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You have to be comfortable with discomfort. Thursday December 26, 2013

"The comfort zone is always the most desirable place to be. But in settling for comfort, there is a price to pay and it comes in the death of ambition, of hope, of youth and the death of self." Simon Barnes, The Times.

We all too often seek 'comfort' instead of growth and in doing so choose to attempt to stay 'safe', which means (as in any organism), that we are choosing atrophy and 'death' over life!

If we are feeling down, this seeking of safety becomes even more limiting. In the 22 bouts of depression I have had (where for me chemicals have never worked) each bout has only lifted with me embracing something in the future and thus 'believing' that there actually is a future.

In NLP terms I needed to move 'towards' something and not just attempt to 'move away' from something.

This is to have (or create) some form of meaning in the future, almost for me, committing to believe there is life out there for me yet - and to shift, albeit psychologically painful, from where I may not even be able to move out of a room, never mind the house!

So I LOVE this quote from Simon Barnes and it is true whether for a person, a family, a team, an organisation, a community or the planet.

Great truths work in every situation...because they are just that - great truths. Just think - in a couple of weeks, none of the skin you presently have will be there - and in around nine months few if any of the cells in your body (I believe) will be there either - so who will you be? Only your spirit really remains...

Everything constantly changes and the only constant in life is CHANGE and it is not and never was helpful to attempt to hang on and seek comfort. In doing so you are 'dying' and your spirit with you.

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Diana Thu, Dec 26th 2013 @ 8:55am

Brilliant ! ! ! !

Julia Thu, Dec 26th 2013 @ 10:15am

This resonates so well with me today. I said to myself this morning I cannot carry on like this. Something has got to change. Yesterday was a very difficult day for me. I felt totally unable to connect with anyone. I was surrounded by family! On Christmas day! Awful. When we got home, I spent an hour or so and after that intermittently returning to the thought,oh dear what a failure I am, surely my family must think I am so dull and serious, not able to string two words together coherently (and I hadn't drunk much!) etc etc etc.I must break out from this whirlpool which is sucking me down. I know it will get better as much as I know it will get bad again. I also know that the build up to Christmas and Christmas itself is always a period of insomnia, stress and anxiety for me. But this has gone on for too long. So Les thank you for this. I must move towards something but not away from something. So no dramatic changes? More like a target or an ambition, an aim? (BTW I never read Simon Barnes in the Times. I thought he was a bird expert and occasionally wrote other pieces which I imagined wouldn't interest me. I will look out for him in the future).

Julia Thu, Dec 26th 2013 @ 10:20am

Actually, "the death of self" part of Simon Barnes quote is the most meaningful part for me. I have just re read your blog. I do feel as if my true self, my independent spirit if you like has gradually eroded over the years as I have tried to fit in with everyone else. Easier to do when you are low but difficult to live with long term.

Robert Thu, Dec 26th 2013 @ 10:45am

As someone who has been diagnosed as a Type 2 Manic Depressive, I understand where you are coming from but to stay in ones comfort zone is not necessarily a bad thing.I was brought up by my grandparents almost from birth joining a family of six.I attended five different schools and, eight different house moves ,all within the first 16 years of my life. This did not help my sense of worth, or security. I did not see my biological father until I was nine.Biological mother was in the background she had returned to work not interested in me. I saw her recently and she said " I was always trouble" that is another knock back which I do not understand.

Anonymous Thu, Dec 26th 2013 @ 11:45am

I am so uncomfortable and so depressed that today, I have taken to my bed. I am living in the most glorious part of the world; it is utterly stunning; the only sounds I hear from my bedroom window - open even in December as it is so mild - is bird song and the constant rush of a mountain stream.

Lucky? I should say so!
Count my blessings? 10 million and counting.....

I live with 2 wonderful people who love me; my civil partner and a friend who believes we can do better together as a community of three than as a couple and a single living small lives....

All is good.

I spent the most wonderful day yesterday, walking through our wood....we have oaks, hazel, holly, streams and cascades, rocks and standing stones......ravens fly overhead; re kites, too. We have discovered we have at least one Peregrine Falcon living in our wood. Woodpeckers, tree creepers and nuthatches - plus the usual tits - coal, blue, Great and Long Tailed - feed daiy at our many bird feeding stations. We've seen Gold Finches, but they have yet to discover our store of niger seeds....

I should pull myself together. I'm weeping with the counting of my blessings....I'm working towards something, not fleeing from...I'm doing everything possible....

I've taken to my bed. I want to die. today, please, if possible. Just quietly and without a great deal of fuss.

Anonymous Thu, Dec 26th 2013 @ 3:48pm


For me it was a blast. Fewer times had I read something so inspiring and with such a power towards live.
This will be my north for 2014.
Love you for what you´ve done.
Thank you,

Elizabeth Thu, Dec 26th 2013 @ 6:54pm

Hello,I am very sorry for you having such a hard day. Not really a blog for you today, eh?

