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  • Writer's pictureClaire Wortley


Updated: Nov 22, 2020

I cannot count how many times I have chosen the safe choice and to remain my comfort zone. This is not unusual for someone who has struggled with ill mental health. In fact most people are happy to find their comfort zone and stay there regardless of health, mental or otherwise.

Of course we all know an adrenaline junkie or two who loves extreme sports and thrives on the rush of risky or dangerous behaviour.

I can't place myself in this category because I feel nauseous just thinking about a children's fairground ride let alone trying the adult ones.

Comfort zones........I have them and at times they have had to include almost everything being as safe as possible in my life. The fact that I couldn't rely on my body and mind to be safe was scary enough so I did my best to make everything else safe. I tried to control as much as possible(which we all know is not a win win attitude) and lived my life by the book. Because I lived in fear of the next panic attack or low mood the thought of anything unpredictable was terrifying and could possibly be the very thing that broke me completely and I couldn't let that happen. Surely insanity was just waiting around the next corner?!

Despite fearing food, sleep, people, my own brain, bla bla bla............. I have manged to make big changes in my life. The two most recent are the two most exciting and productive.

The first was to move to Bonnie Scotland to live with my long-term partner. We had managed to maintain a long distance relationship for 8 years and now our kids were old enough for this change to be made. It had been very difficult at times with other people trying to fill us both with insecurities. Mind you I certainly had enough of those already. Anyhooo I moved to the Scottish Highlands to start living with my fella which was great.

I was still dealing with the aftershock of a bout of crippling anxiety so this wasn't all flowers and hearts. It took a while for my appetite to settle and for my nerves to follow suit. Also anyone who has children will know that you never stop worrying about them or having them return to the nest for a wee while between jobs etc.

Soon after I moved up I wanted some work. Nothing too demanding and especially one that gave me a break from people (having worked in a school for 15 years I had dealt with a lot of people). I felt my brain needed recovery time from selling my flat and gradually moving all my belongings up to Scotland in my fab wee punto.

Amazing how much you can 'safely' fit in a punto

I found a job as a housekeeper doing weekend changeovers of holiday cottages. The cottages were situated in beautiful grounds and the staff were friendly and easy to work with. This job was brilliant in that it was just what I needed.

I worked, at most 3 days a week and once I was totally settled in I found the other days left me twiddling my thumbs,with too much time to over think. I was also healing and able to take on more so I took a chance and put a post on Facebook.

It said something along the lines of 'I have a laptop and a few hours free a week to work if anyone needs me?'

Within 24 hours a friend of mine came back to me with a temporary job proposal. I was amazed at how quickly this had manifested. The job was for 6 months, with the possibility of more work after. I took it! I continued with my other job for a while but was then offered more hours so said my goodbyes to the housekeeping work.


The new job is amazing and not just because of all the lovely people I have met but because of how it has tried me. Had I ever known that being taken out of your comfort zone could fee so good I would have tried it more often. I had to learn things quickly, re-learn old things and learn to be okay with whatever was around the corner. So to be clear it is not necessarily the job but it is the way the job challenges me, stretches me and encourages me.

I never realised how empowered I could feel by uncertainty. It had always been a thing to fear! So whenever I hear myself say to the words 'I can't deal with this right now' it raises a red flag for me that says I need to remember that the chances are I can deal with it, maybe not right now but I can control how I work and my attitude towards it . To learn not to fear challenges is a huge life lesson for me and one that makes me very happy.

All the best.



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