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How do you avoid avoidance?

Thread starter #1
I am so tired of living in a cluttered home. I just don't feel like doing ANYTHING. Dust is in a lot of places, even though I do dust occasionally. I live in an apartment, so it is getting awful crowded in here. I want to donate to charity, what I no longer use. However it is so hard to ask someone to drive me there. Also, I have no clue which thrift stores are open and taking donations. So I am kind of at a standstill on this project. Any suggestions?
 

joeylittle

Administrator
#2
Have you made a list of the steps you'd need to take, in order to address the clutter?

Sometimes writing it all out can help you then attack it, one step at a time. Even if you need to push yourself to just do one thing on the list every day, you might find that the feeling of getting things done (even small things) starts to build into something positive.
 
#4
Avoidance as a PTSD symptom?

Meaning that something about the project is either a trigger/stressor or is raising your stress-cup levels?

- StressCup = I need to be bleeding as much stress as I’m rising, and preferably a bit more. Concentrated effort. Before, during, & after. Very close management.

- Trigger/Stressor = I have to decide exactly how willing I am to either start chipping away at that trigger/stressor -vs- sucking it up and dealing with the fallout of being triggered in order to do the thing with the trigger/stressor at full strength. (For example, knocking back some emergency meds before starting, or spending the next few days/weeks symptomatic as f*ck).
 
#5
Very funny. I know it’s serious though. It’s being stuck in my opinion or “failure to flourish”. It’s common in everyone but can become a pathology in us. I can’t do much. I was stuck in exactly this way at 6 years old I was thinking that this morning and planning to journal about it.

I can do the housework and stuff, little things. Repetitive things. But there is a stop in my mind or feelings. I’m not allowed. It’s hard even to try and talk about it.
 
Thread starter #6
I started that list of what needs to be done. I have three items on it so far. Even though it is only a list, I get this overwhelmed kind of thing happen to me and I shut down. I see my T tomorrow, so we certainly will discuss this. Thanks all, for your ideas and experiences. Reading them gives me some hope.
 

grit

MyPTSD Pro
#7
First of all avoidance as mental energy, you are not avoiding since you are thinking of many creative ways to do something that you so far do not see how to. So that is a good start. If you were struggling a mental avoidance, you would avoid thinking about it and that can cause more havoc, dissociation, depressive episodes and the likes....just to give you alternative way of looking at this.
You are trying to do something good but lack the resources i.e. drive or physical help.
Not sure where you are in the world, but there are donations that pick up stuff (though covid days now not sure how this works). In practical things (that you are already exploring), you could put something out in your building if there is a place where people can take them...add a note to let them know it is safe, clean and looking for a good home etc.

In the emotional arena, my personal go to is acknowledge the avoidance, try to see where it lands in the body and most of the time, I find I am avoiding feelings of rage and aggression - the holy grail of my issues and then...boom body recognizes I poked the beehive and I relax. The truth often sets me free!
 
#8
Funnily enough yesterday was the first day I noticed this part of the forum. Avoidance by not noticing? It helped me get off the couch and record my comedy routine and record it. I put it into my computer and the lighting needs some work and I need to relax a bit more. I have set up a You Tube channel so next take should be OK to upload. My next goal is to go to open mike nights in Sydney or Melbourne.
 
#9
I am so tired of living in a cluttered home. I just don't feel like doing ANYTHING. Dust is in a lot of places, even though I do dust occasionally. I live in an apartment, so it is getting awful crowded in here. I want to donate to charity, what I no longer use. However it is so hard to ask someone to drive me there. Also, I have no clue which thrift stores are open and taking donations. So I am kind of at a standstill on this project. Any suggestions?
My therapist and I worked on this A LOT as there was so much clutter and really, just trash everywhere, it looked like a hoarders home. I had dishes piled up sky high even though I have a dishwasher. I had boxes and crap piled up on one of my couches so that there was only one place to sit. My walk in closet was piled from front to back and higher then I stood. It wasn't because I was a hoarder but I think it reflected my depression. I had 4 roach nests in here, the biggest in my kitchen where I had left a raised dog bowl thing (one of those where you were supposed to put the dog food inside the plastic tub and it had a top where the bowls sat). It was like an inch too tall so I couldn't use it and so I put it aside in the kitchen and piled shit on top of it and it got really nasty. Like hundreds of roaches, babies, and eggs lived behind it. I had boxes that food came in like cereal boxes piled over all my counters and on my stove all the way up to the stove hood. Both of my cats stopped using the litter box when they got older and they peed all over the bedroom carpet. I also had trouble cleaning out the cat box and apparently didn't have the care to keep up with it so the entire thing became one big solid brick. Which is partly why the litter box stopped being used, I think.

I'm so embarrassed now how bad it got. And I defentantly avoided cleaning. It was way too overwhelming so this was a topic in therapy a lot. My therapist helped me focus on just one thing. Like, just focus on the stuff on the couch. Or just focus on the dishes. And I even had to go smaller then that because it was still too much. So we had to break it down to just clean out one box. Just do 3 dishes. I have a dishwasher so just fill that once. And then don't do anymore. It worked and worked well. What I found is if I put on some music, as I started to go, I got into a groove and did way more then I originally even thought I could. I threw out most stuff. But it took a while. I used my spare room to put things I wanted to keep but couldn't put away yet as the place it was to go needed to be cleaned and trash needed to be thrown away so I would just throw things in that room, not caring how as I would organize it as I got areas clean. Now the dishes are never in the sink. I always put away dishes that are clean from the dishwasher right away and put dirty ones in there as I go. The living room is cleaned and kept clean. I then tackled my walk in closet as I was working from home. A little at a time. A box at a time. Then I would tackle a box at a time of the stuff in the guest room. Now both are 100% clean and very organized and I do a good job of keeping it that way. It is crazy to see my house now and remember how it was.