Me too, I have the experience that when really down, all my blessings do not matter. That is not your fault; and surely there is a reason behind your feelings, though you do not know it. Don't be hard on yourself. Maybe it helps to sleep a little, to draw a picture of your feelings, to ask your friend or partner for help, or whatever idea you may have ... Even if not, for sure this will pass and you will have the most wonderfull day again. I wish you to be better soon!

Lynda Wise Thu, Dec 26th 2013 @ 7:46pm

Thank you for this reminder. I despise depression. It steals so much from us all. Thank you for your reminders.

Anonymous Thu, Dec 26th 2013 @ 10:50pm

Hang on in there! We are all rooting for you! Christmas is such a wonderful time of blessing - yet can be also so horrible. Too many unrealistic expectations. Elizabeth has plenty of sound advice which is worth following. Wish me luck as I tackle my alcoholic sister tomorrow ... Frankie
P.S. how's the sleep pattern Julia?

Anonymous Fri, Dec 27th 2013 @ 12:31am

Elizabeth, thank you for your reply to this post. I read it, wanted to say something but didn't know what to say. You're reply is so good and I hope it helps.

Julia Fri, Dec 27th 2013 @ 9:10am

Hi Frankie
Thank you for asking. My sleep pattern is not good to put it mildly. I am seeing my GP on the 30th. It's horrendous really right now but I am hoping once this "festive" period is over, I will get back to a reasonable pattern of sleep. How are you? I do hope today is not too stressful with your sister although it sounds as if it will be. Be strong and can you walk away if she gets too difficult? It sounds a harsh thing to do but I am sure over the years you will have tried everything with her. Speak soon. X

Julia Fri, Dec 27th 2013 @ 9:54am

Sorry Frankie..I have been meaning to ask you.. do you feel lethargic the next day after taking an Amitryptylene? And if you do, do you get used to it after a while? I did take it once and felt terrible during the day. I put on weight and could hardly function but I think those side effects must decrease over time. Don't worry about replying today if you are too tired and stressed out. It's always lovely to hear from you though.(We are out all day, battling with the trains and disruption down here but needs must. A Christmas family visit)X

Anonymous Fri, Dec 27th 2013 @ 10:46pm

Hi Julia - thanks for your reply which means a lot to me. Glad to hear you are seeing your GP - do let me know (IF you want! - really no pressure) how you get on. No I don't feel lethargic the following day - but I only take 5 mg. RE: weight - didn't notice putting on weight with amitryptylene; but I did put on weight with steroids for my chronic fatigue; however the 5:2 fasting diet (Michael Moseley) is really helping - I have lost 5 kg in 5 months!

The plan was that my sister would be here at my mother's on our return (with my mother who spent Christmas with us) but she isn't here - "gastroenteritis" is the excuse but we all suspect it's the drink. Christmas has for years been spoilt by her drinking - so much so that my youngest sister will no longer have anything to do with Christmas - not even a secret santa at work ... We wait to see if she appears tomorrow (Saturday). I have been (for once!) proactive and arranged to see friends tomorrow - for ME!!! If she appears (during my absence) perhaps she will AT LAST understand that WE ALL HAVE OUR OWN LIVES to LEAD and that she must take her place (rather than centre stage as in the past). Does that count as "walking away if she gets too difficult"? I think so - do hope you agree - I need all the encouragement I can get! Yes we have tried everything - but I think that on the plus side we are all being more honest about the situation (20+ years down the line) which does help... I am sitting here at too late and crying again for my beautiful talented warm-hearted sister who just can't see her many gifts and pull herself out of her hole of alcoholism and low self-esteem ...

Sorry, I am obviously upset and taking it out on you! or Moodscope blog or something...

I have been angry for so long - and I also feel so sad - both parts of the important grieving process I know ... just wish I didn't have to do it...

Thank-you Julia for being there - please reply if you read this ...
I will let you know how tomorrow goes (will she come or will she go?!!!)

