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Avoidance

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  • #92605
    Hannah
    Participant

    Hi all,

    I hope this is the right place for this. I feel very ashamed of myself. I teach at a university alongside my PhD and I was supposed to run my first seminars this afternoon. I’d been getting more and more nervous all through the week, spent all day going through notes and lesson plans yesterday but still felt underprepared. This morning I woke up at 6am to do more preparation, but instead of getting up and going I crawled back under my duvet, then emailed in to say I’m sick.

    I can’t believe I’ve run away from this and left my students in the lurch for their first session, I feel terrible. I’ve even taught before, and even though it was nerve-wracking I didn’t hide away. I even know I came to really enjoy it in the end. I just don’t know what’s wrong with me.

    I’ve been having problems with avoidance behaviours with my PhD for a while now but I thought I was getting better. I never thought I’d run out on my teaching. I just now have this foreboding sense that everything is going to come crashing down on me for this, although if it did I would deserve it for behaving so badly.

    I can’t tell my friends or family, I’d be in so much trouble and it would really disappoint them. So I have turned to these forums just so I can tell someone.

    Thanks for reading. x

    #92609
    Inky
    Participant

    Hi Hannah,

    As you know, avoiding something is usually more painful than doing it!

    I always think, “What’s the worst that could happen?” And then I answer the question. Also, it’s a seminar. Seminars aren’t generally as “serious” as classes. Enriching, yes. Useful, yes. But not Do or Die. Unless I totally don’t get it!! (I was a liberal arts major lol). If you are nervous about it being “All You” have the students be interactive or volunteer to help you!

    Good Luck, Be Brave!

    Inky

    #92617
    anita
    Participant

    Dear Hannah:

    You got scared and of the two options we have as animals, Flight or Fight, you chose flight. So far, nothing wrong with you.

    What happened next is you berated yourself, negatively criticized yourself. Like a child who is afraid to go to school, and the parent proceeds to further scare the child: “What is wrong with you? I can’t believe you are such a coward! How can you do this…you are irresponsible…etc etc”

    So the child in you gets more afraid because she is now attacked for being afraid and for the natural reaction to fear: running away.

    Sure, you need to find a way to live with fear and eventually attend to your professional responsibilities, but what you are doing, attacking yourself is further aggravating your fear and is harming you.

    If you want good results, be kind to yourself. Every time you feel fear, turn to empathy instead of hate of yourself.

    You asked yourself, I assume, what is wrong with you. Your fear is not what is wrong with you. What is wrong with what you are doing is attacking yourself while you are already beaten. To help yourself, treat yourself like you are a scared child. Put down the whip you have been hitting the child in you with. Instead, look her in the eyes, and say: I understand. It is okay. You are afraid. i understand. I am here to help you. It is okay…

    You can’t … get rid of fear. You can change you treat yourself when you are afraid.

    anita

    #92643
    Benite
    Participant

    Hi Hannah,

    I am going through something similar and can totally relate. You see, not long ago I got kicked out of school due to performance anxiety. I was so ashamed, embarrassed and so depressed that I just avoided my family and friends as much as I could. I have yet to tell them that I got kicked out of school.Every time they ask me about it, I come up with a lie.

    The worst part is I made myself learn how to build websites and created 2 one for people who suffer from depression and anxiety and one for ADHD. I have been keeping my fingers crossed hoping a member of my family or a friend won’t stumble on one of my posts online and discover what I’ve really been up to. But it’s getting really hard to keep the lie going and they’re going to find out anyway. so I’ve decided I am going to tell my family tomorrow, I can’t take it anymore. (wish me luck) I suggest you do the same. It’s like Inky said: “what’s the worst that can happen?”

    #96203
    Wanderer
    Participant

    Hi Hannah,

    Don’t worry, I also teach and whenever I come back from an extended break, I get this feeling in my chest, this tightness and feel like I can’t do it! It’s so annoying, because I’m a good speaker and teacher, when I get up there I have no issue, but I guess being away “from the stage” for awhile gets me out of practice. Maybe that’s what is going on with you also. It’s normal to get nervous, don’t beat yourself up too much about it. Next time will be better, that’s what I tell myself.

    #96268
    Samwise
    Participant

    “I can’t tell my friends or family, I’d be in so much trouble and it would really disappoint them.”

    We all do things like this. One time, I didn’t want to come to work and I called in sick when I wasn’t. You are probably really stressed out. It’s totally normal. Ask yourself if you are avoiding things because you are scared of them failing or because you don’t want to do it and you are afraid it will show? Don’t feel you have to do anything to make anyone happy. Make yourself happy first. You can get back up from this. Find ways to let that stress be released tho. Good luck 🙂

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