The Avoidance Monster and Me

I’ve noticed, and been told, some followers have issues with talking about bipolar disorder. They talk and talk and talk about it and suddenly it becomes a trigger and sends them spiraling … up … down … sometimes both.

And … I never really understood it … until recently.

Usually I can talk psychology all day and all night. I’m even taking a psychology course right now. But recently I hit a wall … I just got to a point where I couldn’t talk about it. And not necessarily psychology in general … but to be more specific, bipolar. I got to a point where I just needed a break from it all. No more depression. No more Mania. No more ups and downs.

So I kinda disappeared.

What did I gain from it? Well, not much. At this point, the only thing I’ve acquired is now feeling ashamed. Like, I started this website, I put it all together, I recruited followers and authors … I should be able  to hold it together!!!

Unfortunately, I’m not holding together very well. I haven’t been returning emails, haven’t been participating on my own group pages, haven’t even been keeping in touch with friends. I’ve gotten so caught up in being the best and being perfect that it has come to almost define who I am. Obviously, I’m not very good at it either.

So I do this thing when I realize I’ve failed or screwed up. I avoid. I’m not sure if it’s a bipolar thing or just a me thing, but I’ve gotten really good at it. I eff everything up and then for some stupid reason I think avoiding it will change everything and or at least make it disappear. Any questions as to why I have very few friends?

I’m sure you’ve all noticed my recent avoidance. The AaB avoidance that is. Things just haven’t been working how I imagined, I got overwhelmed, I was starting to fall apart … so what did I do? I avoided it. The problem with avoiding, however, is that it hurts people. Avoiding is just a kinder word for ignoring. And I’ve been ignoring everything(one) that is important to me. It’s not that I actually want any of it gone, I just want it to fix it self.

Inevitably, I’ve found myself in this position of having majorly let everyone who follows this site down. It was selfish, lazy and a product of poor leadership. I want to apologize, but I’m afraid I’ve done a bit too much of that in the past month or so that I just look like the little girl who cried wolf.

Nevertheless (OMG my History professor says that work at LEAST 5 times each class … it’s rubbing off on me!) …. as I was saying, regardless of my looking like a fake who cries wolf to get attention, I really am sorry. I really want to be the perfect leader and the one everyone looks up (or down … depending on how tall you are) to. I just don’t know how to be that person as of late.

The Avoidance Monster has taken me hostage and I am trying desperately to break free of it’s shackles and get back in the swing of things. I’m just not quite there yet. I just want you all to know though that I am trying.

Oh, but the second shitty thing about avoidance … when you avoid things for too long, you come back to realize that avoiding it didn’t make it go away, it only made it pile up. And then when it piles up, you are even more discouraged and have no idea what part of the pile to start from.

I hope it doesn’t sound like I am looking for sympathy, because I totally don’t deserve it. I just wanted to provide an explanation for the lack of posts and participation from my end. I want everyone to know that I DO value this site and I DO value your thoughts and ideas and I DO think your questions are important. Please don’t ever think otherwise.

So yada yada yada, what they heck am I trying to say here? Well I’ll tell ya. I’m saying I am TRYING to get my shit together so I can get back on top of things. I want this site to be what it started as and I think I’ve asked for more than enough time to get back into it. However, as I don’t want to make more promises that I might not be able to keep, I’m not going to say it’s going to happen quickly or even perfectly. But it’s going to happen, so please, although I do not deserve it, please bear with me.

And again, despite how I sound like a crappy shepherd … I AM sorry!

SIDE NOTE *** The good news to all of this is … in my avoidance I became side tracked by gnomes and letters and Greek OH MY! And now that I’ve completed all 74 episodes of the Greek Series (I have this thing that once I watch a series I HAVE to complete it because I HAVE to know what happens) so I will now have one less distraction. I’m not sure if I’m ready to part with Gnome Town or Words with Friends yet, but I have a feeling the gnomes are going to have to disappear for a bit. (sniff sniff)

27 thoughts on “The Avoidance Monster and Me

  1. I love the name of “avoidance monster”. I’ve been there and understand the feeling. I have a terrible habit of avoiding things out of fear hoping that they will just auto correct. I’m sure it’s a part of my anxiety and my therapist hates that about me I’m sure as it’s one of my biggest faults. I know that not everyone is as anxious as myself since I also have GAD but anxiety is a part of bipolar so I think the “avoidance monster” could definitely be a part of the disorder. I’m happy that you’re coming back to all of this and dealing with it because that can be difficult. I am proud of you Marybeth. Most people with bipolar are great dreamers but terrible doers because we start things (sometimes manically) and don’t always follow though. You are continuing with what you are passionate about and although your son may not realize what he inspired you to do now, someday he will be very proud of his mommy!

