The Possibility of Sharing Too Much and the Harm It Could Do

When we begin our journey into recovery, we are faced with an intimidating necessity: we have to share everything about ourselves and about our struggles. Whether it be with a therapist or a group of fellow patients, a large component of getting better is to lay it all out there for others to see. We have to expose ourselves, let ourselves be vulnerable, and that is not only terrifying but also one of the hardest things you have to do. We all feel shame in these situations, it’s only natural. We view ourselves as letting ourselves get to this point; there is a lot of blame that we feel for how things turn out. We understand that, and we know how difficult it is to swallow that shame and bring it all out for others to see. We fear judgment, even though the people we are sharing with are there to accept us. They will accept us. But that doesn’t make it any easier. 

You will get used to sharing throughout your process of recovery. As time goes on and you go through the steps, it will get easier to talk about your experiences and open up to those around you. It will become a comfort for you and a huge source of support for your recovery. It’s a beautiful thing, the way that we begin to trust others with ourselves and allow them to know everything we have to offer. Then there are the people outside of the process. 

Not Everyone Will Be Willing to Drop down into Vulnerability with You 

Our loved ones will naturally want to know about our experiences, what we are feeling at any given moment as we go through the process. They do this because they love us and we shouldn’t deny them that knowledge. As great as it may feel to have others like you to talk to, it’s also important to share your story with people who aren’t. But how much is too much for sharing with people? The unfortunate truth is that a lot of people are easily made to feel uncomfortable when faced with mental illness and addiction. It’s part of the way our world has stigmatized these things, and honestly, we can’t blame for it. As we’ve mentioned in previous articles, mental illness is not a tangible, physical thing; you can’t see someone’s depression the same way you can see a cut or bruise. If someone has a cold, you can see the physical symptoms and understand it. That’s not completely possible with mental illness, at least not to the same extent. We, as humans, will always fear what we can’t understand. So the discomfort is reasonable. That doesn’t mean we can’t, or shouldn’t, change it, but it does bring a sense of understanding to it. Share the simple things at first; let them dictate how deep into the issues you get. You can share just some of the basic emotions you feel about what’s going on, what you’re currently working on in your program, and so on and so forth. As you continue to share and they learn more and more about what is happening, they very well could begin to ask more questions. They love you and will want to know more about you. It’s important to trust them with this information and trust that they are continuing to ask because they want to be the best for you. You can help them understand that which they don’t, and therefore help them take out any fear they may feel. 

But knowing how much to share, and when, can go a long way for your own sake as well. If we continually focus on our issues and continually bring them up in conversation, not only can it alienate some people, but it can also lead you to feel defined by your struggles. It is important to us that that never happens. We want you to feel control over yourself and not feel like this issue is going to mar any idea or image of you. Remember that there is always more to you than just your illness and you can focus on other things when interacting with people. We don’t want you to feel like you can’t speak out about it; in fact, we always want you to speak out. But, we don’t want you to fall into the trap of defining yourself. It is entirely possible that we can fear being defined so much by others, that we try to beat them to it by talking about it enough that we start to believe in it. It’s a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy that we don’t realize is happening until it can be too late. 

We always want you to share your experiences, but we also need to understand the danger of sharing too much or too often. Not only for the sake of helping others to understand it more and help de-stigmatize it, but also for our own sake of not letting ourselves fall into our own definition by it. We have the power to change the way everyone, and ourselves, thinks about mental health. 

If you, or anyone you know, is struggling with addiction or mental illness, do not hesitate to contact the team here at True Recovery. Our program, founded in 2014, is built around finding what’s best for you to overcome your addiction. Our facility is located in Newport Beach, California, with our supportive housing located close to our campus in Costa Mesa. Take advantage of the local beaches, nature preserves, and Orange County community while we fight for you. Contact us at (866) 399-6528 or [email protected]