For anyone, moving out of one’s comfort zone can be hard, but it’s how to get ahead. That’s no different for anyone who has a mental illness. Even if it means taking baby steps. Moving out of your comfort zone is required to move toward healing.
After my initial blog, the first of many I hope. Wow, I thought. This is great. I’m moving. I thought I had it all together. The day after the post, which turned into a week and a half, I hit a brick was. I was filled with great anxiety. So much so that I cancelled my therapy appointment and opted to spend the day in bed, curled in the fetal position. I just couldn’t shake it.
I felt as if I was between two ships and there was a plank connecting the two. The ship I was on was slowly sinking and the only way to safety was to get to the other ship. I start to walk the plank and when I get to the middle, I look down and see the ocean. I don’t know how to swim. I freeze out of fear. My feet won’t move. What if I fall? Are there any sharks? An immediate horror overwhelms me. Do I go back to the sinking ship? I know it’s sinking, but I know the ship. I’m still frozen on the plank and over the ocean, but I see the other ship where I can be safe. I take one last look at the sinking ship and I move forward inch by inch slowly but deliberately. Slow is not a bad thing, as long as I am moving forward. I focus on the feel of the plank under my feet and I keep moving.
My bipolar depression is the sinking ship. If I stay, it would mean certain death. I can choose to move forward toward a healthier me. So, I walk the plank. When I freeze I look over my safety plan. Do I need to see my doctor and review my medications? Do I need to call my therapist? Do I need to attend a support groups? I determine what is needed and I continue to walk. That is where I am now. The anxiety has lifted. I continue to move out of my comfort zone. I am heading toward the light, where the sun shines over the ship to safety. It’s all about taking those baby steps.
You too can take those baby steps. As you move forward, you learn to trust yourself more. You learn to identify what triggers your depression, anxiety or mania. You find a reason to fight your illness and keep moving forward. I’ve reached the ship to a safer, healthier me. Move out of your comfort zone and let’s take that next step together.