Secrets Your Therapist Wants You to Know

Although my title is therapist, you can call me the secret keeper.

Complete strangers, who I see one hour a week, sit on my couch, look me in the eye and tell me all their secrets. Some secrets are scary and stubborn and don't want to leave. Others appear inconsequential to others, but are overwhelming to those who keep them. Some are good secrets, some are weird, some are cloaked in shame.

People come to my office and pay me to be the secret keeper. Some look me in the eye with pain, shame, sadness as they articulate, often for the first time, the words of the secret. Others laugh, smile nervously because that's how they've learned how to cope. There are those that lash out at me, angrily and defiant to cover the fear that swells underneath. But yet they come back. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year. The secret keeper doesn't judge. The secret keeper doesn't offer solutions or opinions unless asked. The secret keeper is there to keep the secret safe until they are ready to let go.

What I wish I could do, but I can't, is put people in touch with each other based on their secrets. The two people pleasers who are living parallel lives. The three women with eating disorders who think they are alone. The depressed and anxious who think no one else could understand. If they all knew that there was someone else, even just one other person, who shared the exact same secret, maybe it wouldn't need to be a secret. If they learned to trust others enough to be the first one to share the secret, then no one would have to be in pain. All alone.

I am a secret keeper but there are secrets that I want you to know. I want you to know that your body isn't repugnant. That you won't be depressed forever. That if you share your secrets with me a little while longer, you won't ask me to keep them for you all alone. The secret to feeling better is letting go of your secrets and speaking your words. The secret to being strong is allowing others to see you weak. The secret to success is knowing that it's okay to fail. The secret to loving yourself is accepting everything about you that is unacceptable.

I am a secret keeper, can you trust me with your secrets? Will you trust me when it's time to let them go?