Secrets Anonymous: Our Story

Suicide. Bullying. Depression & Anxiety. Abuse. Eating Disorders. Fatherlessness. You probably know someone, or you yourself have probably experienced one of these struggles. Where do you find hope in the midst? Terrence Talley, a friend of mine from University, has worked for the past 10 years as a motivational speaker in high schools spreading a message of love, hope and healing. When I heard he was going to be writing a book, sharing his story along with other stories relating to these tough challenges, I knew this was a project I wanted to support, and I can say I was SO impressed with this book. I have read it, and believe every teenager, every parent, and every person who works with teenagers should read this book and give a copy away! I have pulled out some of my favourite quotes from the chapters, just to give you a taste of what Terrence writes about. I also had the opportunity to interview Terrence, which you can find the link to at the end of this article. I am so grateful that Terrence is bringing to light these difficult topics, offering hope and healing to young people today!

Christina Lorentzson

Co-founder, Parental Legacy

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When we share our secret, give light to it, the secret changes into something else. It unites us and takes away the secret’s power. So do not let your heart be troubled, and do not be afraid, for when light shines upon a secret it becomes hope.
— Terrence Talley

In Secrets Anonymous, you will read Terrence’s personal story as well as messages and notes written to him from students across the country after they experienced a school assembly program that spreads the message that “You are loved” and “You are not alone.”

Below are a few excerpts about each topic, but you will want to buy the book to read all of it! You can pre-order Terrence’s book on Amazon here.

BULLYING

“We often talk about how people who hurt others are actually just scared or hurt on the inside, so they feel the need to take it out on other people to feel better about themselves.”

“So let’s drop the need to hurt each other when we are hurting on the inside. We are meant to live as a community, not as a bunch of individuals who are struggling just to get by. Stop fighting each other. Instead, fight against the darkness . . . together.”

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DEPRESSION & ANXIETY

“I thought I hid my sadness so well, but apparently, I didn’t. The doctor told me that because my brother’s suicide had traumatized me, it impacted the chemistry of my brain. I have to take pills every single day to keep me “even.” Why? Because I tried to hide my hurt. My darkness. I tried to handle an overwhelming situation by myself, and it ended up making things worse. Whether you’re diagnosed with something or not, don’t try to fight alone. The burden is too heavy, and you need help to carry it and take the pressure off of your shoulders.”

ABUSE

“Kids who have been physically abused have learned that, on some level, they are inferior… it does something to their self-confidence. A lot of times people don’t know that what is happening to them is something they don’t deserve.”

“If you’ve been abused, it’s okay to be angry. But you have to learn to let your anger go. Not only do you have to talk about the abuse, but then you should try to forgive that person.”

“Let’s be clear here. I’m not talking about forgetting about that person and pretending everything is okay. What I’m saying is, forgive that person in such a way that you’re saying, “I’m not going to let you hold onto my happiness any longer.””"

FAMILY MATTERS

“I had an unforgettable moment when someone close to the family was visiting us. He said, “Man, you’re the spitting image of Andrew!” He didn’t realize that Andrew was not my biological father. He just noticed that I shared Andrew’s responsible attitude. It was at that moment that I realized just how important fathers are—not because of your blood relation, but because of the relationship they create with you and the values they pass on to you. They shape who you become.”

“I know there are a lot of students in this world who don’t have an Andrew in their lives to tell them they are okay. They don’t have someone who will say to them, “Hey, you’re not a broken toy or a misfit. You are mine, and you are important.””

“That’s the reason I do what I’m doing today. I can’t be a dad to every single student I meet. But in the brief time I am with them, I can show them the love of a dad by giving them a hug.”

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ADDICTION

“They say that the first step to healing is asking for help. And I know that sounds corny, but it’s pretty much true. You can’t do it by yourself. It’s a burden to bear, and it helps to have someone to talk to, someone who has studied addiction and knows how it works better than anyone.”

BODY IMAGE

“The things that you do to your body today absolutely affect how your body functions later in life. It’s like the domino effect. Everything from blood circulation, to bone density, to throwing of electrolytes which can cause the heart to function improperly, to fertility, to the shutting down of organs. Your brain is an organ. Please. I know you feel out of control, but the impulse to control your body, sometimes as a punishment to others or yourself, won’t ever fill or fix the emotional desperation that you feel. Reach out. Trust someone. Don’t be ashamed, scared, or tied down to these feelings anymore.”

SELF-HARM

“When your brain tells you that you are in pain, it may not be thinking of physical pain. It may be a case of emotional pain, and your brain says you’ve got to get away from it. At this point, you start to make decisions that may not make rational sense. For instance, if you feel depressed or lonely, you will work out ways to ease the hurt. You might resort to creating more pain for yourself to get away from the other feelings. That’s why some people start cutting themselves— their physical pain may be a lot safer than their emotional pain.”

“The rational part of your brain has been shut down by all of the chemicals that have been pushed into it. To counter this, scientists and psychologists say you literally have to talk. Yup, TALK. Talking restores your chemicals to their normal levels.”

SUICIDE

“When you keep something in the dark, it breeds darkness. A lot of nasty demons grow in the dark, and it's the same for our emotional and mental health. If you stay cut off from the world, what are you breeding inside of yourself?”

“So what can you do if you think about taking your own life sometimes? Talk to somebody the minute that you realize you’re having those thoughts. Don’t struggle alone because your thoughts will only get darker. Get some help. They won’t think you’re crazy, they won’t think you’re nuts, and they won’t think you’re making a big deal out of nothing. Your feelings are real and valid, and they deserve to be heard.”

“The most wonderful thing you can do for someone who is expressing thoughts of suicide is to listen without judgment. Help them help themselves, and 
help them speak to a professional.”

MAKING FAMILY HAPPEN

“People, no matter their circumstance, need love and family, even if that family is a surrogate family for a short time. How can you help to make family happen for them, or at least point them in the right direction?”

Terrence interviewed with us at Parental Legacy, have a look here:

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Terrence Talley has traveled around the U.S. speaking at schools for over ten years as a motivational speaker. His passion for students and storytelling has led to countless students across the country being impacted, healed and changed. Husband to Courtney. Father to Gracie and CeCe. Movie lover. Comic book nerd and believer in hope. He releases his first book, Secrets Anonymous, on September 24, 2018. Pre-order Terrence’s book on Amazon here. You can find out more, connect with him, or book him for an assembly on his website. If you have a story you would like to share with Terrence, email him: terrence@terrencetalley.com.