Confessions of a High -Functioning, Avoidant

All those feelings! What do we do with them? Where do we hide from them? How we numb them?  Why?

For years, people asked me how I was able to accomplish so much. “How do you do it all?”

Well, as anyone close to me would be able to tell you, I spent years escaping into productivity to avoid my feelings. I was a workaholic. And who was going to check me? I was an emancipated, empowered, female entrepreneur. I was Independent, self-sufficient, and a real “go-getter”. Blah, blah, blah….

My hideout was sneaky, because it was acceptable, “high-functioning”, even— that’s what my therapists used to call me. Oh, little did they know.

What is your vice of choice? How do you avoid yourself? Where do you hide out?

My clients are smarter than the average, avoidant bear. They are professionals, accomplished, much too educated and (dare I say) “high functioning”. But, many carry the burden of this fantastic defense mechanism— and the load can become too much to bear.

From burn-out to full out collapse, using work as avoidance has its neurobiological consequences. Panic-attacks, chronic insomnia, ruminating thoughts and free-floating anxiety, or any other number of symptoms of a dysregulated system can show themselves. 

On the medical front, bruxism, IBS, ulcers, severe allergic reactions and other auto-immune disorders can suddenly develop or become exacerbated. When there is not a clear medical explanation for these occurrences, we might meet as a referral from your doctor. A well-known work, “The Body Keeps the Score, “  by Dr. Bessel van der Kolk outlines how anxiety and trauma can go underground and  express itself in our health and body. In essence, we are the physical manifestation of our emotions.

So, what’s a high-functioning, avoidant gal (or guy) to do?

Well, if you’ve read this far it might be because you are recognizing yourself in these words. Maybe the once reliable defense mechanism is no longer serving you. Maybe there are cracks in the veneer.

Maybe you are just ready.

Ready to stop surviving. Ready to start thriving. Ready to do the work.

If this resonates on any level, I would love to hear from you. DM me, visit my website, or give me a call.

Looking forward, Carmen Isais

Carmen Isais, LMFT

Carmen Isais, MA offers confidential, fee-for-service, consultation and coaching services to help both men and women move through tough issues, find meaning, connection and create a life they love. Her practice combines practical advice, support, reality testing and goal-oriented outcomes. Email to contact Carmen directly.