Trained psychoanalytically, I am primed not to ask what is true but what things mean. That doesn’t suggest that truth is unimportant, but it does say that fantasies and wishes carry their own significant messages. But this perspective depends on listening to a person, in person. It depends on getting to know that person’s life history, his or her struggles with family, friendship, sexuality, and loss. On the Internet, I feel unaccustomed desire to know if someone is telling “the truth.”
A good therapy helps you develop a sense of irony about your life so that when you start to repeat old and unhelpful patterns, something within you says, “There you go again; let’s call this to a hal. You can do something different.” Often the first step toward doing something different is developing the capacity to not act, to stay still and reflect. Online confession keeps you moving. You’ve done your job. You’ve gotten your story out. You’re ready for your responses. We did not need the invention of online confessional sites to keep us busy with ways to externalize our problems instead of looking at them. But among all of its bounties, here the Internet has given us a new way not to think.