Blog Elle

Survival Mode (Elle)

My CPN (community psychiatric nurse) has phoned me at home yesterday and today because she’s concerned about me. I can’t find the words for the blog just now to explain why I’m in a bad place. There will have to be time for that down the line. But writing’s powerful stuff, so I was wondering if I could skirt the story completely for now, but find something useful to say about it all anyway.

So here’s what I’ve got. Sometimes there’s no other option but to settle for survival mode to get you through the shitty stuff. This is a concept I read about in another blog, and I’m afraid I can’t remember where it was to link to it. Anyhow, it’s a place I’ve visited often down the years. In survival mode there’s no space or energy for growth. No space for energy expenditure on anything other than getting through the days. That can mean closing off from friends. Dental appointments are out. Straying far from home is out. Shopping has to be whatever you can find closest to home. Sleep may be a prominent feature – or there may be none. Survival mode is about allowing time to pass – nothing more. Time is necessary sometimes….

In a way, survival mode comes with some great blessings. There is no energy available for thinking any more. You just have to lay that stuff down. Trying to think your way through a situation is pointless now – you’re in survival mode because you’ve exhausted all attempts at figuring it out. Time has to pass until new paths reveal themselves. Neither is there any energy available for beating yourself up over it all. In survival mode if you need to rest you forgo everything else and rest. There’s nothing else for it – no blame for taking the steps you need to take.

This time around I’ve pulled down the shutters, but have decided to keep my web ‘self’ active. My best friend understands the strength I get from writing, and reached in from the outside today to encourage me to write a blog post!

Survival mode can be very concerning from the outside looking in, but here (looking from the inside out) I’m making a case for it. After all, once we’re done with working on our stability, and challenging our negative thoughts, and overcoming our fears, and negotiating the flash backs and panic attacks; once we’re through with dealing with our anxieties but doing it anyway, and reaching forward to the future, and staying positive, and negotiating the world even though it defeats us – once we’ve done all that, day in day out for years, there is – absolutely – a place for withdrawal, retreat, loss of forward momentum. A kind of hibernation for the soul.

19 thoughts on “Survival Mode (Elle)”

  1. I’m in survival mode. I recognise it and that is the first step to taking tiny steps to moving out of it.
    I applaud your step; writing this.
    You know in your depths that this will pass and therefore you can sit in survival mode for a while and go back to creative mode when you’re ready.

    Funny thing, it’s just the opposite from a mammalistic point of view. Survival used to be a way of life. Now we fight, Creation, a thing we indulge in during times of safety.

    Keep surviving and soon you’ll be living again.


    1. thank you so much. such an eloquent comment. and i totally embrace the idea that once you move out of survival mode, what you enter (if you embrace it) is called ‘creative mode. i don’t feel the need to rush anything. i think it’s good to honour survival mode for what it is. can’t see beyond one day at a time – which is the essence of survival mode 🙂 thanks again (Elle)


    1. thank you for speaking out from your survival mode. you teach me that communicating outwards from survival mode is vital – however you do it. i don’t feel much like talking at all just now – but i can still type myself into the world 🙂 (Elle)


    1. yeah – it’s good to see it as an interim measure i think – but it has its own geography and timing too. it’s definitely – for me – a valid place to be. but i suppose we should hold it all lightly – it’ll change like everything else under the sun. my feeling is that if you’re in survival mode you shouldn’t force progress or rush yourself out of there. it’ll take its own time. 🙂 (Elle)

      Liked by 2 people

  2. Hi Elle a wee message from my friend Fisa. (John) “Hibernation for the soul, indeed ❤. I don’t know Elle but I hope you’re better today then you were yesterday x”


  3. Hi Elle…and another wee message from my friend Fiona (John) Thanks Elle, I hope that your hibernation period is over soon. Wondering if you’ve ever tried meditation? Big hugs X


  4. hi fiona – thanks for being in touch. i used to meditate years ago – i had quite a strong regular practise. but then i started hearing voices, and thought i was getting it wrong. i thought i was tapping into places i shouldn’t go…… of course, what was really happening was that i was getting in touch with the true nature of my mind! thanks for the reminder that meditation is probably what i need in my world! 🙂


  5. I’m in survival mood now and trying to make my way back to the world. But I’m in no hurry as I’m learning who I am right now. Thanks for sharing I love reading the stories that you all find in your hearts the courage to share.


    1. thank you influencing angel. take your own time. i think that learning who we are is the greatest journey – sometimes we need to be in survival mode to make some of that journey. very best wishes for the road (Elle)


  6. Oh Elle take good care!! We all go through those times and we just have to go back to the bare necessities-the soul consumes everything else. And that’s ok. Let it be and you’ll work your way out of it. I’ll be thinking of you ❤️❤️❤️


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