When we are struggling with mental health issues and addiction, we typically mask our feelings and experiences that we may have been repressing for years. This type of behavior, whether it is conscious or unconscious, creates a cycle of avoidance to ensure we don’t feel pain. When we get in this cycle, it can feel like the weight of the world is resting on our shoulders, and when that happens, it can feel impossible to complete even the simplest tasks. However, if we don’t break this cycle and begin checking items off our emotional and physical list, the weight will become so much to bear that we don’t accomplish anything. The goal here is to start turning towards our problems and realize that when we face them directly, we create a more peaceful and manageable life.
Why It’s Important to Face Your Problems
When we are emotionally struggling, the simplest tasks — such as opening the mail or returning a family member’s phone call — can feel like a hero’s quest. Why? Because we don’t have the emotional space to care for said task. Unfortunately, when we begin to ignore or avoid our problems, they pile up, just like unopened mail. The more we avoid, the higher the pile will grow; and the higher the pile, the more emotional weight we begin to carry.
The other piece of this puzzle stems from our current behaviors. We are a compilation of our learned experiences, and if we’ve suffered trauma and/or have been caught in the addiction cycle, those experiences, like the mail, also pile up. But unlike physical things, emotional trauma spills out in different ways that we may not be aware of in the moment. We could be passive-aggressive, we could harbor toxic traits, or we could be a boundary-less entity that allows others to constantly take advantage of us. Couple these issues and you create a mess that needs to be cleaned up. The cycle begins to overtake your life, making you believe you can’t accomplish anything.
Steps Towards Facing Your Problems
The only piece of advice that is bound to work is unpacking your problems one at a time. Think of your problems like a suitcase full of travel items. Don’t look at the entire suitcase of baggage. Open the bag and pull out one item at a time. Let’s say you pull out your toothbrush. Take the toothbrush to the bathroom and put it in the toothbrush holder. Then maybe don’t unpack anything else for that day. Tomorrow, put away your shampoo and conditioner. If you feel up to it, you can unpack more, but the goal is to start somewhere and avoid overwhelming yourself. Take each problem, each emotional or physical task, one day at a time.
A great starting point is making a list. This could be an entire compilation of things that need to get done such as grocery shopping, taking out the trash, or emailing a coworker. The list could also include things like paying a bill, going to the bank, setting a boundary with a friend, or getting your car fixed. If you try this type of list, you can prioritize items in order of necessity and deadlines/due dates.
Sometimes looking at an entire list can be too daunting, and that’s completely valid. Write down one item to complete per day, or even week, and chip away at the list on your own time. Once you begin checking items off the list, you’ll see how good it feels to get things done!
At the end of the day, the only way to “declutter” your life is to start somewhere. You have to train your mind to understand that if you start chipping away at your responsibilities and your conflicts, they will begin to disappear. It may feel scary at first to deal with this suitcase (or even closet) full of items, but the sooner you get started, the sooner you will live a more problem-free life.
It’s easy to avoid the things that cause us stress and tension, but the longer we avoid them, the worse the mess will be when we eventually deal with it. If you’re struggling to organize your life due to addiction and/or mental health issues, you’re not alone. Reach out to the Burning Tree Ranch for help.
Located in beautiful Kaufman, Texas, Burning Tree is here to help those who have been struggling to access the help they need and turn their life around once and for all. Call (877) 389-0500 today to learn about our residential programs. Make this the one thing you check off your list today.