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Rubiroo
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On 12/4/2017 at 9:06 AM, ValarMaiar said:

You're doing much better than you think you are. Well done :)

Thanks Valar. It’s pretty difficult to acknowledge what I’m doing well when it’s so easy to look at what needs development. 

I’m having a bit of a down day so far today. Was having an “overall” look at how my life is going and just seems like I’m barely holding it together. I only have one close friend and they live in Germany, I’m more or less dependent on my family and feel more like a parasite than I’m reciprocating value. I’m getting a bit tubby from the supermarket pizzas for dinner and no exercise outside of the walking during my commute and being on my feet all day. I average about 12’000 steps. I keep making mistakes at work which are easily avoidable and I have this fear that my brother is going to get fed up and fire me and kick me out of his house. Hell, I don’t even brush my teeth that often.

I’m not happy with where my life is and when I look at what I’m not satisfied with it feels like I’m dancing on the razor’s edge, ready to slip.

But, that view doesn’t bring into account the things that are going well for me. I’ve been eating my own cooked lunches and been eating a good breakfast 95% of mornings, I’m not gaming all day every day. I only seem to game when something really stressful is going on, so that’s actually pretty good as it’s no longer a go to whenever I get home or wake up. I’m learning what makes me feel better and I do little things like put the dishes away and tidy the place up and that feels good. I’ve got a reasonably good sleep schedule, it’s just negatively impacted by the dinner I have so I don’t get as good a rest as I could. I wake up feeling quite tired.

I think this is a reminder that I need to acknowledge the good things I’m doing in my life so that I don’t focus on what’s wrong constantly and drive myself further down the well. 

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I have a large variety of avoidance tactics and they are great at helping me avoid the pain that resides below. These avoidance techniques are holding me back from being a truly competent person and are making my life miserable. I choose to employ these techniques because I believe that it is better or safer than learning to live with the pain. The purpose for therapy is to get to that pain and feel what has been avoided and repressed. Once that pain has been brought up to the surface and made real once again the goal then becomes to live with that pain. 

To help me get to that pain I need to write a list of what my avoidance techniques are and update it when I find something new.  

I need to acknowledge when I am in avoidance mode. In order to do this my phone gives me breathing updates with affirmations which help with checking. Other things I’ve done is ask whether what I’m doing is “productive” but really I’m asking whether I’m avoiding something. Other ways to help with avoidance is to have a more intentional day. Have a routine for when I wake up and when I get home. Those are the times where I’m most vulnerable to checking out. 

When I discover I am in avoidance mode I want to explore why I am avoiding and what it is that I am. To do this I can write like I am now, just sit and think, get my recorder going and speak out loud, and visualise.

 I think it’s important to acknowledge that avoidance techniques can be appropriate. But I am not at the point where I can start making exceptions. Practicing requires starting simple and introducing complexity as competency and understanding improves. Start simple and start easy. 

    1. Write a list of avoidance techniques
    • Gaming
    • YouTube
    • Reading
    • Podcasts
    • Surfing
    • Guitar playing
    • Food choices
    • Music
    2. Increase awareness of avoidance
    • Body checking
    • Phone reminders
    • Plan a routine
    3. Explore what I’m avoiding
    • Writing
    • Thinking
    • Talking
    4. Rinse and repeat.

I’m in a lot of pain currently. I might be losing my closest friend and other than them I won’t have anyone outside of my family that I can talk to. I’m feeling a deep sense of loneliness and that carries with it a lot of fear. I’m not doubt quite depressed currently and it’s a shame that it takes an event like this to take action, but I made that choice and so they are my consequences that I must take responsibility for. My therapist and I discussed what “processing” really is and that conversation is what sparked all of this. So despite all my hours going into therapy I’m shorting my gains by not taking action to stop the avoidance and be with the pain. I’ve been catching myself in small bouts of sadness throughout the day and  trying to tell myself “It’s okay to be sad” and “This is the work. Be with this.”

I don’t know if it’s the right thing, but I’m going to have faith in it because the avoiding really isn’t working anymore. All my avoiding is doing now is eroding my life away and the edge of the cliff is just too close for comfort.

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I want to avoid this pain because it is so big. I know that it hurts a lot and it makes sense that I do not want to feel it if I can. It’s understandable that if such pain can be avoided that I will. But this is only a temporary measure and isn’t suitable for long term growth. Avoiding the pain works in every moment that I avoid, but that doesn’t address or relieve the pain for the years moving forward. Neglecting this pain inhibits other aspects of my life and is causing a great deal of frustration and pain. 

To start begin the real work, when I get home this evening I will not go onto YouTube or Facebook. I will have an evening free of my laptop as I focus on the healing that needs to start. I will choose from a few activities to do. One of which will be a walk and later followed by meditation to calm me, then I will attempt the bring the pain into the present and just be with it. The purpose of therapy is to explore experiences in the present and the past to bring up the pain so it may be relived. If I do this outside of therapy then perhaps I can accelerate the process.

Currently I have two reminders of recent memory that tell me how big this pain is. One was with two friends in Wellington last year. It was so incredibly difficult to hold in the pain that the dams nearly burst while I was on the bus home. When I got a hug from them what came out was just unbelievable. Unfathomable that something so painful and raw could be sitting within me all this time. The other was after a therapy session where I felt incredibly angry and exhausted. I was walking and barely able to move at one point. Like I was trudging through waist high mud. Every step required so much effort and at one point I stood still in the rain feeling like I could fall there and never get up again. 

If I don’t relieve myself of this pain I can’t imagine how much heavier it could get.  Can’t imagine what another blunder will do to me. I’m already carrying too much. It’s already too heavy. 

Avoiding this pain just isn’t worth it anymore.  

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