• All donations and upgrades are manually verified and approved within 24hrs.
  • Upgrades are ongoing. Learn how to save your bookmarked posts.

Identifying avoidance

Thread starter #1
This is a difficult subject for me, in that I never identified what I do/don't do as avoidance. I've really tried lately to look at my reactions to the world and see if I am avoiding. Wow...there are so many things. And it was brought up in therapy today. I don't think I've ever made the clear connection between avoidance and anxiety in me until today.

As we are required to self-isolate these days, I find myself avoiding *anything* I could be doing outside. Like...taking a walk. Or just going out the door for fresh air. And I absolutely do not want to do anything that involves being around people. We talked today about utilizing my patio (which I've probably been out on maybe 3x in the last almost 8 years). I have no furniture out there (an excuse, I know), but it's very quiet except for the birds and opens onto woods, which are so pretty.

He even suggested taking my laptop out while we were on the call. Oh lord. I was like...um, no. Lots of anxiety associated with that. But we talked about doing small things, like sitting inside at the patio door for awhile or just walking out and back in. His idea was that small steps will make it easier to do the bigger thing.

I'm thinking about it.
 
#3
Yep. That tie to anxiety is HUGE.

It’s one of the things that frustrates me most, about normal life. I LIKE living off my instincts... if it feels right/wrong? Trust that. Do that. But my instincts are all OFF in normal life. Emergencies? I can trust my instincts. Normal life? I can’t. So I have a rule. I have to do everything I’m afraid of. Eventually. It helps tone down the regulation-via-avoidance thing. IE my body learns it can’t just shoot anxiety through me to get me to avoid something stressful. Instead? I’m going to f*cking do it. I’ll make allowances or my body running high in low (like trying to drive 10 miles an hour in 5th gear, I just stall out. Or 100mph in 1st, the engine screams, and then I stall out. Being in the wrong gear? f*cking sucks. But I can work around that)... by moderating my stress downward/ blowing off steam/ taking extra time. But I’m going to do it. In little pieces, here and there, easing myself into it when the reaction is running hot, and in longer segments as I learn to recognize and strategize and cope.
 
Thread starter #4
So I have a rule. I have to do everything I’m afraid of.
Oh, I definitely do this! It's not always a conscious "I need to do xyz." But it's take-a-deep-breath-and-tell-myself-to-just-do-it. I think there's also a kind of haziness or lack of focus when I am at this point. Interesting.

So...I borrowed chairs from my mom (keeping that now-sacred 6 foot space). I had to take my cat for chemo, so I stopped on the way home. She also had a little wooden crate I can use for my feet. They are still in the car, but...baby steps. :-)
 
Thread starter #5
I'm discovering other things I do that I thought were just "normal" and no indication of any sort of problem. Like, I HAVE to have the TV on at all times...not to watch, but just to have the noise. I've been trying to be in my place in silence this week and it's HARD. My anxiety level goes up exponentially. The more I do it, though, the easier it gets. I don't like it, but it's easier.
 
#6
I can relate to this thread. I find I feel more normalized since everyone else needs to isolate also, though for different reasons than I usually do. I have to work hard not to go down into the pit emotionally. I have to turn off the news at a certain point several times a day. The hike with my dog is most valuable and can go on for 3 hours in the woods. I have blocked some family members on facebook since there is so much activity and I realize they trigger me. I have not had them in my life for years but just seeing them on facebook all the time needed to end. I am really feeling the depth of my distancing myself from interactions with others at a new level. Somehow I must be OK with who I have become. When all this is over, I really want to find ways that I feel I can be emotionally safe and give back to my community at the same time. Where I am now is like social isolation on steroids as I notice myself shutting off the available means of interaction that others are using during a pandemic. I want nothing to do with all of that. I came to this site today as I feel fine about interaction on this site with fellow PTSDers. Don't know if this makes sense to anyone but needed to stae where i am right now in the midst of a world crisis.
 
