Getting past avoidance

Friday

Moderator
Which is technically true, but also, as much as this post makes it sound like I don't, I do wanna like not be like this. I dunno how to get past my subconscious "Okay, so if things pop in, let them so OMG DONT LET ANYTHING POP IN!" So I'm open to suggestions, a "omg right me too", or like anything. Cos I feel like I'm being an absolute douche by not embracing every
One thing to keep in mind... and this may sound like rationalizing, but it’s not... restore the breathing, stop the bleeding, check for wounds, & haul ass (for help).

^^^ Basic first aid ^^^ Right?

Except? There are times you ignore that, and go out of order. Like if there’s a missing limb, you crunch tourniquet that, because restoring the breathing is useless when there’s no blood to carry it. (Or siphon tourneqet that if there’s help nearby, to save the limb, but my life it’s twist until crunch). Or if there’s a sucking chest wound, you can’t restore the breathing until you’ve slapped some plastic on it, or your own breath is just taking the long route out, instead of into their blood.

There’s Pure Avoidance. Yep. Got that. In spades.
There’s ALSO Avoidance-As-A-Coping-Mechanism.

((I told ya, it’s about to sound like the Queen of Justification land in holding court, but bear with me.))

Avoidance-As-A-Coping-Mechanism? Is self-regulatory. It means that (whilst working hoooooooow many 12hr shifts in a row??? Or dealing with umpteen different kinds of other stress) you don’t fall to pieces & rapidly decompensate... but remain functional. Or at least, marginally functional. It’s -overall- a good thing. An instinctive or subconscious recognition of “too much” and moderating downward.

Are there better ways? YEP. Set up your life to the point where avoidance as-a-coping-mechanism is a tell, rather than situation? Normal. Is that always possible? Pfft. Not hardly. The trick? IME? Is 2 fold. First? Learn to differentiate when you’re using avoidance as a coping mechanism, versus being thumped upside the head with a symptom. Second? Take appropriate steps. Whether that’s downgrading the stress in your life (and NOT adding to it), or flanking the avoidance. Which depends on the situation at hand. Choose wrongly, and there are some BigBad consequences. Expect those, as you’re learning to differentiate.

Meaning? Sure, trauma avoidance is a symptom that needs to be worked with. However, stress management is also reeeeally key. There’s a balance between those 2. Very much worth talking with your T about.
 

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
I still look at the feelings wheel. Try and think of what feelings there are and then sort of guess what my feeling might be that I might feel and see if that 'clicks' inside. Bit of guess work
I look at it sometimes, but it feels a lot like a cognitive exercise, not anything related to feelings. Like "this is going on therefore I probably feel..." and not really related to whatever. Like I know angry and frustrated, and lowkey anxious, but outside of that I'm like "huh, dunno, maybe that? Cos other people say they feel that?" And it gets insanely frustrated.
Avoidance-As-A-Coping-Mechanism? Is self-regulatory. It means that (whilst working hoooooooow many 12hr shifts in a row??? Or dealing with umpteen different kinds of other stress) you don’t fall to pieces & rapidly decompensate... but remain functional. Or at least, marginally functional. It’s -overall- a good thing. An instinctive or subconscious recognition of “too much” and moderating downward
Heh, yeah, I just finished my last 12.5 hour shift pre annual leave, so um.. 12? Which is too many, I get that. And it's why I'm banned from overtime for now, unless I need it (I don't.)
Are there better ways? YEP. Set up your life to the point where avoidance as-a-coping-mechanism is a tell, rather than situation?
What do you mean? Sorry, I'm stupid today. Can you rephrase or?
Meaning? Sure, trauma avoidance is a symptom that needs to be worked with. However, stress management is also reeeeally key. There’s a balance between those 2. Very much worth talking with your T about.
Yeah, spoke to him about it. And he was like "make a list of everything you do for avoidance", and like nothing specific, I'll work and see friends and tidy and make complicated dinners, all things I'd potentially do *anyway*, so there's no real list of things so it's more of a "why am I doing these normal things? Am I doing them excessively or to a normal degree?" And obv I have normal lowkey life stress, work can be a shitshow, kids mum can be a shitshow, police crap, my own family etc. But eh, I guess I'll work it out.

