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Our Secrets Keep Us Sick

By Reggie Smith

April 17, 2013

Growing older does not always translate into developing emotional maturity. I know that I learned how to interact with people in a way that avoided conflict. I did not want to hurt anyone else's feelings because I knew how it felt, and I also feared retaliation and then escalation. So I learned how to tell people only what I wanted them to know, and more often than not, I told them what I thought they wanted to hear. I'm a Libra, so I thought I was just being diplomatic, but it turns out I was actually living more like a spy! As a spy, I operated under the assumption that most people don't want (or need) the truth. In fact, most people can't handle the truth!

So, as I grew up, my relationship with "the truth" began to shape the public persona I used to interact with the world. In a sense, it was just like being a spy who creates a false identity in order to get something that they wanted. In my case, all I really wanted was love. In order to get it, I would lie and keep secrets to and from everyone, including myself. Unfortunately, like any good undercover agent who is in "deep cover" too long, I believed my own lies, and the secrets I kept about myself took an emotional and physical toll.

I guess hiding my addiction to sex, drugs and alcohol was advanced training for bigger secrets I would choose to keep later in life. Keeping secrets and living a lie is stressful, and we all know the dangers of stress. Ironically, the consequences of not being honest with myself fueled my addictive behavior, and ultimately manifest HIV and HEP C as a result. Then, I decided not to talk to anyone about HIV or HEP C for about 15 years! I was still acting like a spy gathering intelligence; watching and listening to the many ways that love was seemingly being overcome by fear. Finally, like in Dorothy and her crew in The Wiz, I got smart, stopped being afraid, and learned to love myself enough to "pay no attention to the man behind the curtain". In almost every instance, when I shared my secret with others I found that many, many people felt and thought just like me. I discovered my life has more love and peace when I live authentically.

The secrets we keep become stuck energy that gathers in the different rooms (chakras) in this wonderful mansion that the Creator has blessed us with. In time, that pent up energy can disrupt the flow of energy in the glands that produce the hormones, which in turn can create the disruption in one of the organs or systems the body needs in order to function properly. So in a very real way, our secrets make us sick. Our secrets don't only screw things up for us individually; they disrupt the flow of truth in the universe. Paradoxically, keeping secrets may hurt our chance to get the things we all seem to want; peace and love.

I'm not saying to tell the secrets of others with which you have been trusted. Nor am I suggesting the lack of discretion, because there's a difference between telling the truth, and being a damned fool or intentionally causing harm. I also know that the only way to really keep a secret s to not tell anyone, but most religions, counselors, psychiatrists, psychologists, and recovery programs provide a relatively safe way to relieve the stress and emotional burden of carrying all those secrets alone. We get one step closer to wellness, self-awareness, and the recovery of peace of mind when we clear out some of those skeletons we've got stashed in the closet. Your mission, 007, is to make a decision to try for the next 7 days to release a few secrets in the safest way possible and see how it feels. Feel free to share your feedback in the Comments section on this page, or on our Facebook page, RISE the Magazine.

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See Also's Just Diagnosed Resource Center
Telling Others You're HIV Positive
More Personal Accounts of HIV Disclosure


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RISE4WAR -- Focusing on Wellness, Awareness and Recovery

Reggie and Dionne Smith

Reggie and Dionne Smith

My name is Reggie Smith. My wife Dionne and I have lived with AIDS since 1984. I am HIV+, she is not. We have experienced the suffering of families affected by HIV. With the love and support of many, we have focused on sharing holistic healing solutions for the infected and affected in an effort to diminish the stigma and increase awareness about the unmet needs of U.S. families and surrounding HIV. You are most welcome to share with me here and at my website, ReggieSmith770.

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