Holding pattern or avoidance?

I think I’m in a holding pattern, a pause in my cycle of depression, contemplation, activity, and frenetic thinking.  It’s only taken me 42.5 years to recognize that it is part of who I am and how I’m wired. Go figure.  I’m the person who’s always caught off-guard when the same thing happens around the same time of every month with the same preliminary signs that I failed to observe, recognize, or comprehend.  And people have called me smart, intuitive, and wise. Ha!  So, for me to actually identify this phase, for lack of a better word, as a pause in my cycle of being me, seems like progress to me.

What’s different?

Well, writing in this blog for starters.  My first posting here actually occurred on December 15, 2011 (Any posts dated prior to that were previously written elsewhere and imported with the original date/time they were written).  The first two weeks were consistent, prolific, and timely.  There was a missed day, but quickly got back on track.  Then there were a few days when I was dealing with emotions, thoughts, and relationships in the “real” world and didn’t write at all, kind of stalling out.  Followed by a brief stutter, and then there’s been an absence for the past several days.  Not exactly a void and certainly not “nothing,” but more like a cessation of movement on multiple levels.

During this pause, I’ve been reading some writings of others – personal & anecdotal blogs of others journeying through recovery, mental/emotional/physical health issues and trying to make sense of who they are and what their experiences have been, as I am.  I’ve also read some therapeutic and informational blogs and articles about those same subjects.  I even read an actual book – nothing profound or literary, just innocuous, generic, and g-rated romantic fiction.  All the while, simmering in the back of my mind has been the last meeting my son and I had, where he was sharing his recent “conversion experience” (again, for lack of a better phrase) and offering his experience, strength and hope to me.  Meanwhile, the difficulties and challenges in my day-to-day life: relationship, parenting, physical/mental health symptoms/ailments, have been continuing along, as life tends to do.

After being deep in the throes of depression, anxiety, and hopelessness, this place where I’m at right now seems kind of pleasant, almost idyllic…but that isn’t the correct word either.  I think there may be a couple of things going on here.

1) Absorption – I think I had done a lot of “navel gazing” and “facing the facts” about myself, my motivations, and my character defects, along with a lot of information gathering about various diagnoses, disorders, addictions, and compulsions, and that my mind/body have shut down into a “digestion” mode.

2) Avoidance – As much as I want to be changed, I’m not sure I’m fully ready/able to make the full-on commitment and I suspect there’s an unwillingness to take the risks necessary to do the things I suspect I will have to do, and make the sacrifices I will need to make in order to affect the change that’s needed in order for me to actually progress beyond this point.  I hate admitting that.

I think I’ll leave it at that, for now.  I know there’s more to come and I also know that this phase, be it holding pattern or avoidance or both, won’t last forever.  So, I’m just going to breathe and trust that God is carrying me through this, just as I’ve been being carried through the rest of it.


  1. I believe there is something very healthy in being able to accept and admit the ideas of absorption and avoidance. You cannot hope to change anything if you are never aware of it in the first place. I often struggle with “gathering information” versus “taking action”, and appreciate this gentle reminder that avoidance is simply another way of delaying any forward motion … there is a time and place for everything, but first we must be willing to acknowledge the truth of where we are right now. Thanks for sharing this reminder.


    1. I have spent a lifetime gathering information, it is the absorption and application of that information where I have stalled out so often. The challenge I face isn’t in the comprehension, intellectual understanding of the information, it is in the deeper absorption and internalization of what I’ve learned, or rather the seeming inability for it to move beyond the mind and into the body and spirit.

      Right now, I feel as though I’m on the verge of actualizing that which I’ve learned, but there is still a barrier. Some close to me interpret it as an unwillingness on my part. Perhaps they are right. However, I think it’s less a factor of being unwilling, than it is a factor of fearful immobilization. Which doesn’t really make sense to me, because I’m really tired of reliving the same cycles over and over again and want change in me and in my life. Oh, well, it’s process and progress, not perfection.


  2. I’m glad that you find yourself in a good place right now. God has stopped the chisel work, sometimes the jackhammer work an, most likely, given you back your confidence, esteem and talents. Allowed you to catch your breath, survey your life and incorporate what you may having learned while in your phase of deep, excruciating suffering.

    I learned more and more each time I came out of these horrible cycles. Summarily, I had inched closer to accepting the things I could not change. I had gained a whole new perspective and meaning of what courage really is; not being afraid to be weak, and not being to proud to be strong. Compassion for others was suddenly in my life. I could now stand in the grocery check out line and rather than judge the looks, dress and demeanor of the people standing next to me, I could see them as humans beings struggling through life just like me. A person that is preoccupied and maybe has cut in line – unaware of what they did because they are absorbed by carrying the burden of perhaps a sick parent on a fixed income with no hope of getting into assisted living, the one place that would be best for them. The fast talking guy with the gold chains, not being the idiot that he looks like, but perhaps being a scared man trying to live a life with the secret that his uncle sexually molested him as a child.

    I haven’t enjoyed the shape work that occurs when I am in a clinical depression, isolating, full of anxiety such that I an barely able to function. But, I now embrace my lot in life and know that I have traveled a difficult path for a reason. I am grateful to be at a point where I can give back and help others.



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