I suffer from anxiety and depression. My head gets filled with a jumble of voices; images; songs; numbers; words; worries and so many other things. They build up and up, like hair in a plughole, further and further restricting the flow of energy inside me, disrupting my concentration and creating a stagnant pool of frustration as I try to battle my way through the day.
I need quiet places. I don’t mean audibly quiet, although that certainly helps, just somewhere which inspires my inner peace, somewhere I don’t have to worry about anything for a couple of minutes. Not all of my quiet places are places; some of them are activities or even people.
My favourite quiet place is in the arms of my boyfriend or holding his hand as we walk. There’s something about his touch, about this wordless reassurance of his love and acceptance of me which calms the crazy of my mind like a summer breeze wafting through an Audrey Hepburn movie.
Watching a movie is often good for a bit of escapism but the effect is transitory, with the exception of Audrey Hepburn (see above). Unless I’m watching them from within my boyfriend’s arms.
Books are wonderful escapism too but I seldom seem to find an opportunity to settle down with a book uninterrupted and I dislike having to snatch a paragraph here and there without time to immerse myself in a story. I love having an hour or more to really sink into the book to the extent that the feelings, emotions and background of the hero or heroine linger after I’ve put the book down, leaving me frustrated, sad, scared or teary with happiness. Far more so than movies, books take me out of myself and into the mind of someone whose problems I can understand, problems which will probably be solved by the last chapter, which is preferable to the ongoing chaos inside my own mind.
My sanctuary while I’m at work is the ladies’ room where, for just a few minutes at a time, there is nothing in my day more pressing and the peace, when there’s no-one else there and the extractor fan is off, is cleansing. This works less well at home, where the children have no respect for the sanctity of the bathroom and the meaning of the closed door.
At home the study, which we recently reorganised, is probably the closest I have to a quiet place. It is currently the tidiest room in the house and the lack of clutter helps to ease the clutter in my mind. Unfortunately the boxes of paperwork, books and unsorted stuff from previous house moves are creeping back in, meaning the room is started to get less organised… Also, it’s right next to the play room which means the noise level can creep up when the children are at large.
Where do you go when the world gets too much for you? What do you do to detox your spirit? Do you have any advice for me? I’d love to hear your stories.