In the last blog, I noted: "The real culprit behind anxiety is the learned, but faulty, "what if" thinking that evokes anxiousness. For example, "what if the doctor gives me bad news...that would be terrible" or "what if the elevator stops working...I could get stuck in there forever," etc. Instead of correcting the common, but faulty and disturbing what if thought, an anxious person wrongly seeks to avoid the situation. This behavior only serves to worsen anxiousness."
Let's look more closely at two very different patterns of avoidance behavior (I term these patterns paradoxical avoidance). One anxious person attempts to lessen anxieties about illness by totally avoiding doctor's offices while another does so by repeatedly scheduling visits to the doctor's. Although they are going about it in very different ways, paradoxically they both want to avoid the exact same thing. They both want to avoid the anxious feelings that result from their overly anxious thinking. Unfortunately for them, neither way works.