When my brain tries to protect me.. by making my life harder

Have you ever had the eye-opening realization that you’re sitting in a (metaphorical) hole that’s making your life much harder than it needs to be?

Have you ever had a follow-up eye-opening realization that the only one responsible for digging that hole and pushing you into it… was you? Your brain, your thoughts, your fears and anxieties. Because somewhere during your lifetime, you’ve convinced yourself that it’s actually much safer to operate out of this hole than to be above ground?

If you’re continuing to read, I’m going to assume it’s not just me hiding from my problems in metaphorical holes.

The harder part… once I’ve realized I’m sitting in a hole (and in fact, usually still holding the shovel and digging myself deeper) is to sit and figure out how to get out of the hole (and stay out). The answer, I believe, lies in facing whatever it is I’m trying to escape from.

Ohhhh, and my brain is well-practiced at finding distractions when I’ve threatened it with facing my problems. Even as I type this post, I can feel the pull of numerous ideas and chores “worthy” of my attention. And if I try to put down my shovel, haul myself out of my hole and look around myself to locate whatever this monster is we’re running from, I just find myself in a dense fog. There’s no clear direction to go in and nothing is coming forward. Gah, well played brain, well played.

This well-developed defense mechanism is not my brain’s fault; it’s not my fault. I know my brain is just trying to protect me. There’s something it sees that it doesn’t want me to know about because it thinks it’s better not to acknowledge it. I need to somehow uncover the threat and show my brain that it’s not as big of a monster as it thinks, that it’s something we CAN take on. I guess this is where a professional therapist would really come in handy.. to ask the right questions to help me navigate the fog. I may get to that one day, but right now I’m still in a place where I want to see what I can uncover on my own.

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