Telling Your Secret

keeping-your-secretFrom 40 years of “keeping my secret” I learned firsthand how much energy it takes to keep your secret. And the more research I do, the more I see written about self-disclosure and its benefits. I think it is one of the reasons science tells us that asthma and diabetes and a host of other physical problems arise when we are depressed. Clearly keeping your secret affects your quality of life.

But let’s take a reality check. Depending on where you work and the position you hold, disclosing your depression in the real world can keep you from promotions, projects, and the good will of management.

So here’s a suggestion:

If you decide to speak up and name your illness, disclose your mental health condition to a trusted friend. Someone you know who will not just listen to you, but also hear you.  And disclose only as much as the person listening can take in. In fact, tailor the information to the person you are talking to.

Finally, disclose only as much as you are comfortable disclosing. If the person asks questions that seem too invasive, you are under NO obligation to tell them more. Simply say, “I don’t need to go into details.”

Then see how that feels for a while before telling someone else.