“I don’t feel well.”
“I don’t have enough time.”
“The kids need me.”
“I can’t figure it out.”
“I’ll get some sleep now and do it in the morning.”
Excuses. I am a master of making excuses, creating diversions, and avoiding the inevitable. This has been one of the damaging coping mechanisms that I’ve employed through the years in dealing with my OCD. When life became too painful, too challenging, or too frightening, I simply found ways to opt out. I’d feign illness to stay home from school, call in sick to work, cancel plans with friends hours before, miss appointments, ignore phone calls and text messages. Anything to avoid confronting the anxiety that I might be feeling in a given moment. Anything to avoid the possibility that I might not produce a perfect result.
But do you know what avoidance is? It is a giant tank of helium that inflates your worries until they whisk you off into a dark sky. It is a monster that lurks in your closet and whispers about all the things you should be doing through a crack in the door. It is an alarm that never stops ringing no matter how far away you run. Avoidance has cost me friends, precious memories, achievements, and time that I will never get back.
So now I’m quite intentional in my quest to, ironically, avoid avoidance. If I feel myself wanting to run away from confronting something or going somewhere, that is all the more reason for me to push myself to do it. It took every shred of motivational power in my body to plant myself behind this keyboard tonight to type out these simple words to you–but that little avoidance monster was whispering from my closet, reminding me that I want so badly to be a participant in NaBloPoMo, a challenge that requires bloggers to post an entry a day for the entire month of November. So here I am, sitting on my bed with a fussy baby with a full diaper, and a squirmy toddler who is whining for my attention, but I am not going to use that as an excuse to stop me from shooting for this goal.
I’ve committed myself to the cause of increasing mental health awareness, and I will use these next 30 days to do just that by chronicling my experiences with OCD, anxiety, clinical depression, PTSD, PPA and PPD. Nothing–not my job, my fiancé, my babies, my extended family, election day, the holidays, my tendency toward avoidance–will stop me from completing NaBloPoMo. Away we go; avoidance be damned!