Why "71º & Sunny?"

I consider 71º to be the perfect temperature. Not too cold and not too hot. I also love perfect sunny days. The vast majority of days are not 71º & Sunny and yet, all days were created by God's hand and they are still gifts, even if they don't fit my ridiculous definition of perfection. My struggle with OCD has at times imprisoned me in an impossible attempt to achieve perfection. I'm now learning to love all kinds of days that don't even come close to 71º & Sunny.

Please leave me a comment below. I really want to know what you are thinking!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Avoidance Works

It's true. Avoidance does work. So does stuffing my face with food so I don't have to feel any emotional pain. Drinking works for lots of people in order to dull their suffering. Yes, all these things serve their purpose of helping us keep the pain away - for a little while. Some time ago, my psychologist explained to me that there are "benefits" to these behaviors, or else we would never engage in them to begin with. The problem is that these poor coping strategies don't take care of the underlying problem, and of course, they leave a wake of devastation of their own.

I was reminded again today of why avoidance is my worst enemy, although it seems like my best friend in the short run. My husband and I spent several hours this afternoon dealing with some things around the house that I had been putting off for months and months. Oh, it was hard! I must admit that I complained the entire time.

I know, I must embrace the idea of dealing with things head on if I'm to continue making progress against the OCD. It has to be a lifestyle change. I always, and I mean, always, regret avoidance. Maybe one of these days I'll finally make that lifestyle change.

21 comments:

  1. But I love avoidance! :)
    I don't always regret avoiding things. Sometimes I get frustrated because things can pile up that way. And sometimes things get ruined because I didn't get to them in time. But other times, I just don't have the mental or physical energy to deal right then and so I avoid or put off things for another time.

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    1. Oh, I know - I love avoidance too, Kristina! That's my problem. ha ha

      I totally hear you - things do get really piled up, and then I get overwhelmed and then I really avoid it because it's turned into this horrible project, and then it gets more piled up, etc., etc. That's exactly what happened yesterday. I finally had to deal with that stuff. It sure wasn't fun. We're still not done with everything - but we're working on it.

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  2. Oh yes, we used survival methods the best we could to withstand our pain. I am sure our avoidance of facing past memories and OCD have similar traits? Thank you dear one for sharing. Safe hugs always.

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    1. I like how you call it survival methods, JBR. It really is survival, isn't it? We do what we can to get by. I think you are right - there are similarities for both of us. It's just really painful and so we try to put off dealing with it. In the long run though, it sure does seem to sneak back up on you.

      Hugs to you too.

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  3. I always aim for the baby steps mentality. It helps a bit, that way things don't get too out of hand that I will be too overwhelmed dealing with them. I guess I've been so tormented by avoiding things throughout my life that I have now adopted the 'get it over with' mentality.

    Love your new picture by the way, you look great!

    Ally (aka Yaya)

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    1. Hey Ally! I agree - baby steps is definitely a better way to deal with stuff. It's hard for me to approach things that way though because I struggle with all or nothing thinking so much. My husband is forever reminding me to do baby steps as well. It's just so difficult for me to approach things that way. Ugh.

      Aw, thanks for your kind words!

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  4. Yes, but it's hard. But I also know from years of experience that avoiding something now makes it just that much harder to try it the next time.

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    1. See, Ann, that's the thing that really bugs me. I KNOW that avoiding it will make it harder to try next time too, but I STILL keep doing it. Sometimes I think I have a really thick head. I've actually been really impressed with how you really try so hard not to avoid. I wish I was as disciplined and strong as you.

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    2. haha, no, I do the same thing! The relief I feel when I've successfully avoided may be short term but it is real!

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  5. You and me both, girl...I've had a hard time getting my husband to see that compulsive eating really DOES make me feel better – yes, it only works for a little while, and it makes things worse in the long run, but for just a bit, I feel completely relieved of my anxiety, depression, or whatever else is going on.

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    1. I'm really struggling with my eating now, Jean, so I can really relate to a lot of stuff that you've shared on your blog. The strange thing is that it seems like my mouth is an endless vacuum for food. It's never enough and it doesn't really satisfy. I think it's an avoidance strategy in two ways - the overeating numbs the painful feelings, and if I'm busy eating I can avoid doing this or that other chore that I'm afraid of doing because of the OCD. I even think that in some ways, I've substituted eating for some of the compulsions I no longer perform. Um, not a good swap!

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  6. I think avoidance in relation to fears (like OCD) can make the fear worse, just like any other compulsion. However, dealing with the past, maybe I wouldn't even call that avoidance, because I usually try to deal with it sometimes, until I reach the point where I'm stuck, and then I mentally set it aside (if possible) because I just don't know how to deal with it yet.

    The dishes that I've been avoiding, though... gotta do them, hopefully today!

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    1. Actually, I think you make a really good point, Abigail. Sometimes we can make a purposeful decision to "avoid," and maybe it's not really avoiding, because we've decided that dealing with that particular thing at that time may be too much, but if we make a plan to deal with it when we are stronger, then, maybe it's just a strategy for how to tackle stuff. As long as we don't do that with everything - which I'm really tempted to do, of course!

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  7. Avoidance is the best tactic.

    Honestly.

    It's just being totally and utterly addicted to, and reliant upon, avoidance which is the problem.

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    1. I've never thought about it that way, Kate. I think you could absolutely classify me as being utterly addicted to and reliant upon avoidance! It's the reason why I didn't realize how severe my OCD was. It wasn't until my psychologist pointed out that avoidance was a compulsion that I had any idea the control OCD had over my life. I actually didn't believe her that avoidance was a compulsion at first. But of course, I started realizing how much I couldn't do and then it started to make sense.

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  8. Oh, avoidance and I are good friends--at least until the consequences come, and then I am mad that I practiced avoidance. So I can relate to this so much.

    I'm glad you did face some things and accomplish some things. Even though it was hard, that piece of avoidance is gone.

    I think like anything else, practice makes better. The more we practice not avoiding for avoidance sake, the better we'll get at it.

    It's funny, but my next blog post is about pushing through something I avoided for a lonnnnnnggggg time.

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    1. Oh, I can't wait to read your post, Tina!

      Well, I think you could say that avoidance and I are "frenemies." It seems like a good friend, but the next thing I know - it's laughing at me behind my back! Ah, you are reminding me of something that I always say - practice, practice, practice! And, you are so right. It's like anything else - you have to exercise it like a muscle or it gets out of shape. I have to say though, that I'm a bit tired of exercising! ha ha

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  9. Great post, Sunny, but you always seem so hard on yourself. Even though avoiding avoidance :) can be a lifestyle change, as you say, I don't see it as all or nothing. it seems to me you've been working toward that goal and making progress: You did not avoid therapy and from many of your posts, we've read about difficult situations you've tackled, not avoided. Those are my thoughts, for what they're worth!

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    1. You're sweet, Janet, thanks. I like that - "avoiding avoidance!" Once again, you are right - I am being all or nothing and I need to take it one little step at a time. I just get frustrated with my progress at times. It's funny, because I DID avoid therapy - for 13 years! I'm glad I finally faced it.

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  10. I think we all do avoidance and then wish we had not but maybe it is a process we go through to then face things head on. I know we must face pain or things we find hard because otherwise we cannot overcome. However as I am experiencing at the moment that is a lot easier said than done.

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    1. Oh, it's so much easier said than done. Avoidance is something I have to fight literally every day of my life, and it can get weary. I'm sorry you are struggling so much right now.

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