  2. Oh Marybeth… I can so relate. I’ve been there too. And you needn’t apologize! Bipolar disorder is a serious illness. Sometimes we need to work some stuff out so that the rest can fall into place. Take your time, and try not to be so hard on yourself. You’re a phenomenal woman who has been a great inspiration to many (especially me). Hang in there kiddo.

  3. MaryBeth, I haven’t really been a part of this site long, but I have read many of the questions and answers and found them very helpful. You’ve created a beautiful and wonderful place for us to come to for reassurance that we are not alone. I commend your courage to come through and just talk about what’s going on for you! That, in itself, is a wonderful inspiration!

    The “avoidance monster” is something that has gotten hold of me more times than I can count, and, in fact, right now.

    It USED to happen with friends, and I lost a lot of them because of it, where I would meet someone new, or re-connect with someone I hadn’t talked with in weeks or months (or even years) and I would ramble on and on about many things and then I’d get home and feel stupid and ashamed for talking too much, or perhaps saying what I perceived to be the wrong thing, and then I would avoid that person for a really long time, if not forever.

    Or, in other cases, there were several guys that I had met online and we were really good friends, although we never met in person, we remained friends over many years, but every time we had a phone conversation it ended up coming around to conversation about sex.. and sometimes phone sex (which is super hard for me to admit!) and I just didn’t want to go there and I was ashamed, so we wouldn’t talk for weeks or months (or years) and then I’d start missing them and contact them again. What a crazy cycle!!

    I no longer do that… I have separated myself totally from that so I don’t get caught up in it again. The other thing, with feeling like I talked too much? I’d like to say I didn’t do that any more either… but, I think I still do sometimes. *sigh*

    But my worst “avoidance monster” is at home. I’ve lived in with my ex-husband for the past 3 years, and before that, in the duplex next to my mother. And although I care for them both very much, they both drive me crazy, and I find myself just letting the frustration and anger turn into depression and get hold of me. Then I stop caring about caring about myself, and my house.

    Well, it’s not that I don’t care… I really DO care… but, I avoid it (overlook it and make excuses for myself about it). My house is ALWAYS piled up with stuff… so much so that I NEVER know which pile to start, and I’m exhausted just even thinking about it!! So I don’t. So the problem just cycles and escalates.

    I don’t know how to fix it. I’m moving next month… out on my own (with my 14yo daughter)… back into the working world (which I haven’t done in MANY years). I have this idea in my mind of a peaceful, cozy, and welcoming home. Of peace out of the chaos in my mind. That I will no longer go through these crazy depression and avoidance cycles. In my mind, I think that being on my own, I’ll be able to control them. I hope that is true. I guess we’ll see what happens.

    Anyway, through my long and rambling “share” of my own story, I guess what I’m trying to say is that I think we ALL go through this in some way or other. It’s part of the bipolar cycle and rather than resist it and apologize for it, I think if we can accept it and be up front about it (with ourselves and with others) like you have been here… I think it releases it so that it doesn’t have a hold on us anymore and we can break through it. Proud of you for doing that!

    Your dream is still alive and you are holding on to it! And we are all still here, supporting each other, and you. And we know that you go through the same cycles that we do, which is why you started this whole site to begin with… so we all will understand that it happens for you, too! No need to apologize, beautiful. It’s all good. Hugs!

  4. One thing you don’t have to worry about is explaining it to us that have bipolar, I think we’ve all been there. It’s understandable. I have a few things I’m avoiding too right now. sigh.

  5. Listen here you! I do the avoidance thing, too. Especially, when I feel I have wronged somebody or said something I shouldn’t have. You do deserve forgiveness whether you think you do or not. You are a person with a disorder that plays with our minds. You just did the best you could with the way you were feeling. You started this website. You have done a fabulous job and you deserve kudos for that. No putdowns! Ya hear me now? Don’t put yourself down. We all, eventually, will pull ourselves up by the bootstraps and start moving forward again. And my God girl, you got lots going on so give yourself a much deserved break. I know you told me not to the write this and give you sympathy, but I am. Know why? Because you have given it to me numerous times when I have been out of sorts and messed up and wronged others.

