As mental health week comes upon us I feel that it is a good time to talk about getting out of our comfort zone. This phrase has become a buzzy word of late. “push your self get out of your comfort zone’’ “The only way to achieve success is to get out of your comfort zone” I read it, I hear it all the time, but what does it mean? Sky diving, running long distance, opening your own business, it can mean many things to many different people. Today I would like to offer up some personal experience that I know will resonate.
Getting out of your comfort zone for someone who struggles with a mental health illness such as depression, anxiety, PTSD ect..is a totally different thing. Getting out of the comfort zone may mean
· Sitting down and talking to a friend or family member about how your day actually went.
· Writing in a journal about your true feelings and why you have them.
· learning to sit quietly out side and enjoy the sound of the birds chirping.
· Getting out of bed even though you really don’t want to.
· Learning to love who you are.
· Doing fun things that you enjoy with out guilt.
I could go on and on but really getting out of your comfort zone is about doing something in your life that causes you to have a negative emotion, makes you feel uncomfortable.
Yesterday I had a therapy session and just writing this now takes me out of my comfort zone Why? Because telling people I still go to therapy causes me anxiety at times, brings in thoughts like “I am Darcy Patrick a guy who has written 2 books and does talks on mental health and still goes to therapy, how can I do these things and still need help?” Well I do. And that is okay because I am human and there doesn’t have to be any other reason other than I still need help sometimes and that is okay to need help, everyone needs help and there is no shame in that, in fact it is a sign of strength! Getting out of my comfort zone has always been not looking for approval from others, doing things in my life for me with out guilt or fearing what people will think. I am not going to lie it has not been easy and I have been seeing my therapist now for 5 years. But a lot of things that once felt uncomfortable feel comfortable now.
Getting out of our comfort zone isn’t about going sky diving or doing some huge thing, it is about facing the things in our lives that we feel uncomfortable about, things that you would never think of doing before and doing it, it is about making the uncomfortable, comfortable. It is not easy, not easy at all and sometimes it is soul crushing and sometimes after we do the thing that seemed so hard at first we look back and say that wasn’t so bad after all. Sometimes we slowly make the uncomfortable experience into a normal everyday thing and believe it or not we start to enjoy it because it builds a sense of pride and brings us happiness and joy.
With mental heath week here I think that the biggest comfort zone task anyone of us can do is to actually talk and express our emotions. Let people know how you feel, reach out and talk for the first time. Pick up a phone and tell a loved one how you feel. Make a call for help, even if it is just a call at first, it is a start. Getting out of your comfort zone can be the smallest baby step that leads to a totally new mind set.
When I write “Only with open conversation can we break the stigma behind depression, lets start talking and do it together” it is a statement purely centered on getting people out of there comfort zone, getting everyone talking and letting them know it is okay to do so, that no matter how uncomfortable it my seem once you start you won’t believe how good it feels..
Talk openly, help someone you love or someone you just met because the only way to break the stigma and shine a bright light on mental health is to get it out in the open and talk. No matter how uncomfortable it may seem it will become easer over time. Let’s make depression and mental illness uncomfortable for a change 😉 let’s take it out of it’s comfort zone!!
“Only with open conversation can we break the stigma behind depression, let’s start talking and do it together”