Yes I know that having a ‘happy place’ can put one in mind of those stupid characterizations in movies where the ‘weird acting’ person is encouraged to go to his or her happy place when he or she gets agitated.
Yes those kinds of characterizations really annoy me too as, in my humble opinion, they ridicule and disrespect those of us who suffer with poor mental health and for whom having a ‘happy place’ is such an essential coping technique.
And are they really so ‘weird’ or unusual? When we get sad do we not long for happier times, think back to better times. Doesn’t a child sat in classroom bored out of his or her mind or stressed over something happening in his or her life sometimes simply slip into day dreams of other, better things?
And what about books and films and even music and the escapism that they afford?
I wonder if any of you have a ‘happy place’? A place where you can mentally or physically withdraw to in order to find some sort of refuge? I know that I do. Actually I have two or three.
Now sometimes, as in the case of one of my happy places, there can be a kind of dichotomous, almost conflicting, reality attached to them.
I am not sure why but I seem to be a water person. I like rivers and oceans and especially bridges over rivers and streams. Because of this, when I am particularly low or stressed I will often go to the local river and find solace and reassurance there.
But for some reason or other, that is also the self-same place I will often go when I am suffering from suicidal tendencies and I am not sure if it is a last ditched attempt to fight the urges or in preparation for if I give into the urges. And thus the whole concept of one of my happy places potentially also being the place of my end concerns and confuses me somewhat.
I also, or so it seems, have different happy places for different times of day. Some I will mentally go to in the day time when things get too much for me or I feel my mood crashing badly and some I will mentally go to later in the day or at night it seems.
That one, the one I usually go to late evenings or in the middle of the night is a make-believe place usually only encountered in my hopes and my dreams.
In it I shed the shackles of time and the bondage of mental illness and the hurts of the past and I run free, unstained and un-scarred in the company of brothers and sisters who are also unstained, unharmed and un-scarred.
Because of this and because this mental picture of my family is so important to me, I thought I would do something different and create a visual aid for when things are tough and I need that little extra help focusing on them and remembering to withdraw to my safe retreat.
So I painted a panoramic silhouette on my bedroom walls. A kind of story board depicting different scenes reminding me of that place in my mind where freedom and love reigns supreme.
And it really helps to remind me of this particular happy place of mine and have to say I am really loving it and finding it so very helpful.
I know that to some, the very idea of having a happy place or a safe place to withdraw to or retreat to either physically or mentally is a sign of weakness. For me personally it is essential and I am sure that the same goes for others too.
So if you suffer from poor mental health I would recommend it and whether you call it a ‘happy place’ or ‘safe place’ is irrelevant, what is important is that it helps you cope.