Aug 11 • 4M

150. Life WILL Interrupt Your Avoidance

Why not start interrupting it on your own terms today?

Open in playerListen on);
Wake up every morning to a hot cup of anxiety support, empowerment, education, and inspiration in your inbox. The Anxious Morning is written and recorded by Drew Linsalata.
Episode details

One of the more heartbreaking questions I get asked all the time will come from someone that has been in total avoidance and retreat mode for an extended period of time. Often the person is totally housebound, unable to leave their safe zone for more than a very short period of time or can’t go very far from home. Sometimes the person asking has been engineering life for years so that they are rarely if ever alone because they are terrified of that.

Then life happens. A partner takes a new job out of the home or an hour across town. Maybe there’s a vacation coming up, or a family function like a wedding. Maybe there are medical or dental issues that must be taken care of. For whatever reason, life comes stomping through the avoidance zone and is about to drag this person outside the safety bubble they’ve been living in for quite some time.

The question is almost always the same.

“Any tips or advice for how to handle this?”

This is a heartbreaking question because while I could answer with some kind of platitude about being a warrior, the fact of the matter is that this is a very challenging situation that will be difficult, and there are no real “tips” that are going to change that. When you’ve been in retreat mode for months or even longer, being forcibly dragged out of the bubble is never easy. There’s nothing I can say to change that four days before said dragging. This is where avoidance comes back to bite us in the rear. It’s not if it will happen. The question is when. We have ALL been in this position and many still are.

So the best tip I can offer for how to handle this type of situation is to start interrupting your avoidance TODAY. Before you are forced to face your fear against your will and on someone else’s terms. Because unless you can have a miraculous change of attitude almost overnight, that will not be a productive experience. You’ll still be OK. You’ll still handle it. But there won’t be many lessons to learn from it and the odds are high that you will react by burrowing back into your bubble immediately afterward to “recover”, and will be tempted to stay there until the next event forces you out.

When you go willingly toward the things you fear and accept that you are doing it to learn and to uncover your own competence and ability, those experiences become more productive. They become helpful. Not pleasant. Not easy. But still positive in nature because they are rooted in purpose with clear intentions. You are operating on your own terms, so even when anxiety threatens to wash you out, you have a better chance of recognizing it for what it is, standing your ground, and learning a lesson as a result.

But this takes time and repetition and commitment. You can’t do this in five days before the wedding you’ve been dreading for months. Start today. Start intentionally interrupting your avoidance, even when you’re sure you’re “not ready” to do that. Start moving toward that fear you’ve been running from for so long. Surf through it on YOUR schedule with some measure of agency and influence in place. It’s a far better and more worthwhile use of your time and energy than waiting for the inevitable, then hoping for some miracle to get you through it when it arrives.

I know, always the same message. But sometimes I repeat the message because the questions are so often repeated. I’m just doing my best to help you not be that person in that situation, because it doesn’t have to be that way.

Have you listened to this week’s episode of The Anxious Truth podcast? Check it out out on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Amazon Music, or my website and YouTube channel.