Avoidance Behaviors and why I haven’t been posting much

I have ‘em.

Whether I’m taking a nap or running to a new task when I was in the middle of a different one, I have a hard time finishing some of my projects, and when things become hard, I tend to shut them out. I am a perfectionist, and I obsess about being perfect. When being perfect becomes ridiculous, I retreat into a little cocoon.

I tend to obsess over one thing: This last week it’s been cleaning out the office. Don’t get me wrong; it needed to happen. But it had been a growing issue over the last 6 years and I only now am working with the process.

Adding to this I have a great fear of abandonment and loss. I lost my mom at the age of 13, and my Dad died of cancer when I was 27. I lived an unsure life growing up, of having things and then not having things. Of moving, acquiring new normals, and then loss. And now three of my four kids are going to summer camp this weekend as camp counselors. And it’s really hard for me. It’s irrational. And so, instead of coming up with new recipes for this site, I’m steeped in sorting socks and paper clips. Why? Because it’s avoidance. It buries the feelings deep down that I am going to almost be alone this summer.

I am working with perceived failures. I’ve been begrudgingly donating old projects I know I never will even begin. Those beautiful needlepoint pillows I found on ebay that remind me of my mom (what?!). I have the memories of my mom. Why did I think I needed needlepoint pillows? Donating those will be hard, because I am coping with more than one issue: 1. I feel I am giving my mother away; 2. I am feeling like a failure for buying something I might never complete and might end up donating; 3. I assign my self worth to a dream of completing needlepoint pillows that I might just seriously have to let go. And none of those things makes me a failure; it’s the crazy anxiety setting in that makes me think those things.

About two weeks ago I broke down in the middle of a parking lot sobbing. Just crazy, all out crying. Why? Because my husband took me to a busy store with people everywhere and I felt out of control and stressed by the number of people everywhere. And I was mad at him for putting me into that situation. That is not normal. All of the stressors, and of being so in control of my environment is unraveling, just a little bit at a time. And as more amazing opportunities come my way, I’m not sure how I’m going to cope.

I seek to embrace non-change, even when it is optimal. It is my security blanket. I try not to leave the house. I plant myself firmly in trying to empty my mind of anxious thoughts and situations instead of trying to conquer my concerns one at a time. I push away the things that I love when I’m worried I’m either going to mess it up or lose that thing or person.

What I’m thankful for? Friends and family who are patient, and you who I am telling this to. You don’t even know who I am. I tend not to say much about me. Sure, I’m quick with an anecdote or a joke, but I really need to let you in a little bit more, not to see baggage but to understand that this summer I am going to be working on these issues, so recipes have been slower in coming to the site.

I’ve been a “shut up and cook” mode for awhile, but then I realize, maybe you have anxiety, too. Maybe you’re obsessed with perfection and can’t stop. Maybe you know you’re colossally unhappy but you don’t know why. Maybe you sabotage yourself because you fear change. All of this is normal. It’s when you decide to take the next step that things will become better. But first they have to become hard.

I have to ask myself, “what’s the worst thing that will happen if my kids leave for camp?” Am I really going to be alone and unloved? Seriously? How weird is that? Am I fearing their lack of presence in the house? OK, now that begins to make a little more sense. I mean, when someone is gone, there is a mourning period, a sense of physical lack of presence. It’s space that is not being taken up with someone who you love. Still, there are ways to use that time. I need to use mine to finish writing two books, begin work on more, continue to improve my photography skills, and stop avoiding feeling discomfort or pain or sadness.

Those feelings are a part of life, and they help us to experience joy and happiness and contentment. Maybe I’ve just settled for existing for so long, I kind of forgot how to live, so beginning this week, I’ve been living, little steps at a time. It won’t be easy (I’ve allowed myself to be in this place for years), but I am dedicating myself to the following:

1. I am going to continue to part with things that I gave unreal expectations and emotions to.

2. I am going to begin a dedicated movement program. I am going to move more, whether it’s being imperfect with walking, or mopping, or even digging holes in the lawn and filling them again.

3. I am going to be content with imperfect eating so long as I continue moving in the right direction.

4. I am going to use my time more wisely. Rather than engaging in avoidance (watching tv, playing online word games and napping) I am going to make a list of tasks to complete each day and then feel good about them as they are completed.

5. I will take solace in little things and stop waiting for the bigger, less attainable things to make me happy.

6. I will look for solutions that work to the clutter issues in my house through patience, kindness and understanding that we’re all working together, and no one wants to be unhappy.

7. I will continue to be real with you about my struggles and issues, but only if you find it helps and you’re not finding it’s causing you anxiety and regression.I mean, I could just “shut up and cook,” but that’s avoidance, too.

What do you say? Are you in this with me? Should we try together to pinpoint what’s holding us back and strive to be fabulous? I can truly say that this hasn’t been easy, but I feel so much better with every little milestone. Today, as an example, when I wanted to stop cleaning the kitchen because I just didn’t want to anymore, I said, “What’s putting away five more things?” Those five things eventually led to five more. And then five more. And before I knew it, clean kitchen. Like I said, small milestones. Not perfect, but worth every moment of non-avoidance.

