Keeping secrets causes emotional distress depending on its nature and sensitivity. It can trigger depression, anxiety, and poor overall personal health. To maintain secrecy, it must be on constant guard not to wittingly or unwittingly reveal itself, which causes stress. For example, if a person cheats on a significant other, they might feel guilt and shame. A secret that instills guilt or shame is more likely to infringe on a person’s recurring thoughts.Why Keeping Secrets Heightens Anxiety and Depression | Psychology Today
This constant vigilance creates a secrecy spiral. When the secret comes into the consciousness, the person must repress it, and the guilt or shame accompanies the clandestine memory. The secret keeper must reassert thought repression to avoid revealing the secret or experiencing a reoccurrence of guilt or shame. The secret must be put under constant surveillance to prevent inadvertent disclosure. Inevitably, the thought of the secret will re-emerge, activating the ever-tightening secrecy spiral, increasing anxiety and stress.