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Being safe means being private
April 28, 2014

I have been reminded of a profound equivalence between safety and privacy (two Human Givens Needs don’t you know) by my experience recently with an extremely depressed client. Her suffering could be understood as entirely driven by a complete absence of any privacy at all. And what emerged was that this was not privacy in the obvious sense – as she certainly had space in which she could be alone and which she could keep her things. No, it was that she had no place that she could go to or be in or even be: that felt at all safe – where she could allow herself the time to begin to process and daydream. Her family viewed her as dangerous and mad even and she had literally no place to turn to for any sense of safety at all. For her the complete absence of any privacy was about being emotionally unsafe and threatened and so always either watchful or running away. For my client, it seemed impossible to relax for a minute.

It occurred to me while listening that being profoundly unsafe meant a complete absence of any privacy and that this was the simplest description that I had found for what a depression is. There seems no possibility of escape to a safe place and so it was impossible to be private enough to allow time to process and quieten down and see things differently. Depression is being lost in a never ending nightmare and unable ever to escape.

best wishes

Andrew Richardson
94 Malford Grove, London E18 2DQ

Direct Line: 0208 257 0429 Mobile: 07870 104651 Skype: famrichhg

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