I actually teared up a little bit writing this, so I hope you don’t think, “Oh my God. Seriously. I came here for mozzarella sticks breaded in pork rinds and ended up with a discussion about camp counselors and socks. It’s like Bravo TV sans the fake chi chis.” I am so not going to turn into Testimonial Trisha–trust me. I just feel like by using Facebook and then starting the new forum, I’m further pushing myself away when I need to be present in the moment.

So this is me. Present, accounted for, and ready for fabulousness! Who’s with me?

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Comments

  1. Christa Robinson says:

    Much love and support to you dear one

  2. I’m SO with you Jamie! I have to admit it’s nice to see that people that I emulate and wish I could be like aren’t perfect either. It’s nice not to feel alone. Thank you for all you do and for trusting us enough to share. <3

  3. Great Post! I suffer from situational anxiety and it took me years to be aware of what were my triggers and trying to make sure I was putting myself into safe situations. It has gotten easier, but just the other day, I started crying hysterically, hypervenilating for some stupid reason, I just don’t remember. I think because I was home alone.

    It is hard, I base my worth on my kids and that they need me and how I can make their lifes better.

    Sometimes a movie is better than cleaning anyways!

    Be strong! Be Brave!

  4. That was beautiful and heartfelt. You really laid yourself out there for us and it’s not easy to do that.

    I think most people can relate to many of the things you wrote – I know I can. Hang in there and don’t be so hard on yourself (I know, I know).

    Write when you want to write. Clean when you want to clean. I swear, the older we get, the more it feels like there is less time to do all those things. We did them when we were young adults, why is it so much more stressful now? I don’t know the answer to that. Wish it was the other way around.

    We are so much more elastic when we are young. Maybe that IS the answer. The stressors are just as bad, but we bounce back more easily.

    Ok I’ll stop my rambling reply now. Big hugs to you and do whatever the F you want to do. It’s your life and you make your own choices. Have fun doing what you do and don’t beat yourself up.

    xo

  5. You are so awesome and so real and I love that about you! I think your list of things to do is a great one — I’m going to try the five things trick because sometimes I get so overwhelmed by my crafty clutter that I have no idea where to start! Take a deep breath from time to time and remember that you are fabulous, imperfections and all!

  6. I do the same avoidance stuff, so I feel ya.

    I started reading a new book. I’ll let you know if it helps. (((hugs)))

  7. Linda in Ky. says:

    Hey, good post! Thanks! It’s hard for me right now too. I lost my oldest son just about 5 weeks ago (he was 47) and I’m having a terribly obsessive time letting his brothers live a normal life. I am afraid…that something will happen to them…that I may never get to say “I love you” again; or I may never feel their arms around me in a hug…so, I think I kinda understand where you’re coming from. Thankfully, I have warm, loving friends and family to “talk” to, and “cry with” because I had a breakdown crying jag in town just a few days ago over something I saw that reminded me of my oldest. Hugs!!

  8. excellent and insightful. and impressive. rock on.

  9. I applaud you for letting go and being honest, with yourself and everyone else. It takes courage to face what you know is going to be hard. And I truly believe that the ONLY WAY TO GROW is to be uncomfortable. I’m in this with you! Let’s grow together.

  10. I don’t have the abandonment issues but I do have a “waiting for the other foot to drop” phobia. It accompanies all blessings looking at them sideways while I wait for something horrible to happen and balance it all out.

    I also have ADHD (diagnosed in adulthood) which explains the frenetic pace at which I can handle multiple things but also my complete avoidance for said things after the “jag” of interest in gone. I have coping skills now that hare helping form new habits and awareness goes a long way. It really helped to see the strengths in my condition because it’s useless to focus solely on the weaknesses (or at least for me).

  11. I have an undeniable urge to give you a big hug. I had an alcoholic mother, and when my parents divorced, I went with my dad. (and NO ONE had divorced parents, much less lived with their dad back then!!!)
    We moved frequently, so I was always the new kid in school, I always felt like an outcast and never fit in, and we were poor on top of that. No wonder I turned to things like white bread to try to fill the empty place inside. (Like that ever works!) …mmm, even better toasted and slathered with margarine. You know, you can eat half a loaf without trying!

    I know both my parents did the best they could with what they had. I hope my adult son thinks that too! I still don’t know how to clean house, (and I’m on my way to 60, for crapssake!) or get organized, or finish projects. Something that’s let me work on this a little at a time is Flylady.net. It’s a free service, and has helped me with my perfectionism too – I had no idea perfectionism was part of my problem – me? But turns out there’s a huge amount of “why start, I can’t do it right, why bother” in my soul, and once I became aware of it, I could start changing that thinking. I’d be glad to give you more info on Flylady, but this is too long now! So, consider yourself hugged, and hang in there. And reach out when you need to, even though it’s difficult.

  12. Jamie,

    This is the first time I’ve made a comment on your blog, but I’m with you! I feel like I could have been the one writing this — so much of this resonates with me and I know where you are coming from. I too, am going on a similar journey right now. It is a work in process, and it is slow to come, but recognizing these things really help. I love your commitment commandments! Maybe that’ll be something I get to this weekend to help keep myself on track!

