Going a bit further with the last post, I have been acutely aware of the things I have been using to cope with stress... to distract myself from emotional stuff. My distractions are
Procrastination and Guilt
This is nothing new. I have written about all of this stuff before, and have dealt with it all before. I've faced each of these issues head on and each time, as I stopped using 'things' to distract, I was able to conquer the bad habits... for awhile. I got to a point where I was experiencing and not avoiding... not using food or diet, clutter or procrastination or the Internet in unhealthy, unhelpful ways. But over the last two years, I have slipped back into some really bad habits. I am just now realizing it, because rather than having one *huge* issue, I have many little ones... so they aren't as easily noticed individually.
Instead of a full-blown binge eating disorder, I eat a cookie to soothe.
Instead of being hyperfocused on every detail of my diet, sticking to it obsessively, I just sort of dabble in it here and there.
Rather than having several rooms full of decades of 'stuff' I don't need, I have one counter in the dining room piled with papers and one side of my bedroom littered with boxes of things I will sort through 'some day.'
Instead of putting things off for months until they become a problem, I put them off for 2 weeks and then scramble to do it all in a day or two.
And rather than spending hour after hour sitting online, surfing, reading, chatting, I sit for an hour here, an hour there, as an escape.
So instead of having a "My 600 Pound Life" type of binge problem or a "Hoarders" style clutter problem, I have just a touch of several different things. Nothing's unmanageable, so it doesn't seem like any one thing is a real problem. But if you add it all up, that's a heck of a lot of avoidance and distraction.
Why? I wish I could say. Some time ago I stopped blogging personal details about my family out of respect for their privacy. But there's a huge amount of stress in my life at the moment, emotionally draining, with hours in the ER and time spent in an ambulance (not for me, I am fine) and getting about 2 hours of sleep many nights. Then you add on the little things like my 15 year old cat's vet trip and ongoing care, my dog's bleeding face, the foot pain, and all the usual stuff everyone has to deal with like laundry and cleaning and yard work, school and volunteering and kids... and I have really been slipping back into those distractions a lot. They are a brief release from reality, a momentary forgetting of difficult thoughts and feelings and pressure.
Awareness is the first step. Consciously choosing alternate, healthier diversions when needed is the second. And facing and dealing with reality rather than avoiding it is the third. I am aware, I am working it out, and I hope and believe I can get to the other side again where coping is more natural and easier.
Friday Update and Reality Check
5 hours ago