“…just go to your Happy Place…”

How often is that phrase (to loathe or not), used when we are told to lie down (or not), close our eyes (or not), and relax? Now, I cannot do that.  Now, I will not do that.  It is completely counterintuitive and counterproductive to what I am trying to achieve.  If I were to do that, it would mean only one thing: denial.

A link needs to be supplied to this post for background, of course.  Should someone find themselves here out of nowhere, reading that may give them some further understanding.

This is so hard.  Well, two things.  Writing this post, and trying to conduct this “work” on myself.  I am utterly, physically and mentally exhausted (NOTE: I left out “emotionally.”)  It’s funny (i.e. ironic), what can happen when you are in a state like this.  Your defenses are down, if not obliterated, altogether.  It makes this “work,” as I said entirely tongue-in-cheek before, “easier.”  It’s amazing what thoughts and feelings seem to automatically rise to the surface.

So far today (as far as I can remember), I’ve had the following:

  1. I’m scared.
  2. I’m confused.
  3. I wan’t to kill myself.
  4. I’m lonely.

Oh, bloody hell that last one! Again, what rises to the surface when you’re not expect…? How long has it been since I admitted, said, admitted…oh, bother! Admitted that one to myself? Years and years! Merely days ago, I would simply have said, “I’m just a hermit.”

That’s not true.  Alright, I live like a hermit.  That is true.  Nonetheless: I.Am.Lonely. And that one’s a biggie.  That one implies–hell, more than implies–it clearly indicates a void in my life.  Completely born from my “being born.”  That one’s going to take some time to sort out.

So.  How am I attempting to “sort things out?” Well, I can’t take full credit for all of it.  Or at least the “last step?”

A long time ago, I was having a talk about this whole ball of wax that refuses to melt, with this blogger.  She gave me that portion of it, and it is a visual idea.  I’m finding it helpful, as I am not a visual person.

First, when these feelings I cannot and will not deny, wash over me, pierce right through me, I have to let that happen.  It may cause nausea, numbness, palpitations, fear…it doesn’t matter.

Second, I have to recognize them.  I have to stop everything.  I need to try and clear my mind of all that is going on around me and focus on those feelings.  I need to see them for exactly what they are.

Third.  Once I have a grasp on that certain feeling, I know what it is, I then need to validate it.  This means not judging it, not tying it to any other external stimulus or stimuli in my life.  I need to just accept it for what it is.  Immediately as it is occurring.

The fourth step is the visual one.  I need to picture an “Adult PA,” holding a “tiny, wee, child PA.”  I picture that as best I can.  The Adult PA is holding the child PA in her arms.  She is rocking her back and forth.  She is stroking her hair.  The child PA may be crying (so far she hasn’t yet, but the “Real, Living PA” has been close!) Then, in my head, I say the words that the Adult PA would say to the child PA, based upon the circumstances.

That’s what I’ve come up with for now.  We shall see.

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  1. Heya PA. Wanna tlak to someone? Make you less lonely? I’ve got nothing to do today as my housemates went out but I’m resting up from my car crash.

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  2. Hi Canageek. I was just going to lay down now as I’m feeling kind of sick. But thank you sweetie.

    Hang on a minute though! Car crash! Are you okay? OMG! Send me an e. if you want–or rather, no! DO send me an e.! Tell me what’s going on! I might not get to it straight away but if you’re online then at least you’re not too bad off? I hope?

    *hugs*

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  3. Hi PA. Just found your blog and am taking a few hours to look around…you’re quite prolific! I always thought the Happy Place thing was quite ridiculous. Sure, I suppose there are times when it comes in handy…being terrified of flying, anytime I’m about to go full panic attack at 30,000 feet, I guess denial and distraction are the best plans. But in daily life, happy places or as I’ve been instructed more often, pushing away intrusive thoughts to go to a place of calm, may help in the short term but the unhappyland and the intrusive thoughts are where I live full time and that’s where the work needs to be done!

    Anyhoo, thanks for all the work you put in here, finding it quite a therapeutic read!

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  4. Hi Dana. I’m very pleased to meet you, and welcome to my blog. Your comment is…well, kind of throwing me into an emotional tailspin right now!

    First, you are taking a few hours to look around? Alright, that means you are either very dedicated or you have a lot of time on your hands. *laughing* I’m just teasing you. However, hearing that is freaking me out a little bit! I just don’t know what to say…

    Yes, prolific. This blog has been up for 3.5 years, however, despite that time period, it doesn’t mean I still haven’t written like crazy during it. Nonetheless, for you to take such considerable time to read it…I am so overwhelmed with honour, flattery, even disbelief. Thank you. Now, you are about to make me cry. They are good tears, though. It’s fine.

    I am glad you understood what I was writing about, although, applied to a broader context. I fully agree. Absolutely. A decent, short term solution, but not to a long term problem, perhaps?

    And thanks for all the work I’ve put in here? No, my dear. It’s the exact opposite. If this blog helps anyone, it is I who should be thanking them. So, thank you, if you are finding this therapeutic, and of any benefit at all.

