My Safe Spaces, Places, and Bases
I remember playing softball in gym class when I was in school. I remember it not being my favorite sport, and I wasn't exceptionally great at it. But I recall the excitement of not striking out and actually hitting the ball, sending the outfield scrambling to retrieve it in order to get me 'out' before I could reach the safety of the base I hurriedly strived to reach. I also recall the relief I felt when safe at any of those bases - especially the home base. I was happy to be rewarded with a winning point for my team and content to remain in that safe place until the next time I was 'up' to bat, to again endeavor to get to those safe places without striking out. Until the conclusion of the game, that's just what you did, that was just how you played the game. You ventured to get to safe spaces, places, and bases in order to keep moving forward.
Finding safe spaces with MS
I've not played softball in many years, but I have never stopped living the strategies of the game - especially once I was diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. It was essential to figure out not only how but where my safe places were, so that I wouldn't 'strike out', but instead, move forward without dwelling on such a frightening new normal, feeling victimized, becoming overwhelmed, or turning to unhealthy coping mechanisms. Being void of such safe spaces could very well lead to the detriment of myself i.e. experiencing depression, fear, doubt, lack of confidence, and even a decline in mental health which could potentially impact my physical health.
It's the times when there are no safe places - physically and psychologically - available to retreat that hinder moving forward and make it challenging to thrive and easier to 'strike out'. The times I can move on to the next 'base' and experience those feelings of calm, relief, and contentment are when I'm safe.
Here are my bases
I feel safe when I am in my personal space or places such as my home or church.
I feel safe when I am with my family.
I feel safe when I'm connecting with my MS community (Multiplesclerosis.net).
I am physically safe when I am in my car, secured by the seat belt.
I am physically safe when in my locked house with the home security system on.
I am physically safe when I use assistive mobility devices.
I am in a mentally safe place when I practice stress management and relaxation techniques, such as prayer, reading, and writing.
I am in a mentally safe place when I utilize appropriate assistive devices and take my symptom management and DMT meds faithfully and consistently.
I am in a mentally safe place when I listen to my body and reach out for help and support when needed.
Safe spaces help us play the game
Aiming for and successfully reaching our safe spaces, places, and bases won't erase illness and strife, but hopefully, it can help us play the game, roll with the punches, and keep moving forward. Ultimately, we'll arrive at the safest place where the most positive energy, happiness, comfort, and overall well-being can and should reside...home base or rather, within ourselves.
Do you celebrate your MS Anniversary?