I think the best way of starting this post is to say that it is all just my opinion and based on my experiences. MY mental health has gone up and down a lot in the past few years, but lately I have found that its controlled a lot more often due to me learning how to manage it. I’ve found what my main triggers are, as well as the best ways for me to calm back down if my MH does heighten; and one of these ways of keeping it under control is through consistency in my home. In my January Life Update, I mentioned briefly that I have a lot going on right now, with preparing to move, and getting used to life with my parents separated. This, as you can imagine, is causing my home life to be very inconsistent and not the most stable.
After my break down in 2014, I suffered from social anxiety, paranoia, and just general anxiety caused from my schizophrenia. Medication didn’t work straight away, so in order to begin recovery we had to form ‘safe places’ where I was able to be with limited, if not no, anxiety. As can be expected, my home was the first one of these to be established, and up until recently was still my main one. From my home, we then set my car, and my Nans house up as other safe places- of course now, there are many, and I don’t need them half as often.
The concept of a ‘safe place’ is that it is somewhere, where you are in control and you know what you are walking into each time. Its somewhere where you wont be surprised by unsettling things, or be crowded by people you don’t know, or have any unexpected changes.
Because of the changes in my family, with moving, and my mum moving out; the ‘safe place’ has been highly disturbed. I’ve come in of evenings to find furniture moved or even taken, things of mine (books, pens etc) moved and missing, and just general big changes that make the home feel disturbed and empty. This change has caused me to restrict my ‘safe place’, now rather than my home, it is just my room, but even that is sketchy.
As can be expected, this has caused my anxiety to get bad again. Although society anxiety hasn’t fully come back, it has to the degree that I find it hard to leave the house now- not helped my ill health. I’m almost worried to leave, because I don’t know if things will go missing, and not know what state I’m going to come back to.
Consistency is really important in the process of recovery for those with serious mental health issues, not just schizophrenia, but depression, anxiety and all sorts of other conditions. If they have a chance to have ‘normality’ during their recovery it’ll be through the use of finding safe and comfortable places where they don’t have to be scared or nervous, because they can be in control. Disturbing this space, as I’ve now learnt, can have huge consequences for them, setting them months if not years back in their road to recovery.
All of this is purely from my experience, but I honestly believe that this is not a singular experience, but rather one that is experienced by many people. I’d love to hear your opinion on it.
One thought on “Mental Illness & the need for consistency”
I totally agree with you! Hadn’t heard of the concept of safe spaces before, but my home is very much a safe space. And I know if I were to come back and find my FIL had let himself in and moved stuff around, for example, I’d feel very anxious and unsafe. And I’d have to find a new safe place, one room, my car, whatever. I’m sorry that you’re MH is being set back a bit by this change in the home hun *hugs*
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