    Take care and all the best!

  13. Anne B. says:

    Be gentle with yourself. Both of my parents passed away when I was young, too. I thank heaven for my husband. He has always been my rock. I’ll bet you are thankful for your good husband, too. Try to enjoy the time without the kids this week, too. Take some time to do something fun, also!

    Take care.

  14. Do you have a coach?
    I ask because I am one, and because so much of your awareness (what you mention in this post) is what keeps business owners from moving forward, continuing with their current success and helps them get sucked into their anxiety and depression.

    Having someone like a coach can keep you moving in the right direction and can help you dig out of the hole you put yourself in with all those thoughts.

    Sometimes working through it on your own is hard because you can’t see outside of your own head, but anyone else can and they can help you see the view from out there.

    Anyway, I’m glad you are working on things now, sometimes taking them head on is great, but my advice is one issue at a time if you can – usually they all connect so it feels like you are working on more than one though.

    Sorry for writing a book on your wall, but I’m glad to see you sharing your journey – that alone is sometimes enough therapy.

  15. Mary L. says:

    I’m with you!
    I’ve been where you are, but I wasn’t as insightful as you are. I only felt dark and tired all of the time.
    I’ve snapped back with the help of friends and a very patient and understanding DH.
    The anxiety was the worst when I went to public places…but learned to focus and take long, deep breaths in and even longer ones out. I also learned a technique to where I can relax all of my muscles that were tense…it helped tons. Relaxing the muscles I found made it easier to function, in many ways. I lost the tiredness from keeping them tense all of the time and was finally able to start walking and exercising a bit.
    Some of my favorite sayings during all of this were : Don’t Sweat the Small Stuff and This Too Will Pass…borrowed, but very helpful.
    Peace and you are in my very good thoughts and meditations. >^.,.^<

  16. Jamie! You are a-mazing. And we can’t let clutter or mis-placed intentions for projects get in the way of realizing our worth.

    So many of us here think of you as a light-hearted, never-have-a-problem, funny, awesome, perfect blogger with truly gifted skills in the low-carb world.

    It’s actually refreshing to know that we are more alike than we originally thought. It’s good to be HUMAN. And it’s good to address those things in our lives as well.

    But the best part is when you can do it WITH friends – either in the flesh or cyber – and have the support of all of us.

    We love you!!

  17. Jill McNamara says:

    You’re right. We do not know each other. That said, I am not sure when I’ve been so moved by a post. I’ve lurked through the lc friends boards and found my way here.

    I am older than you. My kids are up and out, married and one is hopefully pregnant. We are at different stages, but I am stunned at the human condition – how well you have described what is probably more common than most of us know.
    Thank you for taking the time to examine this particular moment in your life and for being so eloquent in expressing it.

    My own addition to so many of your feelings is this: I am always aware how blessed and grateful I am. And those feelings are separate from the actions of avoidance. Almost annoying knowing how I SHOULD feel.

    Thank you again.

  18. I don’t normally reply to blogs, however, today’s post struck a chord with me so I shared it with my on-line WW group. I don’t suffer from the anxiety you talked about but am a perfectionist who is sometimes crippled by the very perfection I seek.

    Mindfulness is what WW has taught me and I try to apply it to all aspects of my life. I have lost 35# since Jan, 2012 and am celebrating my new found sense of self & good health. Which is why I’ve discovered and subscribed to so many “foodie” blogs. If I fall down on the job I know tomorrow will be a new day, with new opportunities from which to learn & enjoy.

    You didn’t share a recipe today & perhaps we didn’t need another recipe. There are recipes galore in the vast blogosphere. Seems today was a day for connecting and conversation!

    Thanks for sharing!
    Tobi

    PS – Celebrate that your kids are strong and independent enough to leave for the summer – you made them that way! And you really wouldn’t want them any other way.

  19. I loved every word you wrote and I am totally with you on all of it.

    My mom died suddenly in 1999, and I had to start handling things for my dad; my dad’s 92 year old mom died in 2001, and I kept handling things for my dad; my dad got Alzheimer’s (or already had it) and died in 2008; I’m the oldest and the one he wanted to take care of everything for my two sisters; I lost a bunch in the market in 2008, right after inheriting it from my dad; eventually decided to use some of it to move from our old decrepit neighborhood into a beautiful new house in 2010, which I love. The weekend we moved in I had what was thought to be a TIA, but later diagnosed as Bells Palsy, brought on by extreme stress.

    Today is June 6, 2012, and finally, thanks to my husband and one of my sisters, my dad’s house is basically cleaned out to sell, my old house is NOT, my income taxes are late (as in 2010 and 2011), I’m overwhelmed at work and at home………….all these things are weighing heavily on my soul and shoulders.

    I have a magical thought process that once these things are taken care of, one by one, then I will feel better. I sure hope that’s right. At least my blood sugar has been under control for the last month or so, thanks to my new way of eating.

    And, yes, it feels good to state these things.

    I wish you the very best and so appreciate your willingness to open up about this.

