All I Want

By Stephanie K

I have a severe phobia of secrecy. Any time information is deliberately kept hidden, for any reason, whether by a real person or a fictional character, it can cause me to have a serious emotional reaction. So many times I have tried to understand why I have this issue and what caused it, all to no avail.

When telling others about my fears, I have always heard “It’s not a secret, it’s just…” “You’re so nosy” “If it were you, you’d want to keep the info to yourself just the same” and logical explanations of the situation where information is hidden. It’s about as helpful as explaining the laws of gravity to someone who dropped a bowling ball on their foot. I feel alienated, guilty, and misunderstood.

The effects this phobia has had on me are significant. I have self-harmed after hearing that someone couldn’t tell me something for some reason. I have had panic attacks and emotional breakdowns severe enough to make me have to leave work early. I have struggled with intrusive thoughts. I have been stuck in depressive episodes for hours or even days at a time. I have felt my body suddenly stop and seem to grow cold. I have seen my interests in things I love slip away from me. I get very nervous when asking certain questions. Even individual words or images can cause me problems.

All I want from others is a level of understanding I’ve never seen before. I don’t want to hear explanations as to why the information can’t be given. I want people to acknowledge that it’s a mental condition and respond with compassion – they don’t even have to give me any information in question. I want encouragement to overcome this phobia. That way, I can see it for what it is rather than feel like I’m just being inconsiderate and nosy. I would like the pain to stop. I wish to be free of this debilitating fear.

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