So, to tackle house cleaning is to focus on one small bit at a time to stop from being overwhelmed. It doesn't all need to be cleaned this second, you know? It's not a race but a slow marathon. It took me around a year to clean the entire house. Hundreds of bags of trash. Ok, maybe hyperbolic but it was a ton. It is ok to clean one tiny area at a time. Or just clean out only this one box. Or only do these few dishes. Or just sweep this one small area. Today I often can't vacuum, sweep, and mop. It's only one of those that I can do, due to pain. So, I pick one, and do that one. On another day I will do the other. And on another day, another. And its not often days close together. If I see an area that needs sweeping badly, I will take a few minutes and only sweep that one small area. I actually wrote out what I was doing as I was doing it in my diary. Its many pages back but it will give you an idea of what I mean. Put on some good motivating music and just focus on one small thing at a time.

I hope that helped some. I feel you on this, a lot. This was me like a year or so ago. Unable to even move around my house without going around stuff or stepping over stuff and now with a cleaned house. I still plan on getting rid of furniture, I just can't drag a full sized couch and a king sized bed out of the apartment on my own so will need to figure out someone that can help me. But I am still not done. But super proud of having a clean house now. I think that feeling proud helps motivate you too.
 
Thread starter #10
My therapist and I worked on this A LOT as there was so much clutter and really, just trash everywhere, it looked like a hoarders home. I had dishes piled up sky high even though I have a dishwasher. I had boxes and crap piled up on one of my couches so that there was only one place to sit. My walk in closet was piled from front to back and higher then I stood. It wasn't because I was a hoarder but I think it reflected my depression. I had 4 roach nests in here, the biggest in my kitchen where I had left a raised dog bowl thing (one of those where you were supposed to put the dog food inside the plastic tub and it had a top where the bowls sat). It was like an inch too tall so I couldn't use it and so I put it aside in the kitchen and piled shit on top of it and it got really nasty. Like hundreds of roaches, babies, and eggs lived behind it. I had boxes that food came in like cereal boxes piled over all my counters and on my stove all the way up to the stove hood. Both of my cats stopped using the litter box when they got older and they peed all over the bedroom carpet. I also had trouble cleaning out the cat box and apparently didn't have the care to keep up with it so the entire thing became one big solid brick. Which is partly why the litter box stopped being used, I think.

I'm so embarrassed now how bad it got. And I defentantly avoided cleaning. It was way too overwhelming so this was a topic in therapy a lot. My therapist helped me focus on just one thing. Like, just focus on the stuff on the couch. Or just focus on the dishes. And I even had to go smaller then that because it was still too much. So we had to break it down to just clean out one box. Just do 3 dishes. I have a dishwasher so just fill that once. And then don't do anymore. It worked and worked well. What I found is if I put on some music, as I started to go, I got into a groove and did way more then I originally even thought I could. I threw out most stuff. But it took a while. I used my spare room to put things I wanted to keep but couldn't put away yet as the place it was to go needed to be cleaned and trash needed to be thrown away so I would just throw things in that room, not caring how as I would organize it as I got areas clean. Now the dishes are never in the sink. I always put away dishes that are clean from the dishwasher right away and put dirty ones in there as I go. The living room is cleaned and kept clean. I then tackled my walk in closet as I was working from home. A little at a time. A box at a time. Then I would tackle a box at a time of the stuff in the guest room. Now both are 100% clean and very organized and I do a good job of keeping it that way. It is crazy to see my house now and remember how it was.

So, to tackle house cleaning is to focus on one small bit at a time to stop from being overwhelmed. It doesn't all need to be cleaned this second, you know? It's not a race but a slow marathon. It took me around a year to clean the entire house. Hundreds of bags of trash. Ok, maybe hyperbolic but it was a ton. It is ok to clean one tiny area at a time. Or just clean out only this one box. Or only do these few dishes. Or just sweep this one small area. Today I often can't vacuum, sweep, and mop. It's only one of those that I can do, due to pain. So, I pick one, and do that one. On another day I will do the other. And on another day, another. And its not often days close together. If I see an area that needs sweeping badly, I will take a few minutes and only sweep that one small area. I actually wrote out what I was doing as I was doing it in my diary. Its many pages back but it will give you an idea of what I mean. Put on some good motivating music and just focus on one small thing at a time.

I hope that helped some. I feel you on this, a lot. This was me like a year or so ago. Unable to even move around my house without going around stuff or stepping over stuff and now with a cleaned house. I still plan on getting rid of furniture, I just can't drag a full sized couch and a king sized bed out of the apartment on my own so will need to figure out someone that can help me. But I am still not done. But super proud of having a clean house now. I think that feeling proud helps motivate you too.
Thanks for sharing your experience with me. I have not started yet, but you sure do inspire me to do so.
 
#11
Thanks for sharing your experience with me. I have not started yet, but you sure do inspire me to do so.
I watch a lot of organizing videos on YouTube and without even planning on it, it motivates me to get up and get that one small cleaning task done. And a lot of diary entries are "I wasn't planning on it but I did XYZ cleaning today" and it was because that video motivated me to get up and get a small task done. So, maybe find some good organizational videos that will motivate you? I don't know if organizational videos motivates everyone but I think half the battle with avoidance is finding what motivates you, you know?
 
Thread starter #12
I started. I did not start with the first item on my list. I realized if I can do anything, I should. So I did.

For years I have had a shoe tote hanging on my closet door. The shoes that were in it were ones that I no longer wear. Meanwhile the shoes I have been wearing have been hanging around under my bed. So I threw out the old ones and put the newer ones in the shoe tote.
 
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