Much like a safe word, my husband and I have a photo we use to serve as a prearranged signal to indicate a “troubled” day.
Often times I cannot verbalize what I am feeling, maybe I can’t, or I don’t want to and the photo is sent via text. It can be this overall sense something is not right and I am about to behave in an otherwise unbecoming, distant, or on the flip side, needy way. But in fairness, my husband needs to be alerted to my instability. I want him to know, that despite what may come out of my mouth, how I may react, or how I behave that day that it isn’t me, but rather the chaos seeping in and wreaking havoc on my mind.
I think for any marriage or relationship where one suffers from a mental illness a safe word or safe photo in our case serves as a useful tool to thwart hurt feelings, miscommunications, and raise awareness to your partner so they may be supportive. If they aren’t anticipating your mood changes, they may react defensively and take it personally. It is so simple, yet incredibly important so they may maintain an understanding and supportive role.
In turn, they will do whatever it takes to assist you in feeling loved and cared for or if you prefer, the space to work through the mood.
*The photo attached is the picture I send my husband ` My Monster Slayer 🙂