Thread starter #8
Gods, I am noticing that I avoid a LOT of stuff; nearly everything I don't do is because there is anxiety associated with it. This all seemed normal to me, but I guess it's not? I guess it's good that I am noticing it, but it kind of makes me feel crazier than I already did. Like, I avoid going out/up to get my mail in the afternoon, because I'm afraid I'll run into someone. And I avoid vacations to places with water because I might have to tell whoever I'm with that I can't swim or, worse, that I'm terrified of water. And I avoid also, BECAUSE I'm terrified of water and I get flashbacks around it.

Oh, and I avoid going out now anywhere I have to wear a mask. Triggering.

But doesn't everybody avoid stuff so they don't have to deal with things that create anxiety?
 
#9
But doesn't everybody avoid stuff so they don't have to deal with things that create anxiety?
Nope.

(Almost) Everyone experiences anxiety... but anxiety rising to the level of not being able to deal with or do things that you want to, should do, or need to? That’s when it hits “symptom” level. Anxiety, for most people in most situations, is irritating, not crippling.

If that seems incomprehensible? Think for a moment about pop-culture. What are the things that people get so anxious about they reach out to friends to help them through it / it’s considered “normal” to need moral support? Getting tested for cancer, reading a life altering letter (like getting admitted to university, being approved to adopt, last wills and testaments), going to court for divorce, going to court for big deal felony type charges, weddings, funerals, births.... BIG DEAL life stuff. Not answering a phone, getting the mail, buying groceries, and other normal daily life actives.

And even that big deal life stuff? They don’t avoid & can still do on their own, even if they’d prefer to have someone holding their hand, they’re still perfectly capable of taking a deep breath and doing it solo.

As opposed to anxiety disorders, or disorders with anxiety as a symptom... where not only are anxiety creating situations avoided, but even with all the moral support in the world, often just. can’t. be. accomplished. Or can only be accomplished after meltdowns, suicidal ideation, bouts of depression, rage storms, self hatred/self loathing, panic attacks, and then finaaaaaally? Hours/Days/Weeks/Months/Years later? Is the thing accomplished.
 
#10
I totally relate to the anxiety it causes when i walk out the door and cringe at the thought of another human being seeing me or a possible interaction. I know where it comes from (way long ago) but knowing does not help the feelings of anxiety and disassociation i experience daily after all these years. Pep talks to myself gets me to the car. I just keep telling myself there is nothing to fear, it is all in my mind, so do not feel alone..... i am so glad there is this site so i can see that i am not the only one having these intense, debilitatio
 
Thread starter #11
And even that big deal life stuff? They don’t avoid & can still do on their own, even if they’d prefer to have someone holding their hand, they’re still perfectly capable of taking a deep breath and doing it solo.

As opposed to anxiety disorders, or disorders with anxiety as a symptom... where not only are anxiety creating situations avoided, but even with all the moral support in the world, often just. can’t. be. accomplished.
Yeah, I get what you're saying here. I guess I was thinking about things like...people who are anxious about going to the doctor because they're afraid s/he'll find something wrong so they just don't. Ever. Support from someone else or not. In someone normally not anxious otherwise. But in this instance, it's off the chain.
 

ladee

MyPTSD Pro
#12
I find it harder to face my anxiety if I am depressed. I am depressed right now, part of the grieving I'm going thru. But I HAD to go to the store the other day. I was exhausted by the time I got back home. Anxiety was at a high level and depression keeping me from concentrating on what I needed and to get out of that store all in one piece.

But I do make myself face my anxiety. I am on meds for it so that helps. I did notice I was breathing fast and my mask was looking like I was trying to blow up a balloon! I've learned to tune out other reactions to my skittishness. I won't see these people again and if I did they won't remember me. Hopefully.

But one that kicks my ass is taking my garbage to the dumpster!! It is so ridiculous it makes me laugh at myself, sometimes. I really have to work on getting that done. It seems insurmountable at times.

When I do accomplish something like that, I do pat myself on the back because I realize what it took to do such a simple task. And try to shut the noise up that tells me how exhausting it was.

I just have to make myself do things in increments. I would love to not be this way, but I am.

And congrats on bringing home the chairs and footstool. Baby steps. I spend a lot of time on my little back porch. It does help.
 
Top Bottom