• A.Cheung

Day 6 ‘Mizzen’

a sail set on a mizzenmast Collins dictionary

Setting sail in my imagination

Everyone should have a place in their mind they can escape to, because locking yourself in the staff bathroom and crying isn’t practical. Societies environment can take its toll on our brain, and we can only block out so much before our minds go on strike. The ritual of life doesn’t make it possible to go home and switch off if we feel stressed. If I’m out and I have a mini-meltdown, instead of panicking, I picture my haven. A place I feel safe, a location that’s imprinted on my memories, an escape from society. This technique is called visualisation, and there is an exercise you can do, if you are finding it hard to conjure up a scenery. I have a couple of places I like to picture, one is sipping a rum cocktail on the beach, imagining the smell of a BBQ and the sound of the waves. Another escape memory, is scuba diving in the Dominican Republic and hearing the bubbles, blub blub.

My most effective safe space is sailing out to sea and being surrounded by open sea, stars and silence. This memory was created when I was 14 years old, and I had joined a sea cadet crew on a sailing expedition; the boat was beautiful and inside was bigger than it looked. The first couple of days were the hardest because the seasickness made me nauseous, but after a while, I just got used to it. I remember one of the girls carrying a pot of hot chocolate up the stairs and spilling it all under deck; she had to lift the panels to clean underneath. We sailed from Southampton to the channel island and then to France. We did better than the boys at getting to grips with the sails, because they only got as far as sailing around the English coast. I remember landing in France on Bastille day and cheering at the fireworks, not knowing what event was taking place. My safe place comes from one night when I was on night watch, and I had to look out for incoming boats, to avoid any collisions, while we were stationary. It was so still, silent and tranquil, that’s the night I fell in love with the sea.

My safe place may be in my mind, but one day I’m determined to live in a house over-looking the sea. I would look at the ocean to clear my mind of racing thoughts and shut out the voices. Visually, the sea to me represents a spacious blue canvas, that resets my mind and refreshes my ideas. For now, I will have to visualise the sea in my head and visit when I can. If I use my imagination, I can picture my local estuary as my seaside haven, the muddy marshes are the golden sands, and the murky water is the sea. The sea is my haven away from society, because it provides a toxic-free environment, and the waves emit a calming presence.

I am challenging myself to write a 500-word post a day for 30 days. I will choose a random word from the dictionary and to make this challenge more complicated; I will use the same word to create posts on Twitter and Instagram. I will create a haiku for twitter and post a photo on Instagram. If the word I choose is too obscure to make a post, I will choose another word.

#500wordpost #challenge #bipolar #mentalhealth #therapy #mindfullness

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