  20. Thank you for sharing, Jamie! I too have anxiety and understand some if whats going on. My thoughts and prayers are with you as you contine forward. <3

  21. Suzanna says:

    Thanks so much for sharing! :D

  22. Jamie,

    I found you on low carb friends, and have followed you and used so many of your awesome recipes. You have enhanced the quality of my life, in a very real way. You are so fantastic!

    Having said that, I could have Written this post. Thank you for sharing. I am working on owning my fabulousness as well, and that definitely means not escaping, and tackling All of the stuff that scares me.

    Much love!
    Lacey

  23. I can down with that! Thank you for sharing with us, I know that it’s not easy to put ourselves out there and the fact that you just did says so much. I recently started going to see a therapist for unsorted baggage and am slowly learning alot about myself like actually mirrors alot of what you said. XOXO

  24. Anxiety sucks!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  25. Bring on the blog therapy! It always helps to share. And it seems we can all relate…I just lost my mom two weeks ago after being pretty much the sole caregiver for several years and caring for my dad before that. I have been feeling numb and have been thinking that I need to try and work through things like you are doing. You inspire me. We just have to give ourselves time to get used to this new phase in our lives. It will all be okay!

    Thanks for the post!

  26. Toni R. says:

    Behind every funny person are layers which often include pain. Thank you for sharing and being vulnerable. I think you are amazing and use your gifts to help so many people. When I am overwhelmed with disorganization I completely dive into avoidance- tv, computer, etc. I also suffer crowd anxiety and don’t share that with many. I think that the perfectionist in me is my worst trait because it causes me to feel failure and dislike for myself. The diet effort had always been a failure because I couldn’t be perfect. The lo-carb eating life has been the longest and most successful that I have been on any program. I do my best every day but don’t throw it out the window if I eat too many carbs. I so appreciate you and thank you for many laughs as I go about my day and today I appreciate that you shared your heart.

  27. Wonderful post. I’m sure many can identify with at least part of what you are feeling. I think you would benefit from flylady.net. She talks about loving ourselves and making a difference in our homes and lives by decluttering. When you said you were giving away unfinished projects I thought of what Flylady says to us. When you give something away you are blessing someone else. So, you see, you are not wasting your unfinished projects, you are blessing someone else who will really appreciate them and getting rid of something that makes you feel guilty every time you look at it. She also says you can do anything 15 minutes at a time. I was reminded of this when you said you urged yourself to put away 5 more things. Same principle.

  28. I am right there with you! I’ve been having similar feelings and ended up making a list of goals for myself that looked amazingly similar to your list! My current mantra is as follows:

    “If you focus on results, you will never change. If you focus on change, you will get results.” ~Jack Dixon

    I guess it’s like “what would Jesus do” but instead of being for kindness, mine is for kicking my ass into gear to help me stay focused and get out of my slump. Maybe it will kick you a little too?

    Hang in there girl!

  29. Jamie,

    Life has a very funny way of bringing things together at the right moments. Your entry arrived in my email, and just as I was reading it, Kelly Clarkson’s latest song, “Dark Side”, began playing on the radio. The lyrics mirror your post so well, and I just want to say that I do indeed love and accept your ‘dark side’!!! I will forever be grateful for the amazing things you have taught me and the opportunities that have come my way as a result of you. Your ‘dark side’ is uniquely you … and just as uniquely beautiful!! Thank you for trusting us enough to share it!

    http://youtu.be/H5ArpRWcGe0

    <3<3<3

  30. I have similar issues…clutter/hoarding to an extent (but not like what you see on TV…they make my house look immaculate!), buying things with the best of intentions, but never getting around to using/making them, and procrastinating about projects that need to be done, because sometimes they just seem so overwhelming, or I’m having a hard idea figuring out where to begin.

    My filing cabinet needs attention, so that I can file all of the new piles of papers away in it. I have FIVE storage units here…the boss has only allotted me one and a half. I’ve commandeered the others. I know I need to consolidate and purge, but that hasn’t happened to date, despite his bitching about it since last Sept. It seems that every time I decide to get rid of something, inevitably I, or someone that I know, wind up needing it shortly thereafter, and I have to go spend more money to replace it. On the flip side of that, there has been more than one occasion, when I’ve needed something, and knew that I had it…somewhere. My lack of organization has forced me to go buy it again, because I couldn’t find it at that moment. So, for me, I guess organization is key.

    I’ve printed more recipes out, and then couldn’t find the one I was looking for, when I needed it. Back to the puter to look it up… only this time, I’m writing it out by hand, since the printer is in another building, and I’m too lazy to hook up the brand new one in the box that I bought for the house…another example of those good intentions! I have lots of books on my shelves that I want to read, and DVD’s that I have yet to watch. Lots of “someday” stuff. All I’m trying to say, is that I can relate, and that today is as good a day as any. Probably better, since none of us are promised tomorrow. :)

    Oh, and as for your being alone this summer, what about spending some quality time with child #4? Of course, you are never really alone, Jamie, because you always have us right at your fingertips…literally! Hugs!!! <3

  31. Jeanine says:

    One day when at a place where my house of cards could no longer be held up from what was holding them, I was graced by running across a very wise woman that said something to me one day that began the most profound healing of my life, and what she said was this…

    “Sweetheart, what if there is NOTHING wrong with you? What if it is all these *ideas* about how you should be and what you should be are what is wrong? – not you, but the ideas themselves? What if you are perfect just the way you are….exactly the way you are?” (It never occured to me to consider that it was the ideas themselves that we all have been taught in our culture about how we should be are what is flawed – not me!) These things I was telling myself and holding myself hostage for if I didn’t perform to my own standards were all just concepts … and I am a human being…a REAL breathing, loving, creative, warm, gental, perfectly perfectionsitic at times and complusive at other times, and down at other times, REAL Human Being. YAY!

