Things I’m Afraid to Tell You

13 Jun

If there’s one thing I know for sure from the last year of blogging about mental illness and airing my dirty laundry for all to read, it’s that being vulnerable is a strength.  Every time I hit “post” and share something I’d rather hide, I get a little braver and shame loosens its grip.

I write about my anxiety, postpartum and antenatal depression, and postpartum OCD without filter.  But there are still things I don’t share about myself…out of fear of judgement, fear of being misunderstood, or just plain embarassement.

Well, today is the day I get brave.  Here are five things I’m afraid to tell you:

1. I’m an atheist.  My religious beliefs have evolved greatly over the years and include a 4-year stint of bible study and a Bible course in college.  Growing up in the south, admitting to being non-religious meant opening myself up to judgement and proselytizing by folks who meant well but just didn’t understand.  I am a good person with morals, no matter what my beliefs.  And my philosophies and beliefs about life and religion are a big part of who I am, just as organized religion is a big part of other’s lives.  People ask less up in the northeast which church you attend and the population is generally more diverse, but I still hold this truth close to my chest because I worry it will turn people off.

2. My temper sometimes gets the better of me.  In person, and surely here at Learned Happiness, I appear calm and introspective.  And I usually am.  But I have also punched a hold in the laundry room door out of anger.  I’ve ripped books, dumped a bottle of water on my husband while he was trying to sleep, and have thrown spaghetti across the room.  Thankfully, this rarely happens anymore – therapy and medication have helped me manage the anxiety  and OCD that lead to rage.  But it’s there, under the surface.  It’s like I’m the hulk.  A very petite one.

3. I’m a little afraid of the dark.  I *know* monsters aren’t real, and I don’t believe in ghosts, but I absolutely cannot hang my feet off the bed at night.  You know, just in case something tries to grab me by the toes.  And if I dare to be outside my house at night, which backs to up woods, I don’t walk…I run.  It’s kind of embarrassing, really.

4. My OCD manifests as intrusive thoughts like “what if the baby falls down the stairs” and “I could just leave her in the car and have the house to myself.”  I KNOW they are irrational and would NEVER act on them…in fact I’m always so horrified by them I think I am more careful with my kids than many parents…but it’s still hard to admit to them.  Some people don’t understand PPD & PPOCD and I worry they would think I was a bad mom for having these thoughts.

5. I shave my toes.  You know, when I actually get around to shaving.  Otherwise, I feel like I have hobbit feet.  I’m probably overreacting.  Let’s not find out.

Bonus Thing: I take antidepressant and anti anxiety pills every day.  Both are for the anxiety, so I tend to refer to them as my anxiety meds.  Part of me feels like people are less judgmental of anxiety medication than antidepressants, so I hide the antidepressant a bit.  And I hate when people call them “happy pills.”  For me, they are my “normal pills,” something I need to be myself, just as a diabetic needs their insulin.

So.  There you have it.  I have properly embarrassed myself and probably turned off a few readers at the same time, but I am bound and determined to live a life of vulnerability and connection.  And that means opening up.

I’m linking up with Farewell Stranger (whose blog layout and design I covet, by the way) today to be a part of a movement called Things I’m Afraid to Tell You.  What started as a simple honest blog post by Jess Constable of Make Under My Life has spread like wildfire thanks to Ez of Creature Comforts, even making news on the Huffington Post.  I am so grateful to be included and can’t wait to read the rest of the links!  Head on over and get reading!  There *should* be a linky widget thingy below (if I’ve managed to do it right, that is).


17 Responses to “Things I’m Afraid to Tell You”

  1. jamesandjax June 13, 2012 at 1:05 pm #

    I am LOVING this blog hop because I feel like I’m getting to know you ladies more–and coming to understand and appreciate your awesomeness even more than I already did (which was a lot)! I wish I had the time to write something up and join in to reciprocate. I have a lot in common with some of you who have written posts so far.

    Anywho, great post, Susan. You sure haven’t lost this reader by sharing some of the things you’ve been afraid to share. I’d like to point out, though, that today isn’t the day you got brave–you have been SO brave for as long as I’ve known you. xoxo

  2. Crystal June 13, 2012 at 1:06 pm #

    I shave my toes. I am afraid of the dark as well. Thanks for posting.

