17 Comments

Where Is Your Safe Place? – Guest post by Annie from gentlekindness’s blog.

poor-yurik“Alas, Poor Yorick, I knew him well”

Being silly, I placed my hand like this over the glass and quoted Hamlet by Shakespeare. In the gravedigger scene, Prince Hamlet picks up a random skull and says “alas , poor Yorick. I knew him well”

This is my sense of silly humor when I am not under the weight of anxiety.

I went to a local museum with one of my daughters. Just the two of us for a Mommy / Daughter Day. I like to that once in a while.

Let’s talk about silliness. We all need to be silly and humorous sometimes. It has an amazing therapeutic effect on us. It is very difficult to access that side of our personalities when we are being drowned by the weight of our own thoughts. The simple pleasures that other people enjoy are no longer accessible to us, when we are being tormented by our poor brains.

If we can find a way to be able to be silly, funny, whimsical and to laugh, it would be of a great to help with the anxieties we all have.

Personally, I find that I have to feel safe and not threatened in order to access my funny side.

The perception of threat can come from an immediately threatening situation, an impending threat, or a perception of threat which is triggered by something and then interpreted in our mind as an unsafe situation.

In order to experience the healing of humor, we need to be in a situation that is unlikely to trigger any feelings of threat.

A threat can be a perception of imminent danger to our person. Another type of threat would be a financial threat which in our minds would ultimately lead to loss of our shelter and safe haven.

There are other kinds of threats. Different people have fears in different areas. A threat of humiliation and loss of respect is common. This type of threat could have a domino effect. In our mind, it would start with a loss of our reputation, disrespect, and then an inability to get what we need from others.

For people with severe anxiety disorder, the threat of being triggered into fear and mental torment is a very frightening thing. The attacks of post traumatic stress are so frightening that sufferers try their best to avoid being triggered.

Winston Churchill , in 1940, said the famous quote,
“There is nothing to fear, but fear itself”

The fear of “fear itself” is very real for people with severe anxiety disorders. Therefore,  there is actually something to fear for us.  Fear is real to us. The fear we have is that something will trigger an attack of our brain against our nervous system.

 The brain is directly linked to our nervous system, which runs through our entire body. Once the nervous system is on high alert of threat, the physical discomfort can be unbearable. This is why we do all we can do to avoid this.  I have PTSD and I am always aware that I need to protect my brain from triggers. It takes a lot of mental energy just to continually scan for threats to my brain function.

I personally find that I feel less likely to be triggered if I am in a neutral place. This is not true for everyone. You have to learn where your “safe places” are.

I feel more like myself, at a place like this museum, where no one knows me. I can re-create myself and be whoever I want to be.

If you can find your “safe place”,  then you can find yourself again. You may be able to relax and laugh at things again. Your sense of humor and ability to find pleasure in the little things is still there. It is under the tremendous weight of anxiety and / or depression. Believe in yourself.  I believe in you ! Laughter really is good medicine for mental healing.

Blessings to all 🙂

Annie

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Editor’s note:

I would like to really thank Annie from over at gentlekindness’s blog for being kind enough to send this guest post to us for publication on this site.  I know that I really enjoyed reading it and hope that it will benefit and bless a lot of our members.

The idea of ‘guest posts’ is one which I actively encourage and you can find out how to go about submitting such an article/post by visiting our Submissions page

Kind regards and God bless you and thank you once again, to Annie.

Kevin

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17 comments on “Where Is Your Safe Place? – Guest post by Annie from gentlekindness’s blog.

  1. My safe place is a bookstore or the library. They are quiet places filled with something I love.

    Thanks for writing this post Annie!

    • I love the bookstore and the library. They are quiet , thoughtful places. The world is left outside when you enter and close the door behind you 🙂
      You can reinvent yourself in these places. You do not have to be subject to the identity that other people have labeled you with.
      You can be however you want to be. Your true inner self, without having to live up to other people’s expectations of you.
      Book store are great. I have not been to one in a while. Now I feel like I might take a drive to go to one 🙂
      Blessings,
      Annie

      • I think you should go to one!

        You are right. You can be anyone, there is no judgement and you are in your own world when you’re in a bookstore. I seriously wish I could live in one. I’m hoping to one day have a library room in my home.

  2. I loved this post and am grateful to Annie for sharing it with us. But it also saddened me a little. Not because of anything Annie has written but because actually it made me wonder if I do actually have a ‘safe place’, so to speak. Other of course than my home.

    As I spent some time considering this subject it did make me realise why it is that I am so reluctant to go out – or to put it another way – why I like being home alone so much.

    I do have places which are safer for me than others. Church, bible study group, prayer meeting, but even these – if I am totally honest – can be fraught with anxiety and potential triggers and stressors.

    And as much as I love reading, I am not sure our book stores and libraries are the same as yours. Or if it is me who is different. But these are all full of people and places full of people equals places full of potential ammunition for negative internal dialogues and the harmful or unhealthy external voices.