    That wise woman was the author Mary O’Malley. She actually saved my life.

    Thank you for again sweetie for gifting my life today, only this time by sharing with such generosity what is in your heart. And as you see here by now with the outpouring that you are not alone. What you share is something that we all share deep down, hidden beneath the painted on smiles and the FB posts that everything is so wonderful.

    Here is a post from Mary O’Malley that I thought I’d share with you!
    Much Love to you from a fellow traveler of abandoment issues, perfectionism (and all other ism’s that can be thought of or named!)

    Big, BIG hugs!

    The Power of the Merciful Heart to Heal
    By Mary O’Malley

    “There is no greater power than the merciful heart. Even the word mercy has a healing influence. At a Stephen Levine workshop, a woman at the microphone spoke from the pain in her life, but she shared it from that place of hating it, hating herself and hating the world. The energy in the room began to contract the longer she shared. When Stephen began to gently but repeatedly say, “Mercy; have mercy; have mercy on yourself,” the room transformed from reaction to response. There is not one of our challenges, drawbacks or difficulties that can withstand the power of a merciful heart. And there is not one person in this world who is not deserving of this.

    A dear friend was in a major transition time. An important relationship, her job and her home were all changing. These are the times where our deepest grief can slip through the cracks of our vulnerability. On the way home from a particularly trying day, she witnessed a family of ducks heading onto the freeway directly in front of a speeding bus. Because there was a fence between her and the freeway, there was nothing she could do. She pulled over to the side of the road and sobbed a river of tears. Instead of being cleansed by this upwelling, she found herself caught in confusion, panic and self-judgment, hating herself for her vulnerability.

    Sitting in misery in front of her fireplace that evening, a memory from her childhood surfaced. She saw herself sitting on a stool in a warm and cozy kitchen, while her favorite aunt made her cocoa and toast. She was filled with the care and tenderness of that act. This moved her into the same level of tenderness and mercy with herself. She said that the transition was so dramatic that it was as if all of the heartache and despair of the past few weeks had been a dream and she was finally awake. The ability to meet herself as if she were a beloved child, even in the most vulnerable of places, transformed her experience.

    Just as with kindness and compassion, the most powerful place we can learn mercy is with ourselves.”

    ~Mary O’Malley (Author of “The Gift of Our Compulsions)

  32. Thank you for sharing. I suffer from bipolar, ocd, and anxiety. I started low carb to deal with 40 years of emotional eating. Your site has helped me more than you could know. I can’t control the stress in my life, but can finally control what I eat and that’s something I never thought I’d be able to do! I strongly recommend yoga. Not only has it helped me tone up, but more importantly it has helped me calm down. I wish there were something I could say to help, but know that it’ll get better!

  33. Carolyn says:

    I am with you! I just started following your blog, actually this is my second one to receive and I like that you are real! Keep your chin up and make the most out of this summer sans kids!

  34. Here’s another way to think about giving your stuff away.
    I think of it the same way I now think of asking for help.

    If you keep it but don’t use it, you might be denying someone else the opportunity to make use of it, or find joy in it.
    Maybe, a way to think about giving away the things that remind you of your mother is that you are sharing your mother with others. I’m not sure of your relationship or memories of your mother, but maybe it’s a way to share good memories or the story of your mom?

    I recently was shown to think of asking for help in that not asking might be denying someone else the joy of helping. I know I enjoy being able to help someone who needs it and if I don’t ask, someone else won’t get the chance to say yes when they really want to.

  35. Wonderful post. I can easily put myself right into your shoes. I always find myself stopping short and being amazed that I am not alone. I think we, as a society, have become less social. I don’t see the groups of kids playing outside like when I was young, or everyone out on their porches, visiting and being neighborly. It is easy to feel like you are fighting your battles alone, and so nice to be reminded that you are not.

  36. You know what? It is nice to read your story and others here because I have many days that I think I am the only one with problems, lonliness, no family, and etc. Also, glad (not sure that is the word for it) that someone else does not know how to keep a house. I do it, but it does not look like the immaculate places my friends have.

    I am also learning (see the present tense here?) that I cannot and will not be all things to all people. It stresses me out and where is the joy in that? And how can I be a joy to be around (not sure anyone would use that term with me, would like to think so, but not sure) if I am stressed.

    I LOVE LOVE LOVE that you work so hard at posting and presenting recipes that are so good and so good for us. But you know? if you are not up to doing that, so what! Keep on posting only if and when you feel like it.

