Displaced persons

We have recently been moving house a good deal. Six moves in the past four months.Wearenow back home but livng in two rooms whilst the builders occupy the rest of the house. It’s a stange feeling being a guest in one’s own home. And an uncomfortable one. It wasn’t until this series of moves that I fully understood how much bricks and mortar offer more than just a place to sleep. One’s house becomes a container in all sorts of ways. I have a place for my car keys; the phone always sits over there; the dog basket belongs in that corner. This means that there are all manner of things i don’t have to think about which gives me spare “capacity” to do other things. Like earn my living.Like not having to spend ten minutes searching for my car keys because they don’t have a regular slot.I now undesrtand much more clearly how it is that some people can wander the streets pushing a supermarket trolley full of “junk”. That trolley holds their life.

I came across the concept of displaced persons a long time ago. Working in mental health it is a common phenomenon. One often met people who were displaced, mostly in their inner worlds. They had no intrnal hooks on which to hang things. Those keys that open or shut different doors.That safe place where important things could be left securely.THat’s one of the functions of counselling, nursing, caring generally. That we try to help displaced people refind their sense of security so that they can function again without draging a trolley full of “junk” around with them. And that is the difference between us. I will have my house back in a couple of months. Many of my pateints will need years to rebuild their inner homes.And in the same way that my house will work better once the chaos subsides, so my pateints can find the same.


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