Out of Sight, Out of Mind
THE ART OF DISTRACTION I am a master of distraction — it’s an art form, really. I have spent my whole life honing this skill. I’ve become so good at it even, that I do it unknowingly. Whether it be a simple task I’m trying to complete; like writing this blog post and continually toggling to other apps or sites because I am struggling to find the right words to articulate what I feel. Most often however, my distractions manifest from something I don’t want to deal with emotionally. You know the kind.
Now that space I have found I can fill to nauseam with people, things, work, food, alcohol, activities, you name it; I’ve used it and abused it as a means to not deal with some of the tough emotional crap that life brings along. My husband (studying to become an LCPC) will be the first one to tell you that I have a problem, in the most loving way — truly. You see, when I cry, like any normal human as a natural emotional response to actually dealing with heavy stuff; I immediately get angry, which in turn leads to more crying, not being able to breathe, swollen eyes, more anger, more crying — it’s an ugly vicious cycle. I know I have this anger response to emotion because feeling and facing pain is something I have spent my whole life distracting myself from.
That’s not to say that I don’t feel things, quite the contrary; I feel very deeply and in some instances to the point of detriment. Thus why I've gotten quite clever with separating out what can be dealt with quickly and easily and stuffing away the rest. I have a big old dark and dusty emotional attic full of boxes stacked on haphazardly constructed wooden shelves, bowing from the weight of a lifetime of feelings I just simply don’t want to take the time to unpack. Out of sight, out of mind. I'm bound make my therapist a very wealthy woman.
Now don’t get me wrong, distraction isn’t all bad — sometimes it’s nice to have a mental, physical or emotional break from things we may be dealing with, to allow ourselves the grace and time we need to get a second wind; to regroup and regain perspective. The key words there are “dealing with” — I think you actively have to be working on something to justify a short healthy distraction. So in that regard, distraction can be of benefit, but it is a very fine line; a line that I am still trying to find balance with in my own life.
It is said that the first step to recovery is accepting and acknowledging that you have a problem. I have found that the older I get, the less I want to be triggered by my past, people that have hurt me, memories, etc. I just want to live a present, peaceful, full, rich and happy life. All that to say, this is me acknowledging that I have an issue — I'm going to make an effort to go up to that attic and unpack some boxes.