    Big hugs and don’t be so hard on yourself and thank you so much for sharing.

    • I’m definitely not stopping the recipes– I just need a mental spa week I think!

      Thanks so much for all of your support, everyone! It’s so nice knowing that I don’t have to be perfect to be your friend. I am really pretty lucky to know such amazing people who don’t mind being a little flawed with me.

  37. Cathriona Kelly says:

    Thanks for sharing this and making me reflect that I am very similar – it is good to recognise all of these emotions and to ‘clear’ them, let them go and move forward. I didn’t read all the post above so don’t know if anyone has suggested this or you are familiar with it….. EFT?
    Emotional Freedom Technique – it is a fab and simple tool to have when dealing with emotions and I find it a simmer… google it and you will fins simple videos of how to apply – based on accupressure points on the body and tapping them. Can be used for any situation.

    I lost my best friend to cancer recently and tapping has helped me deal with lots of the emotions and fears.

    http://tappingvideos.com/tag/avoidance/

    big hugs – thank you.

  38. Mary Jane says:

    Thank you for sharing and trusting us. You are amazing and I thank God every day that I found your blog and recipes. I hope you know how much you mean to all who stop by. Blessings to you and your family.

  39. Sorry you are suffering…I hope you find what makes you happy. Hugs lovely lady!

  40. You are SO not the only human to be flawed!! I admire your courage to share like you have today. I remember years ago being terrified to share with others the person I really was. I was terrified of being “caught”! Today, I think due to age & time, I am much kinder to myself. We’re always harder on ourselves much more than anyone else could ever be! It’s actually a relief to realize that I don’t have to be perfect………Thank God!!

    Hang in there sweet lady! I want to thank you for all that you’ve shared with us………recipes & yourself! I find a lot of joy in your words! So, I send you mega hugs & lots of sunshine!!

  41. Excellent post. Your words paint the picture. It is often hard to explain irrational feelings to “rational” people. Why is it hard to get rid of a tattered quilt that is falling apart? Because it was my mom’s. Why is it hard to throw away that plastic thing? Because it was my son’s art project. etc. Good word art, Jamie.

  42. You are most definitely not alone; you are beyond coeageous for sharing and although we eat your recipes at least 2x a week YOU are more valued than they are. You give much to the world; let us return the support. Know that YOu Matter.

    Edie

  43. Sam Paul says:

    Wow. I think it’s amazing that you would share all of that with us. We all have issues, but most aren’t willing to put it out for all to see.

    I think you incredibly awesome, Jamie. Always have, always will.

    While we’re not filling up space at your home, we are filling up your bandwidth. :-) Come talk to us when you feel alone. We are all in this together…. one for all, all for one.

    You are loved and highly regarded.

  44. We all need to take a mental break once in a while, just to breathe and focus on ourselves. You’re strong, you can get through this one minute at a time.

  45. Katherine says:

    You just described me to a tee! You made me see things in myself that I didn’t know was there-you are not alone, I am going to try and use your advice moving forward. Best wishes

  46. Sandy Alden says:

    Hi, Jamie! You are telling my story, so MANY HUGS from another obsessor! Perfect people are only found in Heaven, so you don’t have to be. Time to back away and rest and recouperate. Go smell the roses and have a cup of tea. In fact have two cups. Put your feet up. Sleep. And it is OK to be imperfect!
    Much Love,
    Sandy

  47. You are so entitled to have a small pitty party and that now that you have had that, you are getting busy again-moving forwarded. That is great and I stand and shake my pom poms for you. I send you hugs and prayers.

  48. Candall says:

    “Maybe you sabotage yourself because you fear change.”

    This hit me like a lightning bolt. That’s exactly what I’m doing. Thank you.

  49. I’m with you, Jamie!! Love this post!
    Hugs and understanding to you, and where I don’t understand… full acceptance and unconditional love! You’re not alone. xoxo

  50. Thank you for sharing. Like many people I have also struggled with grief and I know how difficult it is. I could say a million things to try to help you, but if I had to say one thing, I would advise you to take some steps to increase your mindfulness. Being in the now helps you focus on the present and what you actually have, rather than the past and what you have lost. Because the past doesn’t exist anymore. It’s just gone. It may not seem like a lot, but once you really focus on what you have in your life, you might have a new outlook. I wish you the best.

  51. Hi Jamie,
    You are wonderful. Several years ago I finally realized I am not alone in my feelings, emotions, fear, love, hate, worry, floggng myself (mentally), for misteakes, both real and percieved, I can go on and on. But one day I realized I was not unique, that we ALL have the same feelings, although in different levels and perceptions. We ARE human, after all and humans do have similar traits.
    So relax and enjoy the trip. Do what you can do and do not worry about what you cannot do.
    it is hard to let go of things. They all evoke memories and emotions. While it is ok to let go of things, it is also ok to hold on to things that bring good memories.
    I lost my mother in 1995 and I have a few things of hers I will not let go of. But when I really need her, I just listen in my mind and I hear her voice and wisdom. And I cry while I write this. And it is ok.
    Kapla and may the Force be with you.
    JoAnn M. (JAM)

  52. Jamie,
    Hang in there and don’t feel pressured to post recipes until you’re ready. I was writing a couponing blog last year and I know exactly how you feel (I couldn’t keep it up the way I wanted to and have since taken it down and started a weight loss blog).

