Is Denial Actually A Good Thing?

Over the last few weeks, I have begun to notice that I have been spending more and more time in denial about the things that have been happening in my life, and in the world around me. I am aware that all of the mental health books and skills tell you that denial is a bad thing, and 99% of the time, I would agree with them. However, in recent weeks, I have noticed that being in denial is a survival technique for me. Awareness of this denial is an important piece of this too as although denial is working for me right now, I cannot deny things forever.

So, what am I denying right now?

Firstly, COVID. I know that it is still there, that the risk is still there and that all of the restrictions will be lifting in my province in less than two weeks. I am ready for the world to go back to normal and for us to begin to see each other again without any restrictions. But, I am also still nervous. I am not ready to remove my mask. I am not ready to chance things right now when Hubby and I are finally able to start making plans again. So, I am denying it is happening. For now. I will still wear my mask. I will still take precautions. And I will still do everything to keep myself, and my family safe.

Next is Ukraine. I am aware of what is happening, and I do not agree with it at all. I hate war. I hate what is happening and the amount of people who have to flee their own country. And I am terrified that some of my military friends are going over there too. But, I also do not have the space right now to consider all of this. Am I privileged because I can just ignore that it is happening right now? Yes. Am I an asshole for not following it right now? Probably. But I also know that an unwell me, is a useless me, and so I am in denial. Denying it is happening until I can get to a place where I can manage all the emotions that it is making me feel.

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Thirdly is my work-life balance. Or the lack there of. I know that I am not balancing work and life well right now. I am spending way too much time at work and not enough time home. I am spending way too much time thinking about work when I am not at work and feeling tired and overwhelmed. But in the short term, there is very little that I can do about it. Things are improving, slowly, and until that happens, I am going to continue to be in denial. I am going to ignore the lack of boundaries I have right now with work, and instead focus on the next few months until I am on the other side of this.

Next is my anti-social behaviour. I can make excuses and use real things like isolations and close contact lists to justify why I am not spending time with my friends, but we both know that is not it. I am too tired. Too tired to socialize and have the extra space for friends, or Hubby some days as well. I know it is unhealthy. I know that socialization will actually improve my mood, and that I always feel better when I spend time with people who care about me. Maybe next month. And that is okay.

Finally, my depression. I am not necessarily sure whether I would call this issue denial but rather avoidance. I am always lower in the winter, as is Hubby, so this is something we both know is going to happen each year. But, I am trying to “fake it until I make it.” I feel like I do not have another option right now. I have to go to work. I have to have a household and help manage it. And I have to get up and go day to day. So, I will deny it is happening. Hopefully, this will allow me the time to get to the spring and those long summer days, and oceanfront views, that help me refresh my soul.

Denial is not healthy long term. It does not allow you to face the challenges in front of you head on so you can move through them and eventually past them. One of my really good friends keeps reminding me that I need to feel deal heal. In order to move past my shit, I need to feel it, deal with it and then can heal from it. And I agree. But, for right now, with the way my life is and how I am feeling, I may still in my denial for a little bit longer. What are you denying these days too?

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