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Safe Place Fear

storage closet
Is this not a safe place to keep my license renewal form?

The phrase, “safe place” should stir up thoughts of comfort and, well … safety, right?

But when you have ADHD, the idea of a safe place, for some of us, has become a rather fearful concept.

How many things have we put in “a safe place,” never to be seen again?

And you might think this is trivial, but it is far reaching, and does not just exist in the physical world.

We the people …

… with ADHD have known for a long time that when we think, “I’ll just put this here where it will be safe so I don’t accidentally lose or break it.” that we should be cautious and concerned.

We know that there have been many instances where we’ve uttered those words, or had those thoughts, and the result is that we never see the thing we’ve put away again, or at least not been able to find it when we’ve needed it.

Safe has become a code word for, “lost forever!” or “not finding that until it’s too late.”

Some safe, eh?

And then there are thoughts, info that we think we’ll never forget. It’s too important for us to ever mentally misplace that name, number, address, appointment time, password, user name, lock combination, locker number, gym bag, new shorts, amazon shopping, mail box, birthday card, aunt Della, family reunion … what was I talking about?

Yes, sometimes just thinking something is important lulls us into believing we’ll retain it, actually makes us feel good about having done the right thing in recognizing its importance.

It’s a matter of duration

That feeling of security and happiness usually long outlasts the retention of the important bit of information.

That’s actually not too far removed from the loss of memory of where we put the important form we’ll need later. Or where we put the keys to the neighbor’s house that we promised to look in on with the fish we promised to feed for the next three weeks that they were going away for.

Thank heaven for the pandemic

None of my neighbors are going away. Or at least if they are, none of them are counting on me to watch things for them. Hmmmm.

But on another note, I’ve recently become more aware of that Safe Place phenomenon and it has made me more aware of the problem. I have had two positive results from it.

The first is that I have started realizing that my safe places might not be so safe and I’ve started a new “tell a friend” program that involves burdening my partner way more than she deserves to be burdened.

The second thing is that I’ve become aware of just how resourceful I am in situations where I’ve misplaced things or info.

Seriously, if it wasn’t for the brilliance of my deductions, this problem would be way more obvious to everyone than it is.

Safe Place Fear

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live on the traditional lands of the Chippewas of Nawash in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or 7 generations and my First Nations friend's families go back hundreds of generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I am a freelance writer and I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about living with ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2020). Safe Place Fear. Psych Central. Retrieved on November 25, 2020, from


Last updated: 11 Aug 2020
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