Avoidance: The Catalyst for Mental Health Issues
If you’re like me, you may occasionally enjoy pushing the boundaries of space and time by putting off the least desirable things on your to do list to the last possible minute. Every time this happens I berate myself a little for waiting as long as I did and then I wonder, why didn’t I just do this earlier? But I ignore answering this question until the next time I’m “waiting” to do something.
Waiting and avoidance are not the same things. One is a planned and intentional posture towards an event or problem. The other is actively or passively circumventing the issues until a later time. I don’t have beef with real waiting. But I do with avoidance.
Avoidance is a constant foe I meet with on a day to day basis in sessions with others. What makes avoidance so terrible you may ask? It’s sneaky and tough and disguises itself in many ways that at first you might not even be aware that what you’re doing is avoiding. But really what it is, is that avoidance of the difficult things doesn’t help you. It makes it much worse. It’s the spark that ignites your increased feelings of anxiety, depression, relational distress, and escaping patterns of behavior. It will even make you feel worse about you.
Avoidance tends to be the match that sets some major mental health issues aflame. For example if you’re somebody who has experienced anxiety you might know that it’s easy to avoid the things that make you scared. If you’ve got social anxiety, you may avoid being vulnerable with others or putting yourself out there. But every time you avoid you are cementing into your brain the fact that “that thing” is threatening, when it’s possibly not. It could be exactly what you need to lower that anxiety and leave it behind.
I know it’s scary to stop avoiding. I know it can be easier to turn away and distract and numb until it’s out of sight and then out of mind. But it serves only as a bandaid. And bandaids don’t last very long. A first session can be one the scariest, but my hope is that you see that avoidance isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.
You’re worth being brave for.
If you have any questions or want to talk about setting up a first appointment, give us a call. We’d be happy to help you kick avoidance to curb.