was trying to portray (although in hindsight perhaps I wasn’t as good at this as I thought) and the Amy who was hurting. I was living a lie, and the gulf was getting bigger and bigger. The bigger the gulf, the more frightening it got, the more lies needed to keep up the pretence. A vicious circle.

When I was at an all time low this summer, I was signed off from work. This was a tricky one, I couldn’t lie my way out of this. People say that what I did next was brave, courageous even, but I think it was because I was tired, tired of lying, tired of pretending to be someone else. So I posted on Facebook that I was struggling, and I posted it to everyone, no exceptions. I have written about it on this blog before but was prompted to write about it again for # reverb13. It was one of the best things I’ve ever done, it turns out that honesty really is the best policy. All those wasted years of lying. Perhaps I’m just lucky that I have such supportive friends? Perhaps it is coincidence that so many of these friends were fighting their own secret battles?

From now on I promise to tell the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. Except if you ask me how many chocolates I had from the tin.




12 thoughts on “Little white lies and the big confession

  1. A really poignant post. Painful to read because I see a lot of myself in your words, but also hope-filled and really positive. Funny how much energy we spend on pretending, and yet “coming out” about your pain, especially in such a public way helps so many.

    I’m sure there are lots of people taking comfort and strength from your words. Keep going, brave truth teller and hope-spreader x

  2. Thank you for writing with such honesty. Several of my family members suffer from anxiety, and I’m well familiar with social avoidance. It’s such a vicious cycle because one is left with less support and increased feelings of isolation and anxiety. Well done for reaching out and for inspiring others to do so too!

    1. Thank you for reading and commenting. It’s a horrible circle to be in because the more you avoid the smaller your comfort zone gets, but I’m trying to gently stretch it day by day. Best wishes to you and your family.

  3. Good for you for getting help for your anxiety! It’s one of the worst things a person can go through ( I have anxiety disorder myself, among other maladies). When you have anxiety, you live in your own little world of fear and your entire existence can seem like a lie.

  4. “The truth will set you free”

    Congratulations! It isn’t easy, but it is the best thing to do. Actually, it is the only thing to do.

      1. Aaay me too. I genuinely believe that it would save many lives. The action of telling and being told. Both help in the healing process.

      2. You have reminded me of something else that happened when I ‘fessed up. I thought I was doing it to try and make my life a little easier but people that I had no idea were struggling came and talked to me about how it had helped them, which in turn helped me. If only I had a magic wand so that people didnt feel the need to keep it a secret. The old analogy of not needing to hide a broken leg, no-one tells you to pull yourself together if you break a bone. But until that wand sppears, I guess we just gotta keep blogging and telling our story…

  5. I love this!
    The truth you are choosing to tell is the hardest one to face. But by sharing this vulnerability with those who have earned the right to hear it, you are making you are taking your quality of life and relationships to a whole new level.
    Props to you, Amy! x

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