Back when I was manic last year, I talked a lot to everyone about everything. My mouth just wouldn’t stop moving in front of coworkers. My fingers wouldn’t stop typing in e-mails to new friends who soon knew more than my old friends knew about me. After I started treatment, this behavior persisted for quite some time. I got used to being open with everyone whether they’d earned that openness or not, and I’m still learning to build up relationships before dumping my personal issues on people. I must say, as a blogger this is hard because the whole concept of blogging involves sharing personal information with people I don’t even know.
I recently met a whole group of new people and I was doing a great job at keeping secrets and getting to know them on a superficial level first. There was one person in the group who did the exact opposite. On every one of our dinner outings she spoke in great detail about the loss of her job and a tragic death in the family. Her audience was slightly different each time, so I think I was the only one to hear this story over and over. It reached a point where it seemed like she couldn’t possibly be benefiting from telling this story again – like it was just keeping the wounds fresh.
I spoke about this to my therapist last week and she asked if this gave me some perspective on what oversharing felt like from the other side. I know why she asked this, and I know that she was absolutely not saying “See how it feels for me?”, but I got to wondering if it is possible to overshare in therapy. Intellectually I think it’s not. The whole purpose of going to a therapist is to have someone who must listen to whatever you need to discuss. Emotionally I’m feeling something quite different.
I’ve always had a rule that I’m honest with my therapist. I don’t lie to her and I don’t leave out anything that seems important, because it would be a waste of my time to talk to her if I did. That doesn’t mean I’m open with her though. I’ve been seeing her for a year and have yet to show any real emotion in front of her. I still go in and joke around and laugh even when the content of the conversation is serious. There was only one time the facade started to crack, and all that happened then is that I had to look away while saying that something was difficult for me.
There are things on my mind all the time that I feel like I can’t discuss in depth with her. I feel like she doesn’t want to hear them, like she’s steering me away from focusing on my thoughts and back to the DBT skills. Always the DBT. For example, when I came to her office for the first time after my overdose last year, I felt like she didn’t want me to discuss what had happened. I am still stuck on that event, especially on how much it bothers me that I can barely remember that day, and on how scared I was that they let me leave inpatient so soon afterward. But now it’s been 6 months and the time to bring it up has long passed.