My needs # 2. Stability

house and family

I crave normality.

When I was in what I thought was a committed caring marriage, my sense of stability and security was that relationship and all that went with it – my home, my life companion, my secure finances, my rock of support, my sense of purpose. Even when I took a break from routine, by travelling or trying different things, it was both rewarding and exciting. That is because the feeling of security and stability went with me everywhere. It was an ingrained feeling deep inside of me, an inner core of happiness that I carried around with me. No matter where I went, what I did, or whatever adversities befell me; I felt safe and secure.

After my marriage collapsed, that was all gone. I felt unsafe, insecure, broken, worthless, and utterly violated by the act of abandonment. I felt I had lost control over all aspects of my life. I was left inside a fragile shell of my former self.
Since that day, my home has become my sanctuary and I have relied heavily on routine and order in my immediate space to provide me with a feeling of comfort and security. My home has become my protection. Routine and order have become the props that have helped me regain the feeling that I have some predictability to my life. They are things in my life that I can control.
So I live in 2 worlds.
The first is the world of my dramatic changed life circumstances, that I am slowly addressing, but knowing not far below the surface chaos and turmoil still remain supreme. As a result I often still use the technique of dissociation from my circumstances to absent myself from the pain. I do this by living in my second world.
My second world is my day-to-day world of calm quiet routine and order. Living in the quiet moments of watching the sunrise, going for a daily walk, writing, and enjoying the wonders of today and all its beauty. To a degree, in that environment I have slowly healed and I feel secure. However, take away the routine, take away the order; and my feelings of security unravel in an instant.
The first time I realised that was when I visited my son in Canada a year ago. Although I had been looking forward to seeing him, for the first week I was thrown into a tailspin of feeling anxious and unsettled. I had been thrown into the unfamiliar. My props were gone – my home, my routine, my sense of place. I was craving the basic level of human needs of comfort and security. After a few days I did get into a little daily routine and I cocooned myself with the basic needs of food, shelter, warmth, security, companionship albeit that I was now in a different environment.
More recently I found the same thing happened when I visited my daughter for the Easter long weekend in Canberra. I needed the first day to orientate myself, and develop my sense of place, before I could relax and enjoy seeing her and join with her doing a few different exciting things.
I have also noticed that I am over-reacting to any thing that goes wrong. I go through feelings of anxiety and panic over little things that would previously never have bothered me. I instantly think “Oh dear, what now?”
In that regard, I am craving a sense of normality, that life again will return to order and calm in my ‘big-picture’ world as well as my somewhat artificial daily world so that I can truly cope again with life and all its ups and downs. Or that my logic brain “it really will be all right” will eventually win over my crushed soul.
I have a current need for a sense of stability, comfort and security:
I need calm
I need a sense of place
I need routine
I need order
I need predictability
Image courtesy of [Smarnad]:

My needs # 1. Good health


I mentioned in my previous post how I struggled focussing on my needs as I felt firstly I have responsibilities. What was missing was feeling I was important enough to focus on my needs as a priority, and that in itself should be one of my responsibilities.

The sudden ending of my marriage put me in a state of crisis. I was thrown into a survival mind-set of fulfilling basic needs because everything else was gone. I shut down to the present moment and lived one painful agonizing hour at a time – wake, walk, shower, dress, work, shop, cook, eat, house duties, sleep – going through the motions of life like a zombie. Breathing became a top priority for me – it meant I was alive.

After a few weeks, I had moved a small step forward – planning ahead a few hours at a time. One day I thought about making soup, shopped for ingredients, cooked, and ate the soup, savouring each mouthful as a friend. A few months later my world expanded to a day at a time with a daily routine of rising to watch the sunrise, writing in my journal, following a healthy diet and doing some regular walking as exercise. Although still looking at basic needs, I was living healthily and happily – one day at a time.

Then came the big freeze, the slow painful process of grieving for my past, and facing the anxiety-filled reality of my changed future. There were months of swirling through intense emotions, drifting in and out of hope and despair, only able to focus on one thing – my feelings. My earlier healthy routine slipped away. Down in the black pit, letting exercise go for a day, eating incorrect foods once in a while or over-eating…suddenly it did not matter. What mattered was getting through the day – surviving.

You can get away with things for a day, or two, or three. Then gradually, one day at a time, you slowly lose your fitness, put on weight, clog your arteries, put your heart and kidneys under stress. You do not continue to get away with it. To turn that around you need to think more than a day ahead. You need to think twenty years ahead. This is a monumental step. In my old age…….I want to see my grand-children’s children……. I want to be active enough to still climb stairs…. I want to be able to look after myself.

To do that, I need to think of myself, I have to feel I am worth it.

Focussing for a while on my values, my beliefs and my attitudes, has given me a better sense of confidence and feeling of self-worth. Now I am in a better place. …..I know I am important…..I am worth looking after….. worth caring for.

I need to take care of myself.
I need to remain active.
I need to be healthy.

These are my needs for me and my future healthy happiness.
Fulfilling those needs will become my responsibility.



Image courtesy of [Digitalart] /