Making Friends with the Discomfort

I’ve had a difficult few weeks – physical discomfort, intense procrastination patterns, unease: moderately intense post-traumatic stress.

Last weekend I completed the second Somatic Experiencing class session, Beginning II. It was a good class, and I felt more regulated at the end of it than when I started. But even then I did not feel great, more like “pretty much ok”.

My realization today is that the discomfort of post-traumatic stress is not going to go away quickly or easily. I should already know that. But my focus has been around finding various tools, resources, approaches to make that discomfort go away. That’s a reasonable approach but I’m thinking that it may not be enough. Because the discomfort is not going to go away quickly, so in addition to trying to get rid of it, I also need to work out how to live with it in a way that works better than what I have done so far.

I had the thought that I need to “get comfortable” with the discomfort. But I don’t think that’s right – or wise – to try. Discomfort is not comfortable. And if I somehow make it comfortable I may be deceiving myself in the process. That is not going to make healing easier.

So instead I believe that I need to make friends with my discomfort. All of the discomfort of post-traumatic stress is here to tell me something. The discomfort showed up during the original trauma in an attempt to cause me to take self-protective action of some sort. And it got stuck. And I have been fighting – to either hide this discomfort from myself – or to make it go away. I have been protesting and complaining that I don’t want to feel this discomfort anymore. The fighting doesn’t help. If I can have the discomfort without fighting it, if I can make friends with the discomfort, then there will be more room for me to experience joy, ease, and pleasure, even if the discomfort is still there. And there will be more room for me to move in ways that will facilitate the discomfort ultimately leaving.

I feel uncomfortable – jagged – sad – overwhelmed – I feel like something is constantly pushing me, both from the inside and from the outside. That is happening, and it keeps happening – if not constantly then anyway a lot. Hello, Jagged, Hi, Overwhelmed. Why don’t you pull up a chair? It looks like we might be hanging out for a while. So make yourselves comfortable. OK, you maybe can’t do that either. But have a cup of tea and let’s see what happens when we hang out and chill out and get to know each other better, or get to know each other in a new way.

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