Uncomfortable can still be Safe

One of the most powerful concepts I learnt with my counsellor was the idea of getting comfortable with feeling uncomfortable.

Trauma triggers can have us feeling unsafe any time we feel uncomfortable in a situation, even if we are actually safe. Learning to stretch our comfort zones is so important as we get to practice courage. Courage is not the absence of fear, just feeling the fear and doing it anyway. Of course, we need to make sure the situation is safe, and it is our triggered anxieties making us feel unsafe, not our reality.

When we keep practicing stretching through this fear, it builds our confidence in our ability to assess situations based on reality. Then it is about learning to manage our fears. It is important to start small. For me in the past, it could be pushing myself to go into certain shops which had previously triggered anxiety. Even something that is relatively small can take some practice to feel safe in. In this way we are training our brain to perceive things differently and interrupt that anxiety cycle.

Being comfortable with feeling uncomfortable takes time, and with constant high anxiety levels, I needed a counsellor to support me with these changes. This way I had someone who supported my developing assessment abilities. Sometimes, situations we had normalised, like domestic or family violence, can actually be very unsafe and our therapist may refer to specialist services like our local Yarredi Services for further support.

With practice, support and time, we find ourselves doing things that at one point seemed impossible. Your GP can often be a good place to start for a Mental Health Care Plan if your anxiety is overwhelming, and we are fortunate in Port Lincoln to have a range of high quality services ready and willing to support us to grow.

Go gently with yourselves, we learn faster with kindness and compassion ❤

Joelle Henskche – counsellor – https://joellehentschkecounselling.com.au/

Centacare Catholic Country SA – https://www.cccsa.org.au/

Positive Future Self – https://www.positivefutureself.com.au/

Country & Outback Health – https://cobh.com.au/location/port-lincoln/

West Coast Youth & Community Services – https://www.wcycs.com.au/

LifeLine – https://www.lifeline.org.au/

Yarredi Services (local DV/FV service) – https://www.yarredi.org.au/

1800 RESPECT – https://www.1800respect.org.au/

On the Journey

I always have a hard time starting…well almost anything really. Once I am warmed up, prepared, ready, I am good. That goes for conversations, activities, challenges. To start something new always seems so difficult, sometimes almost seems impossible and then it is underway and I wonder why it seemed so hard to begin.

Years ago, in the middle of therapy that felt painful and overwhelming and never ending, I discovered and fell in love with the archetype of the Hero’s Journey. Last year recovery felt like a long way away again, not at all achievable. A kind counsellor reminded me agin of this idea and I grabbed like a lifesaver. And maybe it was. It is often so hard to untangle the different threads of possible pathways that weave through our lives. Who knows where one story or thought begins, and ends.

I do know that once I remembered the concept of the Hero’s Journey, it re-inspired me, it gave me strength and reminded me that I had experienced seemingly impossible tasks before and I had achieved them, not just achieved them, but overcome them. Also being a gamer and a D&D player from way back, it just made good sense and I had a lot of beautiful imagery in my imagination to go with my stories. Success was possible.

I remember also from last time, that I was not quite the same person afterwards as when I started. I had become, transformed, changed into something I wasn’t before. I was strengthened but softer, reinforced but more flexible, aged but younger at heart. I had grasped the Hero’s Journey concept as a better way to look at grieving and repairing and it transformed me in a way I didn’t expect.