Comfort Zones and Anxiety Attacks

I have had so many major life changes these last few years if I were to list them I would need an Excel spreadsheet.  In fact, I did list them out for a counselor about two years ago and she just read it then looked at me and asked if I thought I needed medication.  Ha!  No.

 Change has been such a part of my life for so many years; I have truly come to think of myself like a surfer on life’s ocean.  It’s a visual I have come to hold on too when things get rough or I get in over my head.  Like a surfer, I have learned to float, to ride the waves, watch for the storms, get knocked off my board and go under swallowing water, climb back up, and now and then I get to ride the tide in and walk on the beach. 

 This year I decided to take more chances on ME.  For too many years I have been a caregiver, a people pleaser, a taxi, giving to the point of exhaustion, then giving more without taking enough time to develop my interests, follow my dreams, or having enough courage to try just for me.

 Taking more chances on me sounds great, but it’s hard work.  Even while unpacking and sorting through remnants of my parents’ lives, I have been pushing my limits in different ways, continually doing things that are outside of my comfort zone.  Oddly enough, this has sometimes caused a chain reaction of weird fears and anxiety over strange things. 

 I will be having a good day with everything going along fine and some odd senseless fear will crop up and I wonder “what the heck?” and “where’d that come from?”  The other day a friend of mine asked me to get on Skype.  I hadn’t been on Skype before and out of the blue this stupid fear of the unknown hit me, so I pushed it aside and took the plunge trying out something new.  I am still here. 

I have had a lot of creeping fear and anxiety following me around like shadows lurking, but I have been teaching myself not to give in, not to dwell on it, just see the fears for what they are – more obstacles trying to keep me from moving forward.  I put them in their place and find ways to work past them. 

 The hardest part of facing fear is the actual facing part.  Once you stare fear in the face and denounce it, it tends to shy away or disappear.  I pick up my copy of “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway,” by Susan Jeffers Phd. and remind myself now and then that life is about making choices and taking chances and our greatest underlying fear is that we won’t be able to handle things.  I love her perspective on how to balance the different areas in life and how to face fears.

Then there are my journals.  I don’t know what I would do without the journals, or how I made it without them before.  My journals are a place where I brain dump everything that is bothering me, jot down potential solutions, work out ideas, and keep track of my progress in different areas.  Journals are a valuable resource.

Comfort zones are nice, but I am in the process of changing, adapting and moving forward in a new direction.  I will take the fear and do my best to identify it, then channel it and use it to learn from and grow.  Life is a journey and I’m thankful I am still here to experience it.

Cherry Coley (c)


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21 thoughts on “Comfort Zones and Anxiety Attacks

  1. I really enjoyed this. You should focus on you more. There is nothing wrong with that. When you take care of yourself better, you are stronger and more able to deal with those in your life that need you. Thanks for checking out my site. I’m enjoying yours, too!

  2. I remember when I first left my kids’ dad, how i felt the first time I went to the store. At first It was heart-wrenching. I went from High School to getting married a year later. I was 18. I had never gone shopping on my own, without a husband and children to think about. When I left him, I still thought about my kids when I shopped, but I had an opened door…”what did ‘I’ want for dinner?”… I didn’t have a lot of money, so what I wanted was a moot point. I gathered together the usual groceries and went home, with my girls in tow. It was a relief, too, since I really didn’t know how to shop any way else. The next trip was to a local wal-mart. For whatever reason, I felt a little more empowered. It began with a candy bar for me, and continued throughout the store…a new plant for each of my girls (3 and 6) that could grow old with them, and they could take with them when they were old enough to move on their own. i bought new pj’s for myself, too. Then the thought of dinner again…”tater-tot casserole”! It was one of the greatest dinners EVER! I still battle the “want” vs. “frugality” aspect. It’s a conditioned thing, but only when needed now. I can now put that thinking in my pocket on occasion, though it’s calculatedly decided and still a difficult battle at first. It does get easier though. Your life is your own, and only for a short time. Spoil yourself! Grab a candy bar! (I recommend snickers dark chocolate…yummy!)

    • Isn’t it amazing how we don’t really talk about it much, but we all kind of go through different versions of this same thing? You don’t know what you don’t know until you come to the point you realize you don’t know it. Ha. I find myself in yet another odd phase. I have lived in survival mode for so long that now I am having to adjust to an almost normal mode. For years the kids and I lived on somewhere between $60-80 dollars worth of groceries every two weeks which meant that we ate a LOT of casseroles and spaghetti variations. Now I am trying to remember how to cook other things where I don’t have to make sure the leftovers last most of the week and finding it a challenge. Go figure. So I have decided to start fresh and learn to cook healthier. It should be fun. 🙂 Thank you for your comments!

      • I understand that one on several levels. “one battle at a time” is one mantra I remind myself of on a regular basis. My first marriage, I was allowed $20 every 2 weeks. Thank god that at the time, hamburger and pork were less than $1 a pound! lol! We had a lot of taco salad. Spaghetti was a treat when we were able to put MEAT in it! 😀 I’ll never forget those days. Still have the scars on my hands from doing laundry in the bath tub! Days get better and so do our lives.

  3. I love the image of the surfer, I’m going to use that from now on when I feel off or anxious, thanks for the post, I needed it. Happy Saturday!

  4. I love a quote by Denis Waitley, “A dream is your creative vision for your life in the future. You must break out of your current comfort zone and become comfortable with the unfamiliar and the unknown.” Comfortable with the un-comfortable can be really freeing. Too bad we don’t try that more often.

  5. You are right, it is freeing, and scary at times, but well worth it and the more you reach out the more different doors open along the way,. Thanks for the comments and encouragement!

  6. Fear is something that can really get in the way… but I remember hearing an acronym about fear.
    F alse
    E vidence
    A ppearing
    R eal
    Mostly I find that the anticipation of something is always more powerful than the actual experience and my own anxiety can blow things out of proportion. Helps to remember that, for me anyway.

  7. Pingback: Overcoming the Fear of the Unknown | Business Article Exclusives

  8. Pingback: Get your Head In The Game « Dr. Sherry E. Showalter – "Keepin It Real"

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