    I love the AaB website. That will never change even though I am not writing right now. Much love my MB! Take care yourself! Ya hear me now? Even if it means a hiatus to get your shit together!

  6. I can definitely relate,as I use to be an organizer of a bipolar meetup group,myself. For me it was always hard to be the leader of the pack,especially when you are in a constant conflict with,the what,the how and the when to please others. It’s very easy to forget to take care of yourself,when you start to feel obligated to make others situation as positive as you possibly can,and yet at the same time provide factual and helpful resources as well. I was alone in trying this group and it was alright for a few meetups,buti couldnt handle it,not alone as a leader,and I am naturally a leader,I always have been.

    You have a great support system all around you,and the bottom line is you have to do what will make YOU happy,because if you are trying to do EVERY THING for evrybody else then you will be back where you started. Avoiding things isnt always a bad thing for me,for me,its taking a few healthy breaks for myself,so that i can function when i need to,no apology needed here,youre doing your thing,and you can only do it by learning from your actions,you’re only human,just like the rest of us. -much love- P.S gnomes game is soo cute!

  7. My PDoc always calls me out on my avoidance issues. Makes me want to hide every time. And even if it’s your worst fault Jen … it is now one of my favorite things about you because now I know I’m now alone 🙂

  8. “Well, it’s not that I don’t care… I really DO care… but, I avoid it (overlook it and make excuses for myself about it). ”

    I love this statement. Because it is SO true. I REALLY DO CARE! How often I find myself having to justify that because I know it appears that I do NOT care. I mean how do you make someone understand how important something is to you when you’ve completely ignored it for days/months/years? Thank you for understanding my frustration!!!

    I’m proud of you for moving out on your own. Remember, if it feels like it’s too much, you always have us to help you realize you’re doing a great job. Thanks for being a part of our site 🙂

  9. Maybe this should be called “Avoidance Disorder” instead? Hmmm…OR maybe I just uncovered an illness that is going to revolutionize the world!

    Okay probably not.

    How bout if you stop avoiding I’ll stop avoiding too? (Don’t worry … it probably won’t happen anytime soon for me either. LOL)

  10. Well, Marybeth, from the vantage point of someone who is outside the website, rather than “in,” I think you’re a fantastic administrator! When I lost my PW and ID, you responded immediately with an offer to assist. And, I can’t begin to tell you how helpful this site has been in promoting understanding of BPD. Possibly, the extra stress that comes from “ownership” of the site has been a bit much for you…..totally understandable! Hopefully you will do whatever you need to do to keep things balanced for yourself and not worry about “avoidance.” Most people following this site understand your comments. Personally, I’m VERY grateful to you for your efforts. Take good care of yourself!

  11. I <3 you shari! Glad you have come back to us ... even if not as an author. Thank you for your understanding. I'm quite amazed right now with how NOT alone I am in this issue. Probably because we all AVOID talking about it 😉

  12. Thanks Julie. I’m sorry your group didn’t work out. I’m a natural leader too, so when my leadership skillz fail, it’s very hard to accept and move past. Thank you for understanding that.

    Ps … are you my Gnomie Gneighbor?!?!?!

  13. So although I’ve responded to all your comments, I felt the need to respond to everyone as a whole.

    You guys are amazing. Just when I think I’ve really screwed up and maybe I should just shut the site down before everyone starts hating me, you show me that I’m not alone and what I’m going through is something many of us go through. You have no idea how much weight that lifts off my heart. I’ve really been afraid of how much I’ve disappointed everyone (can we say “People Pleaser?”)and it’s good to know people understand.

    I’m not going to make any promises that everything will be up and running perfectly by tomorrow, but I can promise that I am going to be putting much more effort into it than I have been.

    I <3 you guys! Thanks for being a part of the site!!!

