Mental Health Monday’s | Avoidance

mental health

Hi & Happy Monday! It’s a new week which means it’s a new start for you to smash your goals and have a productive week. Starting MHM’s seems very fitting as I have recently started counselling every Monday’s (12-1) and always feel like I have a lot I like to get down on paper.

I’ve always loved writing, I feel like it is an easy way to escape and to get everything out – I don’t always re-read everything I write as sometimes when I’m in a manic state my writing seems incoherent. But, other times when I’m feeling ‘ok’, I like to read over the things I’ve written and can sometimes pinpoint where something has gone wrong or something that has made my mood plummet. I find that writing things down is much easier for me as I don’t have to communicate with anyone and tell them exactly how I’m feeling. Speaking about my feelings has always been hard, especially when you’re not given the chance for so long, then all of a sudden you have people all around you saying ”you need to talk about things, it will help”, but yet, in the back of my mind is the vicious cycle I now call the ‘consequences of my actions’. It’s something I’m beginning to learn during counselling – whilst I’m not ready to ‘talk about things’, some things can be identified early on. One of the situations I find comes up a lot is avoidance.

Avoidance of situations.

Avoidance of problems.

Avoidance of life.

I understand now that the reason I tend to avoid these is because of the cycle, and it’s something that I’ve always known. The cycle begins by the ‘what if’ thinking – the feelings of what will happen if I go ahead with plans and the opposite of what if I don’t go altogether?

From the ‘what if’ thinking, it then triggers anxiety and panic – both natural feelings we can all experience. But during these situations, it seems these feelings are heightened and are controlling what I’m doing. With the anxiousness and the panic can often lead me to feel guilty – guilty to those I’ve cancelled on, and guilty to those now have to endure my company a little bit longer.

Guilt can then lead to unfulfillment- which brings the absence of happiness and satisfaction. It begins to eat away at your heart – undermining your self worth and the things you deserve.

If I find I try to avoid situations, I can become quite snappy. Not particularly at anyone else, but myself. Angry that I’ve left this vicious cycle control my life, again. I try to fight and not let the feelings be so overbearing, but sometimes they’re just too hard to ignore. Snappiness can also lead you to feel less tolerant of people and situations – which leads to isolation. You may think you’re better off spending time on your own, or feel that it’s much easier to deal with things alone.

All of these thoughts and feelings lead to the inevitable avoidance – which then leaves us with the final feeling – the missing out. Missing out on situations can also really affect our mental state, even if it is a decision we’ve made ourself. We’re always wondering just how much they’re enjoying yourself, if they’d enjoy it half as much if you were there or if they’re enjoying it even more because you’re not there.

After identifying my thought process in situations like this, I have been trying so hard to just say ‘yes’ to one thing. Even if it is something small. So, my challenge to you this week is to do something you don’t feel comfortable with – something small. Say yes to that 10 minute walk which will get you out of the house, say yes to that drive with your friend, and say yes just because you can and because your thoughts are not going to control your life! If you manage to do something great this week, please let me know in the comments as I would love to hear all about it!

P.s – I have created my own printable for you to use to identify your vicious cycle, I really hope you can use this and help see things more clearly!

– S x

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