Jason is a longtime client of mine, though he is quick to tell me that he’s really not like all my other clients because “I don’t have a dual diagnosis”. The truth is, Jason has been diagnosed with both Substance/Alcohol Use Disorder and Major Depressive Disorder and he knows it. Though we have accomplished a lot in our 14 months together, he still has a need to set himself apart from the other people with whom I work by expressing that he is “not like those other people.”
When we take it down to the barest elements, Jason is being dishonest in that situation in order to compensate for some unaddressed trauma from his past. While it is important to deal with such things at a pace with which we are comfortable, there will come a time when Jason and I will have to have a conversation about it in order to get to the trauma the dishonesty is hiding.
One of the things Jason and I have been working closely on has to do with his misuse of legally-prescribed medications. After several months in a tailspin of depression and substance overuse, he asked for my help with medication management and monitoring. That was a big step for someone who prefers to be incredibly private, but through that process we have made a lot of progress. Jason is still not completely honest with his medical and mental health providers, but he’s making steps in that direction.
Though it seems minor and personal and inconsequential, not taking medication as it is prescribed is a form of dishonesty, even if you’re just lying to yourself. If you allow yourself to be dishonest about even the smallest thing, you might not be opening the door but you’re sure leaving that door unlocked. The next time something comes up and you’re a little dishonest about that, it’s like twisting the doorknob. Before you know it, you’re waking up on the other side of the door without any memory of how you got there.
There’s more to dishonesty than being a pathological liar. If you want to heal and grow, you need to embrace radical honesty – starting with yourself.
Never forget that I love you, and that excludes no one.