    Sometimes life just needs to take priority!

    I felt like I lived such a charmed life for 48 years. I had no deaths in my family, my parents lived 4 doors away from me and my mom was my best friend and my son’s favorite person in the world. I won’t go into the whole sad story here but, three years ago she ended up on life support after a fairly simple surgery. It was a shock to everyone to say the least. She died after 45 days on life support, my dad never got over it and he died a year and a half later. My aunt (mom’s sister) and my uncle (dad’s brother) both died withing six months of my dad and most recently, a family friend who was like my second mother died this past January.

    It’s been a very, very rough 3 years and I finally know what it’s like to deal with loss. Lots of loss. But it’s also made me realize how thankful I am for what I have and for my husband, my son, my brother, his family and my friends.

    You take whatever time you need…we’ll be here!

  53. Miss Beth says:

    Thank you, Jamie, for sharing yourself with us. Lately I’ve been feeling so overwhelmed by the clutter in my life–the house, the yard, the remaining weight, the piles on every flat surface, the self-imposed guilt, the people who turn out not to be friends. The reason most of my clutter exists is because I hibernate, go into denial, put on blinders and just plain do not deal with it.

    Just before opening your email this morning, I read a post by FlyLady about hiding in my house away from people because the mess of my life had gotten so bad that I was afraid they’d find out. And then your terrific post comes up. Between the two of you, the Lord has greatly encouraged my heart this morning and given me new strength to break out of my tendency to withdraw, to just DO something to get going.

    This is your blog, Jamie, and YOU are more than just recipes. Share as much of your heart with us as you dare. And those of us who love you will keep coming back, sharing in your journey, and cheering you on.

  54. Yeah, I’m sorry. I can’t relate.

    I’m perfect.

    *snort*

    Sincerely,

    Miss Congeniality

    (still here?)

    Hugs and hang in there girl. Glad you shared! And yep, I can very much relate! Well – not to the kids leaving, cuz I’m not a producer, but I have experienced something similar in other regards.

    I think you have a very level headed plan of action!! Disciplining ourselves is good. I suck at it. But it’s still very good to engage in self-disciplining. I’m more a “fly-by-the-bottom-of-my-bag-of-Lay’s-girl” personally…but that hasn’t worked out so good for me this past year!

    MUAH!

  55. Tiffany says:

    You’re very courageous for sharing with us; just keep at it and try to remember that we’re never perfect versions of ourselves. Besides, you’re obviously not alone, since my comments is about the 50th just today. :)

  56. Lenore Schaffnit says:

    Jamie, it WILL get better. However, if it doesn’t get better soon, do not be ashamed to get some help. (You sound like me 30 years ago, when I broke down in tears after a circus would not take my check for tickets. I was depressed and didn’t know it. A round of Prozac for 6 months corrected my chemical imbalance and gave me hope. I have been fine since.) No need to pull yourself up by the bootstraps – it just doesn’t work sometimes, and that just adds to our guilt and shame.

    You do so much, and your kids are just going away for a season. They will always be your kids, at home or away, and that bond is strong.

    The work that needs to get done will get done, too.

    Have courage, get help, and hang in there! [[[hugs]]]

  57. Jamie,
    Thank you for sharing. That’s one of the things I love about you. You have a gazillion folowers but not because you’re Martha Stewart but because you’re more like Lucy Ricardo with a knack in the kitchen and a way with words. You know I say that with all the love in my heart. You’re real, you’re raw and we can relate to you.

    I know how you feel girlfriend. I have a habit of signing up for every bit of schooling I possibly can, try to maintain a full time job and kick myself for not blogging each and every week like others do.

    I needed to read this today and thank you my sweet friend for being so very human.

    xoxoxo

  58. Thanks so much, Jamie, for being willing to share more of you. Everyone struggles with something and I find it encouraging to read about yours and your wonderful solutions. You are a very valuable person to me ~ clearly for the food/recipes part of you, but also for the more vulnerable part of you. To be willing to share as you have makes you more “real” and therefore even more credible. (not that you weren’t already. I hope you know what I mean by that). Thanks for being you. That helps me to be more me!! XOXO

  59. Well I think you are mahvelous dahling and that you are quite an inspiration. I thank you for letting us know what is going on and I am with you through thick and thin.. perfectness and imperfectness. So hang with us and put your big girl panties on. We love ya! AND…. check this out. https://www.thinkgeek.com/geektoys/eb99/ hilarious.. you need some! Cindy

  60. Wow– it’s not just me. But I promise you– it gets better– the angst about the kids, that is.
    I really admire that you were able to identify the issues surrounding letting things go. I’ve been working on that for a long time. I think your perspective really helped me.
    Be gentle with yourself, and thank you.