  3. Robin Farr June 13, 2012 at 4:12 pm #

    There is absolutely nothing embarrassing here. Just brave, honest truth. Thank you for sharing.

    As for #2, #3 and #5 – me too.

  4. Kristin Novotny (@littlemamajama) June 13, 2012 at 5:17 pm #

    I shave my toes too. I’m afraid of what could happen if I didn’t. 😉

    And yes – I hate it when people call them “happy pills,” too. They make me feel normal, thankyouverymuch.

    Love your post.

  5. Amber @Beyond Postpartum June 14, 2012 at 9:05 am #

    4/5. Hmmmm. Some of these things have become so much a part of the fabric of my life that I had forgotten that they were true at all. Thanks for sharing!

  6. DEW (@ABittersweet1) June 14, 2012 at 1:50 pm #

    Oh, girl. I’ve got the anger issues too. Flaming anger.
    I think one day I’ll go back to therapy, admit this anger to my therapist and get the proper help for it. One day.

    • learnedhappiness June 14, 2012 at 8:24 pm #

      My meds have helped so much. SOOOOO much. Before them I didn’t really know what it felt like to not overreact and lose my temper about stuff. Which is kind of scary.

  7. postpartumandpigtails June 14, 2012 at 2:45 pm #

    I also worried that people would think I was a bad mom or think differently about me because of having the intrusive thoughts. I still worry about it because some people really don’t understand still.

    I love the honesty of your post. I don’t think it is embarrassing because a lot of people have the same type of thoughts & feelings but we tend to keep them to ourselves.

    p.s. I shave my toes too 🙂 I didn’t know other people did this!

    • learnedhappiness June 14, 2012 at 8:23 pm #

      Isn’t that funny? I’ve had a bunch of people say they shave their toes, too! I think it might be time for a twitter poll! =D

  8. MelissaBL June 14, 2012 at 3:47 pm #

    Love your honesty. Love your writing. Love these revelations. I’ll defend your right to every one of them.

  9. Alison@Mama Wants This June 15, 2012 at 1:06 am #

    Nothing wrong with toe shaving 🙂

    I have thoughts too – like what ifs regarding the baby and the toddler. I would never act on them either, they’re just that, thoughts. Fleeting, and for the most part harmless, though sometimes they scare me.

    And I’m kinda angry too, sometimes. Angry enough to hit doors.

  10. Mirjam June 15, 2012 at 8:49 am #

    I did not read anything that was embarrassing. When I walk outside, I try to look as badass as possible and if that doesn’t work I run. And just in case I need to I have one more trick up my sleeve: act like a crazy person

  11. tranquilamama June 15, 2012 at 3:02 pm #

    Susan, #2 resonates with me so much. I am also a petite hulk. It’s amazing how much rage is contained in my short frame. Medication and exercise have helped me out a lot. I still hulk out from time to time, but it’s not nearly as bad.

  12. Lisa June 16, 2012 at 1:27 pm #

    Susan, I loved reading your post! Thanks so much for joining this round of TIATTY and thank you also so much for your sweet comment on my post! I can relate to so many of these: First off: I shave my toes!! (imagine this last sentence shouted in excitement!). For some strange reason I always thought I was the only woman with hair growing on her toes! And as you know by now, I’m not religious either. In general I’m mellow and self-reflective person, at times even too friendly. But I can have quite a temper too. Usually only witnessed by those closest to me (such as my mom, and my partner Dave), it doesn’t come out very often, but when I’m around my mother too much (which only happens on my annual visits to Germany) I can turn into the worst version of me! And yes, I take anti-anxiety meds, too – they’ve changed my life. I’m so glad we’ve connected!

    • learnedhappiness June 16, 2012 at 8:34 pm #

      I felt the same way about yours! I’m glad we linked up together! Looking forward to reading more!


  1. Helpful steps: Things I’m afraid to tell you… « A Write Relief… - June 19, 2012

    […] Learned Happiness […]

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