Julia Sat, Dec 28th 2013 @ 10:11am

Dear Frankie
Your plan to do things for yourself sounds a good one for today. Try to enjoy your day. I had/have an anorexic sister. She started to diet when I was 9 or 10, she was 13 or 14. As a family we tried and tried to help her; oh the ways we tried to get her to eat! It robbed me of my childhood after I was 10 and indeed I sacrificed a postgraduate career so that I could be near my poor mother who was still trying to cope with my sister. My father seemed to cope better but was unable to help my mother cope. I am telling you this as a way of saying that I do understand how frustrating and totally emotionally draining it is to deal with an illness like alcoholism (and anorexia). I felt a failure as my sister got hospitalised and deteriorated. Even I couldn't help her! She did get through but at what cost to the rest of the family and her three husbands who had to deal with her. I don't want to write more about anorexia and the effect it has on close family as there may be anorexics on moodscope. My view after years of trying to help is not one, anorexics will want to hear. SO... my sister sort of pulled through.. she is not fully recovered but not so thin, still obsessed with her health and food though..and I think it was our love and support despite EVERYTHING that got her where she is today and not dead. I moved away,as far as I could from the family home and remained far away but of course was plagued with frantic phone calls about my sister on a regular basis, one the day before I was getting married. I think you should just carry on as you are but little by little, distance your thoughts about how you can help your sister; you cannot help her to recover. Only she can do this. You can love her and not desert her but don't try to help her anymore. It hasn't helped. She is still an alcoholic and you are stressed out and anxious about her every day. The family dynamics I had to live in has affected my moods to this day. Nowadays my sister still plays the drama queen and I get panicky calls from her current husband to say she has been rushed into hospital always with an anorexic related illness but I don't react for a couple of days. She is always OK! She just needs some attention which she doesn't get so much of now she is no longer officially anorexic and both my parents are dead.So the occasional A&E visit meets her need for attention. Yes I sound hard but it's the only way for me now in relation to my sister.
I do wish you courage Frankie. But let her be. Let her sort out her life herself while at the same time show her love even though you may hate her at times.But don't try to help her find a solution. She will eventually find the solution herself. Be a detached onlooker, don't desert her but from now on, all the looking after must be for yourself. Xx

Anonymous Sat, Dec 28th 2013 @ 5:40pm

i like the part that the only constant in life is change. every time i get settled and think things are ok something changes and it rocks me bad. i'm trying little by little to tell myself this is how life will always be, things change and you have to accept (sooner rather than later if you can). if possible try and embrace the change as something for good. bad changes will need to be accepted over time.i do try and leave my comfort zone also and always feel better once i have. today isn't a great day as i write but tomorrow should be better. i wish everyone well

Anonymous Sat, Dec 28th 2013 @ 11:36pm

Hello Julia; thank-you for sharing so much with me and such a lot resonates; as I type my sister is around so I can't say much now; she has arrived and seems ok ish - for now. "Drama queen" - too true ...and your final paragraph rings true - I know in my head that you are right and I must be a detached onlooker - but my heart pulls me towards her ... then I get sucked in ... then I get cross with myself ... I'm sure you recognise the cycle. My latest thinking is that my anger and sadness are actually expressions of love for her .. and that helps ... sort of ...
Bye for now ... Frankie

Lostinspace Sun, Dec 29th 2013 @ 3:37am

Brilliant blog. A very uncomfortable wake up call for me. Let's see if I can get back to it later and try and find a way to get really uncomfortable!
After all I am pretty uncomfortable with my life now, so why not go out on a limb -only I have no idea what to do but hope if I apply the little grey cells it may come to me and without hurting others who expect me to stay right in my present zone and not rock the boat.

Anonymous Sun, Dec 29th 2013 @ 5:22am

Is there any chance of a link to the original article by Simon Barnes?

Julia Sun, Dec 29th 2013 @ 9:29am

Hello Frankie. I am glad your sister was OK. Your anger and sadness are expressions of love for her you are right. This was my conclusion too with my sister. Please don't feel you have to write any more unless you want to. I do know how constantly exhausting it is for you dealing with this. I am always here. xx

les Morgan Sun, Dec 29th 2013 @ 11:34am

The date I have on the original quote is February 6th if you can search The Times and Simon Barnes for that could work....or maybe even with the quote and the author....????

Good luck

Anonymous Sun, Dec 29th 2013 @ 11:47pm

Thanks Julia - have just pushed for (and got) a good day with my sister; she was stone cold sober this morning so I begged her to come shopping with me for new work clothes (playing to her strengths - clothes shopping is a chore which I hate but she loves and is very good at). She came: mission accomplished! on several levels; a positive experience for her - helping me; for me a time with my "old" sister plus new work clothes - win:win all round! I realise of course that next time she could be drunk again but my hope is that if she remembers positive experiences it might just give her the strength she needs to fight her problems ... THANK-YOU Julia for being there; for "listening" and for sharing what must be painful memories: good luck with GP tomorrow ... I will think of you ... Frankie

Julia Mon, Dec 30th 2013 @ 4:13pm

Well done Frankie. What a very lucky girl your sister is to have you. I wanted to write to you to say I have got the amitryptylene! Well I handed in the prescription request this morning and will collect it tomorrow. My GP said it was useful for insomnia but wasn't licensed for it. But he didn't hesitate to let me try it. I have 28 x10mg. I know you take 5mg so hopefully I can halve the tablet. I have only you to thank for this! xx

Anonymous Fri, Jan 3rd 2014 @ 8:57pm

Loved It ....made me cry because it's so true

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