When i was living at my parents, i would hide away under my desk or in the bottom of my wardrobe. I had a torch, a night light, books, notebooks, saved snacks and a bottle of water. I would stay in my den for hours and hours and pretend that the outside world wasn’t there. My mother got annoyed with me because I wouldn’t answer and she couldn’t find me (the door was shut on the wardrobe).
When my latest period of depression was at its most soul wrenching levels of pain I would long to hide under the desk at work. I would shut myself away in the toilets and curl up as small as I could.
Partly I didn’t want to take up space. I didn’t feel I should take up space. And partly because sheltering under a table or behind a door felt safer.
All children make dens and hideaways. But I suspect most children or teenagers don’t seek refuge in their wardrobes day after day after day.
As a physically disabled adult, I can no longer hide in my wardrobe or under a table.
For a while, my psychologist provided me with a safe place. A space where my feelings could be felt and would be contained. She held the space and the room gave me boundaries. But that is gone. I am no longer able to access that support. I have had my alloted hours. The limited support I get from the mental health team now does no offer me that same sense of safety. I am not able to use it to access my emotions in the same way.
And I don’t know how I can create, both in time and in space, a similar safe place for myself.
Thinking back, the wardrobe offered comfort and it also offered a space away from holding the mask in front of my depression. It offered me a small, well defined repository for my emotions. Closing the door on the way out closed that space. In the same way that walking out of my therapy building offered a clear transition away from that vulnerable emotional place to the rest of the world.
I have numbed myself off a lot since therapy started drawing to an end. It’s not a conscious thing. It’s not a reaction to feelings. I have numbed myself out in preparation for feelings. I have techniques and tools for helping manage my depression but I don’t have a place I feel safe enough to allow my emotions to come out. In my check ins I get odd little tiny glimpses, academic insight into how i should be feeling or why i have reacted in particular ways. But I am not able to really feel the feeling. It’s like I can almost see it but I am not yet able to feel it.
My mental health support team, what little remains, isn’t turning out to be very helpful with this. I get told to just let myself feel… If anyone has suggestions, I would be grateful.