    Having a safe place or having safe places is such a wonderful thing to recognise – a haven or havens amidst the storms, if you will, But for some of us simply having a ‘safer’ place is all we can be hopeful of at times. But even so, I am so very grateful for these.

    Kind regards and God bless you.
    Kevin

  3. I think it is okay if WordPress is our safe place. I have trouble going out of the house on a lot of days, depending on my anxiety and depression level.

    It is good that we are able to connect here on wordpress. Each of us considers our blog a home in a sense.

    We have visitors and can interact with them as we feel comfortable. We are validated and can be our true selves here, even if we do not feel that we can be ourselves out in the world.

    We have to protect our brain’s from further trauma . Each of us as a right to feel safe. Feeling safe is a basic human need. People with mental illness have more problems feeling safe in situations than the “normals” do,

    It is not our fault, if we cannot tolerate social interaction or public places etc. We each have to feel safe and whatever is safe is good. WordPress has been a blessing to me. It is the only place I really feel that I can be transparent and truthful.

    I do like to go to the places like the museum and the bookstore, when it is a day I am able to mentally handle that.

    Blessings to you,
    Thank you for posting my writing and writing your thoughts and feelings here 🙂
    Annie

    • Hi Annie,

      I am not even sure that, in all honesty, I could class my situation as actual ‘anxiety’ in as much as I don’t experience the normal physiological signs which often accompany anxiety. It is more of a learned behaviour. My house is safer (or more specifically isolation) is safer and reduces the discomfort.

      Even in respect of visitors – these are kept to a minimum – probably as a result of my simply not inviting folk round. And yes even with my own kids there are times when I struggle. And you are so right that WordPress and our blog homes are such a valuable resource.

      My carer Sinéad comes twice a week and encourages me to go out and during the summer we went lots of different places. And I do enjoy doing so. I think that sometimes we can simply get into ‘comfortable’ patterns which aren’t necessarily good (or let’s say the healthiest) for us. And perhaps that is what I have done. But then I have been like this for as long as I remember. Even as a child I was far happier on my own (or with selected adults) than I was with others.

      Again, I loved the post.
      Kind regards and God bless you.

      Kevin

      • It is hard to separate our mental illness from our personality. They are entangled. Our personality affects how we feel and handle having mental illness. Our mental illness may be caused by a sensitive personality in combination with some kind of traumatic experiences. What is traumatic for one person, may be something that a different personality would just call a really bad day.
        I have met a lot of introverted people, like yourself and myself, that are also creative , like us, that have mental illness.
        There may be a combination of sensitivity, creativity, ability to think outside the box and see the world in an abstract way and finally the assault of the world and mean people, that causes us to mentally suffer.
        Wow, that was a really long, run on sentence. sorry LOL
        I am overtired.
        Take care. I know I meant something . Hopefully you will figure out what I was trying to say 🙂 Good night, Kevin.
        Blessings,
        Annie

        • Hi gentlekindness,

          Many thanks for taking time to comment and for what you have shared. Also apologies for the delayed response. It seems that I have been letting things slip again. I do that sometimes. Part of the ‘thought Jenga’ mental mini me plays in my mind.

          I agree with you about creativity, looking at things differently and seeing outside of the box all perhaps being part of our mental health and why the way the world is and the things mean people do affect us so badly. I am absolutely certain that without my faith I would be a complete mess and even with it I am not so sure I am not a mess inside, Just a very organised and contained mess LOL.

          Try to get some rest.

          Kind regards and God bless you.
          Kevin

  4. Reblogged this on gentlekindness's Blog and commented:
    I wanted to share this post with all of you that I wrote for the Mental Health Writers’ Guild. If you have not heard of this blog. please check it out. The Mental health Writers’ Guild Blog is special and I think many of my readers would enjoy connecting with this blog.
    Enjoy the post and check out the rest of the info. on the blog site.
    Blessings to all,
    Annie

    • Thank you so very much for the reblog and the kind words about the guild.

      I am so very grateful to you for thinking of this and spreading the word.

      Kind regards and God bless you.
      Kevin

  5. I am so glad that after 55 years I have found my safe place in which to find my essence. I am a very serious person so being lighthearted doesn’t come easy for me. I would rather be in a deep conversation with someone about deep issues then be around a lot of laughter. I do find laughter has been more challenging since I left my work with severe PTSD. However, I do find it with my husband.

    • Hi janetcate,

      Many thanks for taking time to comment and for sharing what you have shared. I too like deep conversations and serious topics. But they can be so very hard to find sometimes , can’t they?

      My sense of humour is, I think, my defence mechanism and also a way of filling the void left by the lack of deep conversations. Of course being a guy, small talk isn’t my natural comfort zone and with my mind the way it is truly is a foreign territory for me.

      Without the humour (among other things) I think I would be so lost.

      Again thanks for taking time to comment and share.
      Kind regards and God bless you.

      Kevin

  6. […] Where is Your Safe Space ? …written for the Mental Health Writers Guild […]

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