“Nests” 11.11.22

*Berman is the personification of my psychiatric disorder.

Since I was a toddler, I have created a safe space for myself in every setting. In my early days, you could find me high in the branches of a tree, pondering life and watching it unfold beneath me. You might have discovered me in the roots of a tree, taking a nap or playing by myself; the tree wrapping her arms around me. Everywhere, I built nests. When I was blessed with a little sister, I occupied the top bunk and she slept below. I created a makeshift canopy made of an old bed sheet attached to the ceiling with push pins, concealing my space. I inherited a fourposter bed from my mom when I acquired my own room, and I covered it in the same manner.

Through the years, I have discovered other forms of hiding. My room was my sanctuary. I have always loved having pockets, not only providing cover for my hands, but occupying them. It’s always difficult to figure out what to do with my hands in a social setting. Hence, pockets! In the sixth grade, I hid my body every day with a jacket three sizes too large. At the age of twelve, I felt a storm brewing under that jacket. Rain leaked from my eyes, leaving wet trails down my face each night. My little sister was outside my bedroom door, begging to help me. I turned her away, considering this a private struggle. I was confused, sad and angry. I was full of dread with no apparent reason. I hid from this illness under jackets, beneath ancient familiar blankets, and sweatshirts with hoods. I tried to block it all out, and unfortunately that included my sister.

I build nests when I feel uncomfortable. In the psychiatric hospital, I disappeared into the recesses of a special hooded sweatshirt. Even now, I sometimes do the same. I bury my face in the folds of an old family quilt, and curl up in my dad’s old sleeping bag. I require much space. When I am overwhelmed and anxious, I spend the night under a weighted blanket. Hiding in my nests comforts me. This is a key ingredient in my stability formula. We all cope differently with the tools we are provided. Building nests has been my specialty. I recognize that Berman will always find me, despite an excellent hiding spot; however, I enjoy a few moments of peaceful solitude.