August 24th 2012. As you are reading this it stands to reason I am no longer a virgin blogger! How on earth did I ever get this first blog out there after combating bucket loads of procrastination and avoidance? I recently attended some training about using art as a tool within therapy where I did a visualisation that left me with an image of cows – well not strictly cows as such but their fur pattern of black splodges that are divided up by a running meandering path flowing between. What could this possibly mean?
I drew the image out on a large piece of paper and coloured in the splodges whilst tuning in to a feeling of being overwhelmed. I realised the black bits were my ideas, plans and projects and that I was simply snaking between each one. I wasn’t really tackling any of them due to not knowing where to start first and fear of not being able to do the things I wanted to achieve (fear of failure or judgement). I like to say that perhaps I was procrastinating as that implies that I simply followed human nature and pursued doing things I enjoyed instead, never really ‘having the time’ but the truth is I was simply avoiding the stuff that I find challenging and this was my wakeup call. Freud talks about procrastination as a defence mechanism within the unconscious mind however I guess when it becomes persistent and disruptive to everyday life it raises the question of its usefulness.
This led me to think about my clients. I know it takes months sometimes years for clients to even investigate coming to counselling so it reminded me how difficult it is for clients to attend that very first session. I have found it hard enough to share my thoughts and feelings in my first blog (just one of the black spots on the cow) let alone having to go to a strange place and share my most vulnerable thoughts and feelings with a complete stranger. My empathy for the overwhelmingness and the anxiety spike of that goes out to all clients old and new.
I am not sure where the line is between procrastination and avoidance but what I do know based on my experience is that when avoidance takes hold on someone’s life (usually fed or helped along by anxiety) it can allow that persons world to become smaller and smaller. Where are you on the avoidance/procrastination scale? What are the barriers that feel too big to overcome? This is me making a small change are you ready to do the same?