  14. Yep the avoidance monster gets a hold of me at times also. I think that having bipolar magnifies things 100 times more for us. We become overwhelmed and get to a point where we just can’t take it anymore, thus the avoidance monster rears its ugly head. I also think that we tend to over-compensate because of our bipolar but in the end it just ends up biting us in the ass. So Marybeth try not to be soooo hard on yourself (i am guilty of this also) and give yourself some due credit for acknowledging that you have been struggling and taking action to deal with everything. And remember you are only human and can only do so much. For me i just try to strive for “balance” everyday, easier said than done sometimes for those of us who suffer from bipolar disorder. I do not have any less respect for you or see you any differently than i had previously. I admire how you are able to look at yourself and deal with things in a positive manner. You will get your “A” game back, just take things one step at a time and things will get done. Vicky

  15. It’s so funny. I usually check my email first, but today I came to the website first.

    The beautiful thing about having Christi as a co-administrator and all of these people willing to write things for the site is that you don’t have to do it all! When you are feeling like you can’t handle it, someone else will step up with a post or answer a question.

    I’m going to ask you a question that I have gotten asked a lot. Do you have some kind of deadline for something? The point is that no one here is holding you to doing anything on any kind of time schedule. We will keep on answering questions and coming up with our own rambling posts and eventually you will feel like it’s okay to jump back in. As I tell my kids, when you get there just pick ONE thing and do that. Then move to the next thing, or not. Again, there really isn’t a deadline, right?

    It looks like the site has taken on a life of its own and maybe, just maybe, you should be proud of what you have accomplished here. Obviously you have lots of supporters who ALL know what it feels like to be overwhelmed by something we started because we thought it was a good idea and then not been able to keep going with it. The difference here is that you made something that keeps on going every day while you take a much deserved break from it. And I don’t see anything wrong on the site, so I’m not quite sure what isn’t working the way you want it to, but you need to let up on yourself!

    As my mother always told me – I am my own worst enemy. I suspect that us perfectionists are all like that.

    And I agree that you may need a break from the gnomes, but isn’t it great to have something like that to escape to that makes you feel good for awhile? I have gotten a little overwhelmed with words with friends and may need to take a break from that, but it sure has been fun while it lasted.

    You have more support here than you could ever realize. Your site is perfect just the way it is and you have done a good thing. You’ve brought together a whole group of people who needed each other. That is an accomplishment! Be proud of yourself instead of hitting yourself over the head repeatedly for not living up to some unrealistic expectation!

    What I am saying with all this rambling is that we love you just the way you are, you have a great site, and we will all still be here talking to each other. Join in when you feel like you are up to it!


  16. I applaud you taking the time you need but I do hope you will star back when you’re ready too many bbipolar blogs start and just die. Please start your blog up again whenyou are ready!

  17. man reading this post and responses makes me feel so much better. i wish the people around me would reply like you guys. they have no compassion or understanding. I’m sick of feeling like such a loser because of everyone’s “success” and my “not caring” “do something with yourself. They just don’t understand. avoiding things comes natural for me. it gets me no where and i only seem to get 1 week out of the month where i actually care about helping myself. the rest of the time i somehow manage to burn through the hours doing nothing but keeping myself awake. kicks to the faces don’t work with us. im tired of being a human wheelchair but i love the ability to roll through life. if people only understood the feelings of guilty remorse etc that i feel inside i think life would be easier. from the outside it just looks like a bunch of excuses and im tired of people telling me what i need to do when they could never fathom how i feel with their perfect chemistry. sometimes i wonder if this is a gift. a way for me to see the world without the desires to give into the system. i dont even know what im talking about so ill end here.

  18. Hey Mike!

    I’m glad this post made you feel a little less alone. Sometimes I think being “misunderstood” is an understatement. It’s nice to be part of a group where I can really believe people get what I’m going through. I’m so glad you found us!

    “sometimes i wonder if this is a gift. a way for me to see the world without the desires to give into the system”

    I love this … absolutely love it. What a wonderful way to look at Bipolar Disorder … As a gift … LOVE! And I agree. Having bipolar has given me such a perspective on life that people could only dream about having. I hate the ups and downs, but I love the lack of judgement I carry due to the unique ability to see things from another person’s shoes. And sure, I may not always fit in those shoes … but I try them on anyways!

    So I just wanted to say thank you for that!

    PS … got your email too. Hope to respond soon. Let me know if you need something ASAP or if you’d like me to point you to a few relevant posts in the mean time!


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