I have started several blog posts recently and just couldn't finish any of them.  So as I'm laying poolside by myself to unwind from the weekend I'm going to try again.

I've been working with a full caseload of youth who have mental health diagnosis. Something I've been working on them with is finding a safe place for them to come down from a crisis or when they become upset, overwhelmed,  mad, or sad.  I've also been helping them compile coping boxes and think outside of  the box (no pun intended) about what they could put in it. It took me longer than it should have to realize that I am missing a safe place in my life.  With my heightened anxiety and depression filling in the cracks it is something I desperately need. I've also done some self discovery and know that when I am having bad anxiety,  or a panic attack,  or feel so low that I don't know how I'm going to manage...all I REALLY need is to feel safe. I need to know that I am safe no matter how I am feeling. I need to feel safe in both a mental and physical way. I have to be safe from self harm and the potential of hurting others with my words or actions. I need to be with people who I trust and when I'm alone I need to know I can trust myself. I've been thinking about where my safe places are or could potentially be. I came up with a few.

The pool at my apartment complex. I started out spending a lot of time alone at the pool with a book. Eventually Matthew started joining me and from there we formed friendships with some neighbors.  There are a lot of times when we are all out here together enjoying the sun and company.  The beautiful part is I can come out here by myself and just be. I don't need to have anyone to sit with or talk to. I always bring a book and read a few pages but I also come out here to just be. I find these times to be after a long day at work or Sunday afternoons after a weekend of socializing more than I am used to. The pool is a safe place for me. It doesn't always work it's magic and calm me, there have been several times being out here causes me more anxiety,  but that's part of this life.

My bedroom is a safe place for me. It used to be a negative place but as I've grown up and changed I've learned how to use it as a positive space.  I can go in there and lay down, or read, or watch a movie. I can also go in there to organize and put away laundry.  I can do whatever I need to feel calm without burrowing under the covers and crying. Although that does still happen it's not nearly as often as it used to be.

I want to have more safe places thst are easier to access when I'm not at home. My office is not one of those places and often times is the reason I need to get out and find somewhere else to be. I've tried out coffee shops and cafes but haven't found one that feels like it's comfortable yet. It need to keep exploring.  Trial and error is the only way to go when you're in the community. Finding people I trust is also key, and honestly at this point I don't have more than a couple of them. It's a long work in progress when you lack friend making skills! =)

I never realized that safe could mean and be so many different things. Once I get a better handle on my anxiety and it's triggers I am hopeful that I will always feel safe no matter where I'm at or what I'm doing.


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