When are you doing self-care versus procrastination?

When are you being productive versus avoiding other things?

When I do not like who I am and therefore do not fully trust myself, these are difficult questions.

The pattern of escape is a very, very old one. Avoiding emotions and thoughts started early. Perhaps, dealing with a life-threatening illness when I was younger had something to do with it. Being bedridden for over 2 months with nothing to do but think was too much. There were TV shows and video games to distract me from the fact that I was not to move in hopes that my body would heal on its own. Otherwise, it was open heart surgery for a twelve year old me.

The family was never one to discuss emotions. My father's serious illness was always looming over us. Best to not think about it. So, I learned to avoid emotions. It was best to show love and affection through actions. Unfortunately, I burned out on that very quickly. I couldn't perform perfectly. Arguably, children (and adults) learn by making mistakes. I learned that I was not good enough with each of my mistakes. I retreated inward.

As I got older, I tried to disguise my insecurity with productivity. I moved up the ranks quickly in every retail job I ever had. I felt that each one of them demanded more from me and lashed out by moving to a new job. I projected my fears and anxiety onto supervisors, managers, and corporate masters. Yet, I was the one who pushed myself over every edge. I had to prove to the world I had worth because deep down, I didn't believe that.

On This Day

I recognize these patterns, but I still get caught up in them. Where I used television and video games to avoid my father's health, I now use the strategy of distraction to avoid the pandemic of COVID 19. I escaped into nail-biting as a teen. Today, I look up and realize my foot is bleeding because I have removed skin from my feet.

The inescapable deadline puts me into productive mode. With a project only finished minutes ago, I spot a dirty dish or a dusty surface and jump into cleaning. It may be 11pm, but what else is there to do? If I go to sleep, I will surely be that lazy, no good, procrastinator tomorrow. No, I have to keep being productive.

Where yesterday I wrote a journal about the cognitive distortion of black and white thinking, today I really feel balance in this case is near impossible. I am either go-go-go or burned out and into escape.

Today, I have been avoiding some work because of all the trauma associated with failing. I am scared to start something and be told that it was not enough. So much of this is from my past. The emotions are alive today just as they were when my first boss scolded me for not cleaning a toilet. My trainer told me I didn't have to, but he was just another 16 year old kid too. I should not have believed him. Now, my boss hates me. I am physically uncomfortable writing this. And logically I can see there's a self-fulfilling prophecy in the works. If I avoid the work, I will prove myself right, I am awful. If I get work done just in time, it will be sloppy. It will be not good enough, like me.