Day 59: Telling Someone in Real Life - Mistake?
I have been contemplating for the last few weeks telling a co-worker about my situation. This is the co-worker who works in the same office suite as me. We are on the same team and spend a whole lot of time together. This is the co-worker who saw me struggling before and after the gynecologist consultation. She asked what was going on with me.
It's very hard for me to successfully, completely conceal my reactions. Try as I might, I lose my focus sometimes when I'm at work, on days when anxiety has got a hold of me. It's only happened twice, but she has seen it.
My inability to conceal my reactions has made me want to give an explanation. She cares about me and I don't want her to worry. I don't want her to make up her own story in her mind about what might be going on with me. And, I don't want her talking to other people to see if they know anything. I wanted to nip that in the bud. The more I thought about the possibility, the more worried I became about the rumor mill. Eventually, multiple people might become sufficiently curious to ask me, and then what?
In addition to these worries, I have wondered if it's possible she could become a friend. That's difficult because right now she reports to me. That's not going to be the case for more than about a year. But, I didn't want to create any confusion in our work relationship.
When she asked me what was going on with me I let her know there was something in my personal life that was difficult. We talked then about issues involved with sharing personal information in light of our work relationship. At the end of that conversation I had a sense that there was not likely to be a problem, and we could work through any issues that came up.
I have been pondering all of this ever since.
Today, I was feeling the reality of this upcoming gynecologic exam appointment. I was becoming aware that it will be a bigger issue with each passing day between now and then. My anxiety next week could be more pronounced than it was with the consultation appointment. If so, she is sure to notice. She might not ask. But, she could worry about me. She might want to help but not know whether or not to offer.
That could create tension since I would be trying to hide my reactions and she would be trying to navigate around me. She's very caring and it would be stressful to her, I'm sure. I decided today that it would be best if I told her. If for some reason I have a very bad reaction to the appointment, someone will know to check on me. If I don't show up afterward, someone will know to look for me. I didn't say any of this to her. It was just what was in my head when I decided to tell her.
We had a 30 minute time window when we were off site running an errand. I told her I was ready to let her know what's going on with me. I gave her a chance to consider if she wanted to know. She said she did. So, I gave her a 2-minute synopsis. I told her I have the gynecologic exam appointment this Thursday and would be more anxious in the next few days.
She was surprised and obviously saddened by what I told her. We talked about it for about 15 minutes and then went back to work.
I only told her about the doctor rape, not the childhood rape. It was just too much to say. I can't quite say out loud yet everything that happened to me. So far the closest I have come to that is to write it all out and to give a list to my therapist.
I was glad to get this off my chest today. It does feel sometimes like I'm carrying a secret. But, I don't know that it's really a secret. It's more, perhaps, just personal information. I suppose when others can see the affects of it, then it feels to me more like a secret.
I don't know if I made the right decision in telling her. I don't know how to know if it was the right decision. Is it a mistake depending on how she handles this information? Is it not a mistake if she responds in ways that are safe for me?
In other words, is this simply an ends-justify-the-means situation?
I don't really believe that. I think there are parameters for determining if it was the right thing to do. I just don't know what they are.