life · mental illness

Mental Illness, safety plans, and safe people

There have been a couple people that have reached out to me and asked if I was okay, as my posts seemed pretty dark.

The answer?

No, I’m not okay, and I may end up in the crisis unit again pretty soon

But I am safe.

See, in the unit that I’ve gone to before, they have a safety plan, and on that safety plan is a list of people that you are supposed to make that you feel safe going to regardless of what it’s about. Who are the people that you can admit, in one form or another that you feel like harming/killing yourself/others. The idea itself is pretty cool, I mean, it can be a good reminder if you keep the safety plan out and actually read it when you are in moments of crisis, but… I doubt very many people actually do that.

So I decided to take the idea one step further.

Everyone that I had on that list, I contacted. I got hold of them all simultaneously in the form of a group message on Facebook. They are called my safety plan list, and they are all amazing people. These are people that never knew each other until I connected them, and I connected them for a singular, but certainly not simple purpose:

These are the people that have shown me that they are safe. These are the people that have told me they want to be there and that they want to help out. These are the people that have helped me understand that even though it does take extra effort to be in my life because of my mental illnesses, they are willing to, and want to put that effort in because they want to be in my life and help keep me safe. So I made this list to allow them to do that.

We talk pretty consistently, and I can admit, it’s been awkward. Not in a “well… someone just shit in my hand” type of awkward, but more of an “I’m openly telling people my mental illness problems and trying to get past the stigma” type awkward… which does feel very similar at times, though there’s a big difference. It’s never a good thing for someone to shit in your hand. It is definitely a good thing for you to tell people you trust when you are having a hard time with your mental illness.

It’s been an amazing experience. I have a hard time, like many of us dealing with mental illness, in telling people that I’m having a hard time, I’m afraid I’m going to be a burden. Having this group has helped alleviate this some because I can see a little bit of the background processes, I can see who reads it, who answers, I’ve even watched the whole group mobilize for information and trying to figure out what to do in the moment!

It was probably one of the best things that I could do. For one, it specifies exactly who it is you feel you can go to and let’s those people know that’s exactly how you feel. Just like any other Facebook messenger group, if someone can’t do it, then they can leave the group.

It’s really, really difficult to understand that you aren’t a burden. It’s difficult to understand that there are indeed people that are in your life that are okay with having to have the extra work to do to be in your life and to form relationships of any kind with you. It’s hard to know that people really want to do this, and making this group (and this really amazing emotional color chart) has helped alleviate some of my anxiety about asking for help.

The group is probably the only reason that I’m sitting here typing this right now, letting you, beautiful sunshines, know that no, I’m totally not doing well, but yes I’m safe. It’s the only reason I’m not in the crisis unit this moment, most likely involuntarily. I started a new medication last night, which I got from calling and updating my psychiatrist, which she has always asked me to do if things aren’t going well, and I’ve never actually done. Up until I told my beautiful group “hey, things are REALLY, REALLY bad right now.” and they said “Call your doctor.” and continued to hound me. Which I’m glad they did, and it also wasn’t quite on purpose, I just happened to have multiple people from the group texting and calling me, making sure I had done so.

So now I’m taking a new med and seeing if it will help.

The other thing for me is that I like connecting people. It helps feed my soul, so to speak, by allowing me to introduce people that are beautiful in my life,  that are complete strangers to each other, and have them meet. The circumstances might not be the absolute greatest, seeing as this is the “let’s help Ivy not off herself” group, (I know, sarcastic and morbid… what else should be expected from me though?) but, you know what? It’s a good thing. All of this is a good thing, and it’s so, so, so helpful for me in so many ways, and it’s even taught and helped them too.

I think everyone should try this because yes, you can absolutely burn out your supports. And, yes, I think we all get afraid of that, but it’s a whole hell of a lot harder to burn out all of your supports (or feel like you’re doing so) when they can connect with each other and delegate everything when they need to so no one person shoulders too much, which is incredibly important to make sure of for me.

Several of the people in my safety plan list also deal with varying degrees of mental illness as well, so I was kind of afraid to have them as a confidant, as I don’t want to overwhelm anyone, but I’m not afraid to do that now that I have this, or at least, not nearly as afraid to. I mostly don’t think I’m going to burn them out. I probably haven’t utilized the group as effectively as I could because of said fears, but I’ve done so much more, and been so much safer than I ever would have if I didn’t have this group.

If I didn’t decide to create this group and place my safety net in my hands and control.

And that. That is what probably blows me away the most is that I created this group. I took this step to take care of myself, and it’s very possibly saving my life, or at least my sanity, right now.

By creating this group, I took probably the largest self care step that I have ever taken, and I would urge anyone with mental illness to do the same, because this is so incredibly helpful on so many different levels.

I hope you take this into consideration sunshines, and have a beautiful day. Remember, if you are feeling like you are going to harm yourself or someone else, please seek help, you’re worth it!

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