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What does safe really mean?

Discussion in 'Depression & Suicidality' started by theshadowoftheliving, Feb 12, 2018.

  1. theshadowoftheliving

    theshadowoftheliving Well-Known Member

    What does "safe" really mean?

    My therapist asked me if I was safe today. All in context of a suicidal part (I have a dissociative disorder), but in light of me not wanting to be harmed.

    But what does this really mean? I told her I am safe. But I'm just not sure if I am.
    Freida likes this.
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  3. joeylittle

    joeylittle ˁ˚ᴥ˚ˀ All howl, no bite Administrator Generous $250+

    It generally means, "can you keep from harming yourself or others". If you also struggle with self-injury, it's important to create clarity with your therapist around safety as it applies to self-harm, vs. safety as it applies to suicidal ideation.

    "Safe" doesn't mean that you are OK, or that you aren't going to be experiencing some really low thoughts, even suicidal thoughts. It only means, are you in enough control of yourself that you can exercise impulse control when it comes to suicidality. It's also fairly common to make sure that you do not have access to means, in order to help yourself stay safe.
    Freida, Oasis, Still Standing and 7 others like this.
  4. Muttly

    Muttly Well-Known Member Premium Member Donated

    That is a question I've struggled with a lot in the past. Joeylittle wrote a good reply. For me, confusion would come because to keep from acting on the suicidal thoughts I often needed to act on the self-harm thoughts. So, what was safe. I found that my therapist was a bit elusive when it came to creating clear definitions for this. I guess, for me, safe meant if I was not going to harm myself in a way that might need medical care.

    What makes you think you might not be safe?
    Freida, Oasis, Still Standing and 2 others like this.
  5. EveHarrington

    EveHarrington ________ in progress Premium Member

    That doesn’t sound safe to me.

    In order for me to be safe I have to be able to say I am not going to harm myself AT ALL.

    I’m prone to abusing my meds so I can’t say I am only going to take a few extra so I can sleep, and still be safe. Safe means I take my medication as prescribed.

    Unsafe doesn’t necessarily mean a hospitalization is imminent, either.
    Freida and Oasis like this.
  6. theshadowoftheliving

    theshadowoftheliving Well-Known Member

    Yes, this is what I was thinking. Thank you for reaffirming. I was just thrown off guard, as it was the end of the session, so I felt like I had no option except to say I was safe and get up and leave.

    I'm having problems with my oven again. Not the first time this has come up for me .... turn it on, put my head in.....

    And here I think I'm struggling, because I keep going back to what is the greater good. I don't want to end up in hospital because that would mean I would lose my jobs, and those are what keep me independent and engaged in the world - Ultimately I think it is better for me to risk being a little unsafe than risk losing that ....
  7. Still Standing

    Still Standing Active Member

    There are times that my doc has asked if I was going to be safe once I left his office. Sometimes, I say, "I don't know" and other times I say, "Yes". I understand the context in which he asks that question. He is referencing my suicidal ideations, also. On the other hand, I have been able to tell him I feel safe in his office...with him. That is another kind of "safe". When I am in my own home, in my own space, means another type of safe. But they all reference to the basic need of actions or environments that contribute to our well-being.
    Freida likes this.
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