Hello, everyone. May is Mental Health Awareness Month. I think I’ve been pretty straightforward about some of the challenges I faced in this area, including the fact that I had a full-on breakdown in 1996 and my mom had to come and live with me for a while. So, today I’m sharing an essay from Les Pensées Dangereuses that talks about something I experienced a number of years ago. This may be hard reading for some, but I think it’s important to put an honest face on things.
So, the sleep disturbances have evidently started again.
Every time I woke up last night, I found myself thinking about work. I used my CBT techniques to stop it and kept trying to do something I’ve never successfully been able to do: build a “safe room” inside my head.
Lots of people who have been through psychotherapy probably recognize this technique. You build a room with things in it that are specific to you: things that you love, and make you feel good. The idea is that you create this space and then are able to go there whenever you need to in order to feel mentally okay.
One of the frustrations I’ve had is that I’ve never been able to create such a space. I’ve been able to briefly use real-world places where I’ve felt good, but never with the degree of success that you might hope.
I got a couple of things accomplished mentally over the wee hours: a solarium with polarized glass and an ivory damask chaise longue with dark wood accents. (Apparently, this fabric has one heckuva Scotchgard, because I want my animals in this “safe room.”) My symphonium is there too … and I can have any song disc I want, not just the ones I own.
Other than that, nothing is made or put in place. Stopping the racing thoughts and thinking about what would go in my room did help me go back to sleep twice, but when I was still awake at 4:15 after the latest odd/scary dream, it didn’t seem to make sense to try going back to sleep any longer (I arise at 5).
It’s raining outside right now. My calico cat, Abigail, is in the computer room with me, washing her pretty little face. She has spent the majority of the past 4 days on the bed with me. Seamus, my big grey tabby, is still on the bed where I left him, cuddled up next to where I had been sleeping.
I know this sounds peculiar to non-animal people, but Seamus and I have a particular connection, and I sometimes get what amount to messages from him. One day, I quite clearly received “I am afraid the ‘sad place’ is going to make you die.” The ‘sad place’ is that place I go every day and come back from sad. That would be work.
I wish I didn’t have to go to the ‘sad place’ ever again, because it seems to be getting sadder by the moment. Unfortunately, my continued search for alternate employment has been unsuccessful. So, I’ll go back to the ‘sad place’ today and do my best to get through it.
If you would like to obtain your own copy of Les Pensées Dangereuses, here are the back cover “blurb” and purchase links. Thank you for your consideration.
Part autobiography and part inspiration, Les Pensées Dangereuses (French for ”dangerous thoughts”) is a series of essays on friendship, spirituality, education, bullying, animals, clinical depression and more. Author Sharon E. Cathcart (In The Eye of The Beholder) shares her thoughts, including an unfinished autobiography, ”Unmasking My Phantoms: My Dance With Madness,” in this new book.
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