Anxiety, Avoidance, and Accountability

Heyyyyy. It’s been a while.

And despite the fact that I have so many things I want to say and to share, I haven’t been able to bring myself to post them here. I have been feeling a burst of anxiety again these past few weeks. It sucks.

Today is particularly anxiety-filled. I’ve been working on a few things in therapy and nutrition counselling (with a non-diet dietician, @rachaelhartleyrd) that have brought up some hard memories and emotions. I could feel my anxiety creeping up the scale the past 2 weeks, but I couldn’t pinpoint what it was stemming from. I was trying to be open, non-judgemental, and mindful about my anxiety… But those efforts got lost in my day to day life (can you say avoidance, anyone?)

Then, sitting in church today, it hit me. I had a particularly hard memory resurface earlier this month and I have been trying to shove it back down. Unsuccessfully, of course. I’ve been engaging in numbing coping mechanisms. I’ve been shirking my responsibilities. I’ve been more emotionally distant. I was hoping the anxiety would just go away.

Yeah, it doesn’t do that. Instead, the anxiety finds another way to get noticed.

So it doesn’t surprise me that last night I had a really triggering dream. I can’t remember the details, but I do know this much: in various settings 3 people who love and respect me were acting in an unkind way. They were mocking me. They were talking about me as if I was crazy.

I tried to talk to them, but they turned away. I ran after them, but they ignored me. I screamed and they shared a look of disgust. I started engaging in more dramatic behaviors — hitting, clawing, crying, swearing, begging — but they just laughed at me.

And then I woke up. All morning I’ve been trying to process this. A deep feeling of hurt and bubbling anxiety has made it really hard to feel comfortable in my own skin.

I made it through the morning okay, but once we arrived to church I felt so claustrophobic. I felt like I was see-through. I couldn’t hold it in anymore, so I excused myself and sat outside pondering. In a moment of understanding, I put it all together. 

I realized that without even thinking about it, I had been avoiding FEELING and PROCESSING. I’ve let my mental clutter (and physical clutter, my house is a mess) pile up and I’ve just been avoiding looking in that corner of my mind. I have 73 tabs open on my computer, yes I counted. I got 24 books from the library this week. I’ve been watching more Netflix than normal. I haven’t been sleeping well at night– but then I’ve been napping more during the day. I’ve been much more irritable. I’ve been online shopping more, trying to fill the void. All of these things are my real life examples of AVOIDANCE. And it hasn’t worked. It never works.

So here I am, committing to take the rest of the day to process. To clean. To ponder. To feel. To reach out. To speak up. To meditate. To do the things I need to do. And thank goodness I have therapy in a few days because I still have a lot of work to do in this department!