Safety and Containment

Originally Written: August 3, 2006, Day 3 in Treatment #2

Safety and Containment is a group for sexual, emotional, and verbal abuse. I have encountered all three types of abuse. Regina, the lead therapist, explained that the healing process can be very painful and hard. I have been using my eating disorder, ED, to contain all my awful emotions that I don’t want to share. When you repress your emotions within yourself, you physically feel big.

I have been suppressing and denying my feelings/experiences throughout my life. Suppression is an unhealthy coping mechanism. Someone struggling from any form of addition can only work on so much within themselves at one time. The first time I was here at Renfrew in 2001, I could only deal with so much. I need to find something else as a container. When you have something in your body you don’t want, you get rid of it with your eating disorder.

A healthy option is containing these awful, overwhelming emotions/feelings/experiences in something other than your mind. Regina explained that an imaginary container can hold these feelings until you are ready to deal with them when its safe. She told us to close our eyes and imagine a container.

I imagined a big, blue safe that was locked with a massive steel lock. My stomach and chest started to feel really uncomfortable. I imagined my feelings and secrets as the color red as they left my body and all the red was being put into my imagined safe. Regina, then, told us to imagine a safe place. I couldn’t. I don’t feel safe anywhere. Help. I started to panic. Regina told me to breath. She helped me calm down and after a few minutes of breathing, I imagined an empty beach with a calm ocean with a tall, wooden fence around it. Louie, my dog, was with me.

I have a lot of anxiety and I am really sad. Tears form and I cry.