Heads up: This blog post is very 2007, OG-blogger-esque. If you kids wondered what blog posts were like back then, this is a good representation. If you know, you know.

Heads up #2: This is one of those posts that remind me why I have this personal space for my words. If you were expecting a real message here, there are none and are mostly words for me.

📸 From the archives. Portugal, 2017.

You aren’t here and I’m facing it alone.

I sometimes forget how big of a step moving is.

When I first moved away from my home in Sheffield, I had trouble adjusting.

Eventually, it got better.

But even moving once a year to another apartment in Leeds was hard.

Eventually, I got used to packing my stuff into boxes every year.

Last year, I may have cheated with this process by asking my family to help me pack up what was left whilst I was on the road with everything I actually needed on my back.

Avoiding the difficult emotions is a common theme in my life. That time was no different, but it finally caught up to me (as it always does) when I came back to the UK. I cried like a baby in the library I was working remotely from where I picked up the phone and asked, “Did we do the right thing?”

I sometimes forget how big of a step packing up my life, living from my bags, and leaving my family, friends, and support network. I beat myself up when I can’t do something that I feel like I “should” be able to.

Has it got better? A little bit. Have I got better? Definitely.

I’m trying to prove something.

Everyone keeps reminding me that I don’t have to prove anything to anyone.

These days, I sometimes find myself in this thought cycle:

“Why am I here? Am I trying to prove that I’m OK and that I can run solo… Heck, even in a completely different country!? That will show them?! Who are they? Who even cares?”

Maybe traveling around was a distraction. Maybe all the dates were a distraction. Maybe chasing the push-and-pull “connection” with the guy that followed me to an island was a distraction.

I’m avoiding the difficult emotions again.

The past few months all happened so fast and so intensely that I didn’t have time to fully process it all. As I come across new, challenging experiences the difficult emotions are right in my face and I realize that I still have work to do to accept, let go, and make the steps to heal.

I’m afraid.

The anxiety that I thought I beat in 2016 with my “monk mode” lifestyle returned. Since the start of this year, I’ve spent at least once a week on the floor panicking about the anxiety that was controlling my mind and body. Without my trusted support network around me and my safe environment, my first panic attack in years felt even more crippling.

When I look back at journal entries recently to try and find the pattern of my triggers, uncertainty seems to be the main cause. That makes sense, right? That’s what anxiety is after all.

I did everything in my power to get rid of the anxiety as quickly as possible. The more I avoided it, the more it caused distress.

However, as I dig deeper, it’s all rooted in losing sight of what brings me joy, not having good any boundaries, and living in worse-case scenarios that are not actually happening.

Everybody just expects me to bounce back, just like that.

These days it takes so much effort to shift my thinking to be more positive.

With that said though, I try. Everyday.

There have been so many times I have taken the easy route to point fingers and blame others for whatever caused my uneasiness. You know, to avoid responsibility. However, if I’m being honest with myself, it’s not even about other people anymore and everything to do with me.

It’s the stories I tell myself.

It’s me letting unhelpful thoughts take the steering wheel and acting out.

It’s letting him cross all my lines and back in.

Admitting all of this very publicly in a post feels like exposing a part of my mind that isn’t as perfect as the pixels we see online.

And I know, you may be thinking, “Well, at least you’re aware” which is always the first step but it’s the part after that I struggle with. It’s the actual work of accepting, letting go, quitting, and making a conscious effort to try to be better by enforcing boundaries and taking responsibility.

It’s finally time to face it.

Life has been a lot, recently.

I’m trying to cut myself some slack because I know that I always come out of these dips. No matter what, I get out of them better.

Right now, my top priority is to do a factory reset with gentle, loving kindness and finally, face it.

📸 From the archives. New York City, 24th of June 2017.

4 responses to “Avoidance”

  1. Hugs

    I deal with anxiety from my PTSD, and people don’t understand that it’s chronic and have it long time while trying to find good ways to minimalize the symptoms.

    And we can be easy on ourselves just from the last three years…and in general. That’s self care. Take care of yourself no matter what.

  2. I have PTSD and high anxiety and as Michelle said, a lot of people don’t understand that, as it is an “invisible” illness. Self-care is just now beginning to be normalized, and it seems you have taken it to heart.
    Life has a way of kicking you when you’re down, and it’s sometimes difficult to “dust yourself off”but you seem to be gaining a better perspective as time goes on.

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