Pocket can be defined as “a period of time seen as a distinct unit with a distinguishing quality”. Vulnerability “is defined as the quality or state ofbeing exposed to the possibility of being attacked or harmed, either physically or emotionally”.

Donna Ford MS,RMHCI

When we talk about a Pocket of Vulnerability it can be compared to a mental matrix in which helplessness, hopelessness and defenselessness thrive. Its determinant may vary but the one thing that remains constant is the devastation that it can wreak on our very existence.


Safety precautions put into place that help protect our physical health are often apparent. Television advertisements sponsored by anti- DUI organization, Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD), warn about the perilsof driving under the influence. These forewarnings are part of our dailymedia experience. Prescription bottles with slight printed labels warn ofpossible drowsiness, cautioning that driving a vehicle or vessel machine
while taking may be dangerous. They are accompanied by lengthy leaflet
reiterating more of the same hazards.

woman in white dress in bath tub
Photo by Craig Adderley on Pexels.com


Evidence supports that the use of drugs and alcohol physically alters the
human brain by damaging the part of the brain responsible for proper
regulation of impulse control, stress management and information
processing. Inhibitions are thinned and decision making skills are flawed.
Why? Because alcohol is known to increases the effects of the inhibitory
transmitter Gamma- Amino butyric Acid (GABA) in the brain. This
neurotransmitter is liable for decelerated responses.


Taking that information into consideration how likely would you be to
consciously embark on making a major life decision while in an alcohol or
drug induced Pocket of Vulnerability. Given the choice would trust yourself
to enter into holy matrimony, switch careers, move to a foreign country,
sign a mortgage, buy a car online or invest all of your disposable income
with no hopes of a viable outcome. The answer for most expectantly is, no.
Pockets of vulnerability don’t only jeopardize our physical well-being.
Effects that cause gaps in the conscious decision-making process can
have a detrimental influence on our psychological and emotional health that impact important decisions made every day. We are not exposed to these dangers in daily advertisements nor are they exposed on warning labels.

women s white long sleeved top
Photo by Tatiana on Pexels.com

Though significant advances have been made in the mental health arena,
lines are still blurred when it comes to what we refer to as normal and what is not normal in mental health. Stigmas exists that enables us to be
dismissive about what our state of mind truly is when confronted with the
daunting details of life. Taking a Tylenol to bring down a fever, eating when
we are hungry, drinking when we thirst are all steps that most take to
satisfy physiological needs as eloquently defined by Maslow.


Let’s take a look at how our lives can be preempted by poor decision
making due to being in a Pocket of Vulnerability. How a person views
trauma is all relative and can be compared to how Christians view sin. As
with a sin it is said that no one is greater than another. Trauma can be
looked at under the same lens. No trauma is greater than another. It is all
relevant and has distinctive value based on the person who has experienced it.

Societal norms and values have no place to determine its role or importance in an individual’s life. Trauma can only be evaluated and only judged by those who carry it. We take great solace in the notion that there is someone out there that has it worse than me…so if that is believed where is the relevance in your story. Who cares about your narrative if we are unable to see its significance ourselves?

Yes, there is always someonepoorer, lonelier, less attractive, and sicker than you but does that make it easier to deal with the relevant situations that currently affect your activities of daily living. Yes, you may not have stage 4 cancer but how are you dealing with stage 3. You may not have lost your parent when you were young but how is that pain now that you’ve lost them as an adult? We can be grateful that Stage 3 has a better outlook than Stage 4 or be gracious and humbled that you had your parents around longer than some but does that eliminate the grieving process does it make it easier to deal?

blurred portrait photo of woman
Photo by Elina Krima on Pexels.com


Dopamine is known as the feel good neurotransmitter. Dopamine is
released into the brain causing neurons to become active when a person
experiences enjoyable sensations. This is the same reaction that inspires
the exhilaration caused by addiction to stimulants, narcotics, and alcohol.
Use of these substances causes a sudden rush of dopamine to be released
into the brain letting it know of a pleasurable outcome.


We need to place emphasis on careful consideration of ourselves in order
to determine what our needs truly are during these Pockets of Vulnerability.
If we don’t than alcohol, drugs, binge eating, gambling and sexual promiscuity, may be looming giving the appearance of us coping. Then we
go about everyday life making hopeful, strategic plans that end up causing
more feelings of defeat then not. If we have the wherewithal to identify,
understand, rebuke but more importantly know that you are in a Pocket of
Vulnerability then major life decision can be postponed until we are again in a harmonious state of mental health.

Reference
DiSalvo, D. (2015, August 12). What alcohol really does to your brain.
Forbes. https://www.forbes.com/sites/daviddisalvo/2012/10/16/whatalcohol-
really-does-to-your-brain/#498fb830664e

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