Thanks for reply yeh :)
 

Movingforward10

MyPTSD Pro
And he was like "make a list of everything you do for avoidance", and like nothing specific, I'll work and see friends and tidy and make complicated dinners, all
Maybe these aren't things to avoid feelings? As you would get feelings doing these things? It might be more internal?
My T said that avoiding feelings is a feeling that is masking another feeling underneath. I get what she says cognitively but like you say, it's hard to 'feel' that.
I get what you say with the feelings wheel because that's the place to start. But then taking a moment to listen to your body? What is it telling you? Sitting with it all for a while and seeing what comes?
But maybe start with something small rather than something linked to trauma. Something maybe that you think should make you feel happy or a positive feeling? And trying to work that out?
 

Freida

Sponsor
I totally forgot this - but at my last meet with VA T before she went on leave she used "feeling faces" cards. As in, she would ask about whatever, then hold up cards with faces and different emotions until I could find the one that made the most sense to how I felt.

the hope is that if I start acknowledging one specific emotion I will eventually be able to feel it without being flooded by all the others.

Its kind of like coming at the avoidance backwards and tricking my brain into avoiding the avoidance. Will be interesting to see how it works when she comes back.
 

Chris-duck

MyPTSD Pro
As you would get feelings doing these things? It might be more internal?
I actually don't really feel anything, ever. Unless it's really strong. Like last time I felt excited was when I got a job 4 years ago, last time I was aware of feeling happy was a holiday 3 years ago. Like I don't appear to discriminate in my lack of feeling whatever, I just don't unless shit is really good or really bad. I'm like meh 99% of the time.
But then taking a moment to listen to your body? What is it telling you? Sitting with it all for a while and seeing what comes?
Omg, so obv I've had to do this as homework and it's a f*cking shitshow. Body scans btw, worst thing. Like start at my toes, okay, reach my thighs and I'm like nope I'm out, hit my belly and I'm like I just wanna puke cos you just went from thighs to crotch and now I wanna puke, so lungs, awesome, I'm breathing, neck, okay neck was fine, but now I feel like I'm being strangled, thanks for that.. and okay head, I'm mostly annoyed by this point.

Even without the focus on specific parts, listening to my body, not a thing I can do without spiralling. Like okay, that's fun info, I *hate* my body, not even necessarily it's physical characteristics, but the fact it's something I'm meant to be aware of. I'm not sure I've moved past referring to it as a flesh prison, even if I won't actually usually bother to verbalise that, heh.
But maybe start with something small rather than something linked to trauma. Something maybe that you think should make you feel happy or a positive feeling? And trying to work that out?
Yeah, except it's meant to connect me to my trauma, and make me read it less like a random news article. Like I can totally tell happy stories the same way, but that's not affecting me the same way. Like the aim is to feel like shit, essentially. I'm sure I'm paraphrasing, but barely.
I totally forgot this - but at my last meet with VA T before she went on leave she used "feeling faces" cards. As in, she would ask about whatever, then hold up cards with faces and different emotions until I could find the one that made the most sense to how I felt
I think the "good" and "bad" feelings thing is too much of a thing for me, like I can do colour scales cos colours are neutral but 1-10 and sad to happy faces all have judgement to me. Like 1 or sad is bad, 10 or happy is good. So there's too much filtering in my brain of what is actually accurate, and is that melodramatic and is it even true, how does that compare and blahblahblah if I am using a scale that rates as "bad to good" in my brain.
Although tbf as someone who grew up in a house where *every* emotion was "excited" and excited meant good or bad, like "that's exciting" or "OMFG why the f*ck you getting so excited?!" you'd think I'd have less judgement.
 

Freida

Sponsor
LOL no this is more like showing me a face and having me try to decide the emotion it is showing and then asking me if I can relate to it. Angry sad, happy, concerned, blah blah. It's been pretty shocking to realize I have a hard time figuring it out.

Like start at my toes, okay, reach my thighs and I'm like nope I'm out, hit my belly and I'm like I just wanna puke cos you just went from thighs to crotch and now I wanna puke, so lungs, awesome, I'm breathing, neck, okay neck was fine, but now I feel like I'm being strangled, thanks for that.. and okay head, I'm mostly annoyed by this point.
holy crap I know right!??? I've never made it thru a whole scan. Ever. helloooo dissociation!
 
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