Overcoming the Danger of Silence


There is a greater danger in remaining quiet about your traumatic experiences than there is in sharing them. One of the reasons many people feel inhibited about discussing such feelings with family, friends, and the general public is the fear that they will be stigmatized for doing so. Though we have made great progress over the years toward a more enlightened view of various forms of trauma, including mental illness, there still are powerful taboos against talking about it. We worry whether people will consider us “crazy” and think less of us, whether such candor can affect our relationships with family and friends, and whether it will affect our employment. So there remains a risk in being honest with people about such problems, but the danger in remaining quiet is far more insidious. That danger is to ourselves. Freud said that the first step to mental health is admitting you have a problem. The second step, I would say, is admitting it to other people. And the third part of that process is whether it will bring us a sense of catharsis, of healing. How did these three steps help me, and how successfull was I in them?