It never really feels like avoidance to me.
It often feels like:
finding the next best thing to do (there’s always something to be done)
bring so busy with things to do (that are so close to what I need to do they almost seem useful)
helping others (while continually telling myself that I’ll be fine)
But it’s never avoiding - even when I consciously know I’m doing it. Hell, I don’t even call it procrastinating anymore, because I can continue living as if the thing I’m avoiding doesn’t even exist (all while I do nothing else even related to it, as if my growing anxiety isn’t real either).
I wonder if for me, there’s been a hefty element of denial added to the mix.
Denial that I need to attend to a task.
Denial that the thing I want to do matters enough to do it
Denial that I might need help
Denial that my needs matter enough to express them
Denial that there is avoidance.
Avoidance is a very challenging thing for me. It permeates my whole life, but I’m so good at it, you’d rarely see it. You’d never know it.
The avoidance comes with so many logical reasons as to why something doesn’t need to be done, confronted or dealt with, it’s almost soothing. It doesn’t need much convincing or reason. It happens even before I have a chance to be with what’s under it. I’ve internalised it as if it’s a part of who I am. Avoiding feels so natural to me, it’s almost like breathing.
Avoidance just is.
Because the more I avoid, the more normal it feels. It comes up so fast that the anxiety that drives it doesn’t even feel visible. Doesn’t even seem real. Sometimes it happens so fast, I can even deny that anxiety is even there. The avoidance and all that it declares is the sensible thing to do, takes over - as if there’s no other option. And when the anxiety seemingly disappears from the avoidance, it’s almost as if it was the right thing to do.
Then, it’s easier to engage in again.
Even as I’m doing nothing I actually want or need to do.
Even as I watch the things I’ve worked for fall apart.
Even as nothing in my life changes.
Avoidance will have me believing I’m doing the next best thing for myself. Denial will have me believing anything noticed about the avoidance as not being true.
Most of the time, I struggle to see myself or what’s possible for me beyond either of them.
What are your experiences with avoidance? How are you finding more self-awareness amidst the need to avoid?
Goodness does this resonate in my soul. One of my biggest struggles regarding this topic is discerning whether I'm avoiding because I know my limits or because of a sense of complacency & comfortability; of course, this is also accompanied by wondering if there's room to expand my limits & what that might resemble.
Oof. Nods. I've been toying with the idea the last few years or so that avoidance, for me, is a sign I'm overwhelmed or that I don't actually want to do the thing or am not on the best path for me. And for better or worse, probably for the worse, have moved toward the direction of doing as little as possible which then, I hope, brings forward the things I do want to do. There are obviously some things that I never really want to do, like the dishes and clean the toilet and pay the bills, but for the bigger stuff, like how I spend my time, there's been a vast improvement.
I have some leeway: I'm single and no kids, but am living like a pauper in my parents' basement, which can be severely problematic emotionally as much as it removes the responsibility of rent. Mixed bag. I know it sounds very privileged, and I'm grateful I have some resources, but I burned out into deep depressions so many times in whatever typical path I took, that I had to find a different one. I'm just hoping that it all leads to some kind of livable income before too long.
I hope you're finding whatever you need.