I have been thinking a lot about safety and how I can let go of this deep layer of fear that sometimes paralyzes me that has me worried that people in the world are intentionally going to hurt me. And wow, I have realized it goes deep. And like most things I deal with related to fear it goes back to when I was having my experiences when I went to the hospital. My friend told me about writing down all the things you say to yourself that make up your world and surrounding yourself with them in a circle. So I sat down on my bed and got a pack of index cards and I wrote down all the things I tell myself about being unsafe. And the index cards kept piling up. There are lots and lots of things I say to myself that keep me afraid. And it really comes down to one basic belief. And that is that other people are in control of my life and that those other people will decide if I am happy and free or if I lose everything. That those people can choose anything they want to for me no matter how much it hurts me. Because actually that really did happen in my life. I got to a place where other people decided for me. For a long time. And they took things away. Everything I cared about really. They did it because they thought I was unable to care for myself. And there is truth to that. Some of the time. But it went on much longer than that was actually true for. It came to a point that I was just plain doing things that aren’t acceptable to most psychiatrists, like saying I was a healer and talking to voices who to me were spiritual presences and had meaning in my life. I wasn’t able or willing to hide what I was doing, But I wasn’t doing anything that was harmful. I was able to talk to people. I was eating and taking the medicine they prescribed and being cooperative. Yet still I was made to stay in the hospital for months. Locked in and kept from my home and my life. And then my ex-husband took custody of the children away while I was still in the hospital. And then I fell into a hole that it took me until recently to finally crawl completely out of. I know the people in my life would say it wasn’t that simple. No one knew how to help me and the hospital seemed to be the only alternative. And believe me, by going to the hospital I learned how to be what the world expects me to be and not to be so open about thinking I was on a spiritual journey. Even if it was spiritual for me, I was placed in the care of people who didn’t want to hear about healing and angels and talking to souls. And they were right. Believing in those things at that time got me no where except in a whole lot of pain and dysfunction in my life. It was grandiose and delusional to be thinking I was a healer and that spiritual beings would save me when I was locked away in the state psychiatric hospital and had no choices about my life any more. They told me if I didn’t stop I would lose everything. And they were right. I did. And it has left me with the feeling that I am never, never safe. There are the experiences I had inside myself during that time that can make me feel unsafe and that I have to process and work through. But more than that are the consequences I had in the world because I was having those experiences. A big one is that I have had the shock of sitting by myself in my house and having the police knock on my door and come in and take me away in handcuffs. Twice. No warning. Just a ruling from the magistrate based on what my ex-husband told him. Both times when that happened I was spinning in a world that you could easily call mental illness but that is also irrevocably tied for me to my spirituality as well. And it might have appeared that it didn’t matter to me because I was so ill, talking to myself and looking completely unaware. But it matters. Still. Because it was me it happened to. In my home. In front of my neighbors. It doesn’t matter to the police officers. Or the magistrate. Or the doctors in the hospital. Or my ex-husband. They were just doing what they thought needed to be done for someone who had crossed a line into illness. But here I am. Ten years later. And it still matters to me. Just like being on locked wards matters. Like not being able to go outside for weeks and weeks. Like being stood over by guards and forced to take an injection. Like being put on higher and higher doses of medications without ever being talked to about it. It all matters. And once you’ve been through it and have had other people making decisions for you it can be hard to trust again. Hard to trust others and hard to trust yourself. I have done layers and layers of work in trusting myself and in finding my spiritual roots again. But this last incident with the break-in and the guy following me has triggered me to really look at how I still believe other people are the ones who decide for me what my experience will be. That really was true for a time in my life. I had to be and do what other people said I needed to. But it is not true anymore. I have claimed my life back. It was a slow process. But I have done it. And now I am ready to claim a bigger piece of my world. I am ready to be guided by my inner experience of love and faith rather than by whatever the scary world decides to bring me. I am ready to feel safe in my home. I am ready to feel safe in my life. I know there are people and things to be afraid of. But I am choosing to feel safe anyway. Because all I really have is what is inside of me. And I choose to make that my own.