    Come back anytime, and I also welcome emails. I’m on Twitter, as well. I went to your blog, so consider yourself Blogrolled, and “Officially Introduced” to the Blogosphere (at least via “PA Land!”) I’m also going to jump on you via Twitter, too.

    Take care,
    PA

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  5. Ha! Well, for all you know, I could just be an incredibly slow reader ;) I have to say I think the best part of me starting to blog about my stuff is really the discovering of everybody else who’s blogging about theirs! It kind of takes away that feeling of wow, I’m feeling so _____, I’m such a freak! It never ceases to amaze me how no matter what new “interesting” things bipolar throws at me, somebody’s been there too…I find that very comforting…if not a little disappointing to find out I’m nowhere near as unique as I thought :)

    Thanks so much for the introduction! I’m excited to keep reading and see on Twitter and beyond.

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  6. Wow! Just wow!! BRAVO!!! I am so on your side in this line of thinking. When therapists and bogus philosophies tell people to go to their happy place, they are really telling them to dissociate, but no one wants to see that. And then we get ragged on for being dissociative!! It’s disabling and it’s enough to turn a person hateful, too. I’m glad you are discovering your own reality outside of a giant load of b.s.

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  7. arifaery

    Your method sounds a lot like DBT, but I like how you explain it better. I’ve never really liked DBT, but the way you put it actually sounds like something I can do…eventually. I’m existing somewhere between acceptance and denial.

    I’m typing in the AM before work, so I don’t have time to catch up with all your posts. But I do hope are feeling less post-ick-tal.

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  8. Hi Dana. Good one. That is another consideration that I hadn’t thought of–you as a slow reader. And considering my “prolificity,” there is a lot to wade through on this blog.

    ASIDE: I just made that word up. You could actually call me a “writer” as I have been published, even if only in very, minor form. Regardless, playing with words is practically part of my DNA.

    Yes, it is intriguing to read other peoples’ experiences. We are all unique, and thus, Bipolar (or any other mental illness or disorder) manifests itself in a unique way, as well.

    Many people find a lot of support within the Psych Blogosphere. That is a very positive thing. However, when we do, we need to be careful not to become too reliant upon it. It cannot become, or replace, any form of therapy. It is good to learn things from others, discuss things, but like my standard caveat: “Dr. PA is not a real doctor!

    I find it interesting to read that you feel it a little disappointing that you are nowhere as “unique” as you thought you were. I’m not sure if I’ve ever heard someone say that before. Well, as I said above, we are all unique. So, maybe that will make you feel a bit better? *grins*

    Thanks also for the Pingback to your blog. I look forward to being added to your Blogroll. Just kidding…

    Hi Ethereal Highway. Gee. Uh, wow back! Thank you so much for your encouraging comment. That means a lot. I guess you liked this post, too, huh? *laughing*

    I think you really got down to some core issues with this specific phrase. I don’t like it at all. At the very least, because it just sounds so…cliche? It also (to me anyway) sounds rather childish. Or childlike…or something.

    Dana made a good point about the possible idea, of using this “technique” as an immediate measure. I think that’s fine. Maybe to only do it when things are going really crazy, and you need to pull the reins back really hard on the horse.

    However, it’s never worked for me. In fact, it’s actually caused me more anxiety!

    Here I am, already freaking out, and now I have to try and dig back through a traumatic past and do what? Try and find some shred of it that was “happy?” No. For me, I just get further riled up!

    Therapy is really hard. Not only for the clients that are doing it where they have to find the right method, put in the amount of time and hard work… I have Alexithymia, so for me, all the worse!

    I once made a statement about difficulty from some clinicians’ points of views. A lot of the time, they can’t even agree on anything, themselves. Although, should we really be surprised? You’ll find that in every sector, of every profession, no matter. It is much more unfortunate here, as it can (and does!) affect people who are in dire pain.

    Hi airfaery. That’s interesting. I had never thought about DBT, but I didn’t think that what I came up with was all that “original,” anyway. It really is pretty bare bones, so I figured at least some elements would be out there somewhere–or at least some pieces of it. As they say: “There is no such thing as an original thought?”

    I’m flattered that you think what I have proposed for myself is something that you might be able to do. Whoa. “…Dr. PA…she shoots…she scores!…The crowd goes wild…” *laughing*

    I understand so much about acceptance and denial. I’ve gone so far as to accept my denial so often, and then deny my acceptance of denial!

    It’s funny. Since I started doing just that wee bit mentioned in this post? Oh, boy. Have I realized I’ve been in denial about some things!

    Take care you guys,
    PA

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  9. (((((PA)))))

    (only read enuf to know u need that, and mayb 1000 more – will be back to read the rest and all comments/responses tomorrow).

    take care.

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  10. Hi Arkay. Thanks, sweetie. Hugs back.

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  1. 1 Readapalooza – Mother’s Day Edition | Bipolarette

    […] -Do NOT Go to Your “Happy Place!” from Patient Anonymous […]

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