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"I don't want to talk about it."

I've found that almost always the most sure sign I need to talk about something is when I really, really, really don't want to talk about it.

When I was a kid, my family went through a number of transitions. Throughout them, my dad was pretty much an asshole. At one point, my mom said to me, "Things that happen in the family need to stay in the family." No, my family was not part of the mafia, but we were in a religious cult, which it turns out is not always that much different. Much later, as an adult, I realized that she had a very different safety concern in her mind when she said that than what I knew as a kid. But, nevertheless, I internalized the lesson that I was never allowed to talk about my dad being an asshole or it would bring shame to the family.

I've seen this message especially, interestingly, in businesses. Employees get told surprisingly often that they shouldn't talk about their disabilities, or their problems with bullying co-workers. They are afraid that if they report their boss checking them out or touching them inappropriately, they will be fired.

When suicidal thoughts come up, we think it will bring shame to talk about them with other people.

When our boyfriends act differently than what we show on Instagram, we are too embarrassed to talk about it.

Here's the thing: "I don't want to talk about it" is just a brain glitch. It's just a sentence in your mind. And not an incredibly helpful one if it is protecting very painful thoughts.

The quickest, easiest way to get relief from shame and embarrassment, even to get relief from suicidal thoughts, is to talk about them. When you show them in the light of day, they lose their power pretty quickly.

If you are not comfortable talking about them yet, one first step is writing them down. Then, write down the opposite thought and see if there is any evidence for that.

Love to you all day long!

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