Why I Lie!
Updated: Dec 21, 2020
I am often asked; "How are you doing today?" My typical response is, "I am fine." or "Things are good. Really busy but getting by." These responses are typically thoughtless as I really do not give much thought to my answer. My response to this question could actually be considered "automatic." If I were to actually consider my answer and give an honest appraisal, more often than not, my answer would be considerably different. In effect, I am consistently lying to those who are the closest to me. Those that actually care about me and can handle the truth. Those that actually already know that something is off and that I am not being straight with them. After giving some thought to this behavior, I have come to a few conclusions about my behavior. These are my top five reasons for lying, in no particular order.
Do not want to engage in a deep conversation for time reasons. I consider myself a very busy person. I have a lot of responsibility and many time pressures. My phone rings constantly, often more than 50 times a day. My time is pulled in many directions and I often add more on my plate which does not help. Taking time out of my day to really consider and express how I am truly feeling at any given moment could actually result in additional stress. Or so I tell myself. Honestly though, a conversation about my emotional state most of the time, is much more than a couple minute conversation. To really do this topic any justice, I would have to take some time to first consider how I am actually feeling. This is still not all that easy for me. Then I would have to find a way to communicate this in an accurate way. Seems like a lot to consider. Hence, "I am fine."
Fear of judgement. One would think, that a person that has accomplished as much as I have in my first five years of sobriety, would not even have to think twice that someone is judging them. Thinking rationally, I have taken every barrier, every no, every doubt and every judgement and pushed through, following my passion in fulfilment of my vision and dreams. If I would have listened to all the naysayers and negative opinions in the past five years, there is no chance I would be where I am today. Given this information, why then do I often self-doubt, fear others, mind read and personalize? The simple answer to this is two-fold. First, I am still in early recovery. The first five years are considered early recovery and a time of stabilization and awareness. I may be much more aware however, the thought of being stable brings me a little chuckle as this is hardly how I would describe myself. Second, I am still in early recovery and my life is so out of balance that my stress levels prevent me from thinking rationally. A little self-care goes a long way to address this fear.
Fear of vulnerability. I really do place authenticity very high in character traits that I try to adhere to and that I admire. I do my best to just be myself, in spite of what others may think, or their judgements. Even though I often fear judgement, I fight through and act authentically anyways. In most cases I am rewarded with genuine relationships and a level of mutual trust that I have never experienced in my life. That being said, this trust does not extend to everyone. I still consider myself fairly guarded, especially to those people that have not struggled with addictions. For reasons seemingly obvious to other addicts, I find it quite difficult to be vulnerable, express my emotions and share my true feelings or opinions to those that do not have a personal experience with addiction. I have faced this fear many times and I have always gotten through it. I have experienced many "vulnerability hangovers" and feel I have grown from every experience.
I don't really know how I feel. Emotional intelligence is most certainly not my strong suit. Emotional intelligence requires two two attributes that I really struggle with, being present and self-awareness. As someone that struggles with ADHD, often unmedicated, I find it very difficult to stay in the moment. My mind is typically in hyperdrive, bouncing from one amazing thought to another. It takes a real concerted effort to stay on task and regulate my thoughts. Complicating matters further is the fact that my mind has a way of shifting away from those things that are difficult and uncomfortable, life my emotional state. As such, self-awareness is one quality that I really struggle with even today. A mental scan of my body, starting at the head, typically results in thoughts about my drive to work, by the time I reach my neck. As I struggle to work down to my feet, my emotional state can often change about three times in the one minute that it took to do a simple meditative task. The result of this is a clear lack of emotional awareness, in self and in general.
I don't want to burden you. As a person that preaches that asking for help is the answer to the vast majority of our struggles, I still find it difficult to reach out. "I can figure this out. They do not really want to hear about my issues." I can quickly believe my own lies and fall victim to my own pity party. Given the amazing supports I have surrounded myself with, there is absolutely no reason why these words should ever cross my mind. I know at least a dozen people that would drop everything if they had to in order to attend to my mental health crisis. This number is likely four times this much but heaven forbid I ever reached out this far beyond my inner circle. And I am confident that none of these supports would ever consider me reaching out as a burden to them. I know from personal experience, people that reach out to me for support allows me a chance to give back. I feel good when I am given the opportunity to support someone else. It makes me feel so good in fact that my passion is actually helping others that struggle with addiction and mental health issues. If supporting others was that much of a burden, I am sure I would not do it for a living and neither would the millions of others in the world in helping professions. It is time for me to start listening to the advice that I give others rather than my own mental BS.
Today I am feeling optimistic about my commitment to change my "I am fine" behavior. Moving forward, I am committing to share what I am feeling and test the response waters. If for any reason I am not aware of how I am feeling, my response will be I will get back to you and then actually follow through with this action. It is time for me to start living the program that I suggest others to live. I can no longer sit by and watch my mental health take a beating, all along remaining silent. I do not want to be a bystander in my own life, simply waiting for the point of crisis to occur and then hope for the best. Taking action today will avert a major crisis down the road. It is time I start living my best authentic life in all areas.