We all have our own “comfort zone.” It may be an actual place or an emotional place. The Gathering Place encompasses both. The Gathering Pace is a community of peers; a safe and trauma free environment. Our house at 1001 Cherry St. is our sanctuary. The Gathering Place promotes involvement in the outside community as well. It is important to go out and participate, contribute and belong.
I recently attended a weekend retreat in Tomahawk for the nine Peer Run Organizations in the State and one of three Peer Run Respites. I believe we all stepped out of our comfort zone. One attendee had not left her hometown in four years. She commented “Travel and Schizophrenia don’t go well together.” There is something to that.
The radius around the home can become smaller and smaller. Some living with mental illness are challenged with even leaving the house. In extreme cases this becomes a phobia. It is healthy to work towards living in the “outside.” If you have the transportation, and want to experience something new, cross the border into another state. Upper Michigan is not that far away.
Many individuals have established a comfort zone to better cope with the symptoms of mental illness. Panic attacks are extreme and immobilizing. Wherever you are and whatever you are doing during a panic attack makes you avoid similar future experience at all costs. The fear of another panic attack keeps a person from stepping out of his comfort zone. The fear snow balls and causes more fears. Challenge these fears as difficult as it is.
Life happens outside your comfort zone. If all you ever do is strive to stay wrapped up in your little cocoon, keeping warm and cozy, you may be missing out on quite a lot. You may miss out on new experiences, challenges, and risks. You may miss out on life!
—By Susan C. Mader, MSSW
Your “real life” is out there waiting for you. Your real life exists beyond the bubble of your own personal thoughts, feelings, and beliefs. Challenge yourself by venturing outside of your own familiar world. Taking risks regardless of their outcome, are growing experiences. Leaving your comfort zone ultimately helps you to deal with change. And looking at the bigger picture of life, if you can’t step out of your comfort zone you may experience difficulty making change or transitioning, growing, and ultimately, transforming; in other words, all those things that define who you are and give your life personal meaning.
By Susan Mader, MSSW, Executive Director