Tuesday, May 25, 2010

my safe place

chapter two of my PTSD workbook is about safety--physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual. there are some exercises about finding out how safe you are, when you feel safest, and how to help yourself feel safer when you are threatened.

i have learned several things about myself by doing these activities.

1. i perceive threats to my emotional safety often and tend to overreact to them.
2. physically i never worry about my safety when hubby is around.
3. i "protect" myself from threats with anger--hurting and pushing away those who are "threatening" me, mostly my family, the ones i love most. the people i love the most have the greatest capacity to hurt me. i also run away, withdraw into myself, and hide under my covers. i hug my teddy bear.
4. my self-protective attempts are not successful. more often than not they end up causing more problems and putting my emotional well-being into more jeopardy.
5. i am safest when i am emotionally stable--which is rare.
6. i feel safest when i get along with those around me....when i feel LOVED. also when i feel needed.
7. intellectually i know i am loved; emotionally i don't feel that way all the time. this is more s a reflection on myself, my insecurities, than it is on those around me.
8. contention, disagreements, etc. make me feel unloved. this makes me feel threatened. this leads me to "protect" myself with anger and hurt.

the workbook suggests creating your own safe place, by imagining a location you have been (or would like to be) that makes you feel safe and secure. it needs to provide you with a sense of protection, and should have limited access--only you and those you totally trust or wish to protect can be there. think back over the course of your life to places in which you've been safe. think of what might make a place safe--its characteristics, any and all items you might want to bring, what you can hear, see, smell, etc. then you are supposed to collage or draw it in your journal.this is my safe place.

mission beach, san diego....the south shore, just by the jetty.

i am alone. the sun is setting over the sparkling water. the sky is full of brilliant colors--reds, yellows, oranges, purples. the spectacular rainbow is reflected in the waves. it is a warm day, and i feel the warmth radiate around me. i dig my toes into the hot sand, and feel the coarse texture on my skin. a slight, cool breeze blows through my hair and across my face. i close my eyes and smell the salt, hearing the waves crashing against the jetty, rolling into the shore, and the call of the gulls above my head. the brilliance of the color, of the salty ocean air permeates my body. i can think of nothing but the beauty around me.

safety. safety in color, in nature. security in warmth.

where would your safe place be?


lostinamaze said...

It took me a long time to create a safe place because I never put much stock in it at first. But finally with my therapist help I have created one and to my surprise it helps me a lot. My safe place is in a pine forest. As a child we always seemed to live close to a forest and it was the only place where I could get away from the chaos.

VICKI IN AZ said...

Gorgeous. Absolutely breathtakingly gorgeous. I am glad you shared this painting. I love your art.

Paula said...

During trauma therapy I learned to visulaise my safe place. it was the first time in my life where I thought of a safe place. As long as I remember I obsessively thought about feeling NOT safe! By now I have a safe place visualized which I can pull up inside me whenever I feel anxious or fearful!