I'm having troubles understanding the difference between distractions from ANTs and what I always thought are my avoidance patterns.
For example, if I'm going to have a meeting (or a school exam in the past) and I need to prepare myself, studying stuff etc, what happens is that every time I start studying materials I start having negative thoughts and irrational catastrophe prophecies. Eventually this becomes so overwhelming I cannot keep doing what I'm doing and I need to do something else completely different to slow down my anxiety, so I walk away from my duties pretending the problem doesn't exist at all.
The outcome of this is that I find myself a few hours before the event completely unprepared and l cannot hold my anxiety back anymore so it explodes.
This was a big issue during my school life because I couldn't prepare oral exams properly and it's still affecting me somehow for work meetings.
Now, going through lesson 3 I see the suggestions for distractions and somehow reminds me of my avoidance patterns, I understand there are other situations where this strategy could work, for example social occasions where you don't need to prepare anything in advance and makes no sense to struggle with anticipatory anxiety hours or days before. In these cases I see how distractions from ANT's could be beneficial.
But how about the rest of the situations? In these cases I cannot manage to prepare myself for an event without experiencing ANT's and I don't see a clear way to distract myself away from them without completely avoid also the preparation.
What strategy could be used in these cases?
Thanks a lot in advance