What’s feeling safe got to do with being good enough and confidence? More than you think.

This photo for me speaks volumes about where I was when I was at my lowest ebb and dealing with a lot of stuff happening with my husband’s family. It wasn’t just that often going to bed and (eventually) falling into a dreamless sleep was the absolute safest place for me when I was going through it all, but it was the waking up and realising that I was back and nothing had changed. ‘Ah Shit!’ So it could often be a real effort to come out beneath the duvet.

But it wasn’t until I started to look into the concept of being good enough, that I put all of the pieces of the jigsaw together. For me it wasn’t just the broken record of not being good enough that constantly played in my head, but it was the constant anxiety about when I would next be triggered. My home didn’t feel safe and so in desperation I would go to bed at ridiculously-early o’clock and get up as late as my back could take.

Yes, some of this was due to recovering from a hysterectomy and yes, the hormones were utterly fucked, but it was also a massive dose of depression due to (finally!) having to accept my childlessness. This heady combination shook my foundations to their core, up-ending my confidence…well what little I had and left me feeling like a fish out of water in every single context, except when I went to bed to shut myself down.

And I imagine, no matter how you find yourself a member of this club that no-one wants to join, you’ll relate to some of the feelings I’ve mentioned here and some of the behaviours. And I’ve seen people talking about them time and time again on the forums, but the common thread is no coincidence…

On Monday I talked about Maslowe’s hierarchy of needs and for those that are unsure what I’m wittering on about, I put a picture up for people to look, which illustrates this perfectly. And here it is:

Source: https://eduvel.wordpress.com/tag/maslow/

This diagram explains that in order to become the best, most confident you, you need a solid base of having your physiological needs met, to be able to move up to ‘Safety’, which involves ‘security of body’, or ‘of the family’…so is it any wonder that our esteem and sense of belonging get royally fucked by the realisation that we can’t have children (for whatever reason you find yourself here)?

It can often feel like an impossible dream to get your confidence after having your dreams shattered, but I can vouch for the fact that it can be done. If like me you’ve had problems with your fertility, it can take a lot to build that trust back up in your body. Or if you haven’t met Mr/Ms Right it can leave you questioning why and what is so wrong with you? But regardless of that, the theme is – it all leaves us questioning our ‘safety’ and for me that underlies the issue of not being good enough and makes confidence yet another Holy Grail.

But how did I build myself back up? Well I started small. Starting small has been the first tiny step on a road to recovery from this issue and it all started with me working out what I needed to get me built back up.

On Friday I’ll be giving you some tips on what I did to make that start, but let me give you one starter and killer question here – if you don’t know what you need to feel safe, how are you going to implement the changes needed to help you see the world as a less scary place?

This can help, because after asking myself this question, I started by asking what I needed. For me writing a small list of needs helped me to start telling people, and I include myself in here, what I needed. The very first thing I did was ask for help from my GP – I asked for more time off work, and while he gave me medication to take for the anxiety, I did my own research on what I would be willing to take to help alleviate it. And for me that meant herbal supplements, not something I would need to wean myself on and off again, for a ‘short time’ (6 months to me wasn’t a short time). That was one small step of empowerment for me, because while my body had let me down, it’s still my body and I decide what goes into it.

So my question to you. If you’re feeling like you’ve hit rock bottom, what do you need to start to feel safe enough to rebuild yourself?

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