    • Jamie,
      i found this poem in “stuff to be sorted” (does that sound familiar?)
      I had just imbarked on my year of living dangerously, thanks to my husbands blessing, to work for Northwest Airlines for a year. On my way moving from New Mexico to Minneapolis I went thru the Dakotas
      Visiting Crazy Horse and Mt Rushmore. I found this poem at Crazy Horse and wrote it down.

      Poem from Crazy Horse Monumument muesum Aug 9, 1996
      Author unknown

      Youth lies in trying to reach for a goal
      It’s being discouraged that ages the soul
      You’re as young as your faith
      And as old as your doubt
      You’re as young as the thing you are dreaming about
      You’re as young as your confidence
      And old as your fears
      As young as the hope you maintain through the years

      JoAnn M

  61. Jamie…
    Hoping not to sound hokie or opportunist, I feel as though I’ve found a BFF. (Is that term still used??) You have my complete support and I am SO with you :)

    I too am confronting life long directives and repairing my spirit for a happier and healthier “rest of my life”. Hugs to you dear Jamie… and to this wonderful circle of friendship you have created!

    I offer my friendship as I welcome yours.
    ~> Freda (Spokane, WA)

  62. Jamie, I so hear what you are saying! I too was always waiting for the other shoe to drop….. until just recently. I finally realized that there is nothing “I” can do to stop certain things and I had to learn to “trust” again.

    Clutter has also become something I’m having to deal with lately – it never was before. It may have something to do with not wanting to give things up too – like my daughter to an addictive lifestyle and leaving her 2 young daughters for my husband and I to raise. She lives 90 minutes away and has not been to see them for 3 months.

    This week at the last minute (because of a no-show) Connie Bennett, author of Beyond Sugar Shock, asked me to be interviewed on “Gab With the Gurus” about my “Sugar Free Summer – 90 day Challenge” on Facebook. This was 3 minutes before going to air! Then 1 minute before going to air Marla Cilley (The FlyLady) called in 1 day early for her interview. How timely! (for me) as I wouldn’t have to be the only guest now. And mostly because I found out about her new book “Body Clutter”. I do not believe in coincidence! This book has already started to change me and change my life!

    {{{HUGS}}} Love you! Donna <3

  63. Wow…am sitting here speechless….Jamie, I have loved you and been able to relate with you since I first read about your “kitchen adventures”! You’re since of humor is awesome! I lurk around on the lighter side group on fb and have posted there occasionally.
    You are all a wonderful group of women, that apparently I needed to connect with at this perfect moment.
    I am struggling with some very personal issues right now and trying to find a new way to “just live and be”. Thanks to all who have shared, because I just gained a whole lot of insight to me and most of my issues by reading all of this. It is wonderful to know that I am not alone in my struggles.
    I would love to say more, but for now….I just want to thank all of you for being such an inspiration.
    Jamie…it takes a very strong person to admit their faults and I think you are strong and beautiful! Hang in there and breathe….enjoy the strength, comfort and love that you have created and found here. You’re awesome!!!

  64. Think you’ve already seen how appreciative people are when you share a bit of yourself. I know I see that a lot over at my blog. Nobody likes to feel like they’re being lectured by a perfect robot.

    *hug* You can do it, grrrlfriend. And man, I can sooo relate.

  65. I could have written this post. The struggles with perfectionism mirror my own and brought tears to my eyes. Thank you for sharing your struggles, it helped me to know I am not alone in this avoidance due to perfectionism.

  66. Kathlene says:

    I wonder if somehow we could all magically see the inner pain in each other’s lives how kinder this mean ol’ world would be. My heart goes out to you, Jamie, because I do understand quite a bit of what you’ve been experiencing…from a personal viewpoint. I haven’t suffered the loss you have, and that is something no one who hasn’t experienced it can truly understand. Being a perfectionist was how I rose from secretary to vice president/litigation manager of a large NYSE corporation, but it also is the main quality I’ve used to sabotage myself over and over trying to achieve a somewhat normal body weight. I love your thoughtful dedications. I admire your perserverance and courage. You need to be as kind and gentle on yourself as you are to all those thousands of others whose own journeys have been made easier because of your encouragement and talents. Just figure that homecoming will be extra sweet when your kidlets get home. Hugs to you, sweetie. Kathy aka Kathycan

  67. Jeanette says:

    Thanks for sharing your precious heart with us. How hard was that? Girly girl, you continue to amaze me and impress me, even if you don’t feel that yourself. Look at you G*R*O*W*I*N*G, and in a good way! Lots of love, and hugs and prayers.

  68. Jamie, you might look at this as an opportunity to empathize more deeply with those folks undergoing “empty nest syndrome.” At any rate, this will give you a chance to anticipate how you will react when children are not the main focus of your life and how you want to deal with those feelings when they arise.

  69. Jamie, I looked here to see what’s happened to you since I last saw you on LCF, and I got something that I really really needed. Thank you for sharing so eloquently and openly. It spoke right to my heart, as I am going through some of the same things right now. Bless you, and know we are all in this together.

    • Thank you so much, Diana! I appreciate your generosity of kindness! I am doing so much better now. Time management has been my friend… I’m just glad it doesn’t ask to borrow my sweaters.

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