Overwhelm



To say that the whole world is suffering from a large dose of overwhelm feels like an understatement.


There is a tangible tension as though we’re all buzzing with something that doesn’t belong in our bodies. It can feel debilitating making us terrified to get out of bed because we don’t know what is going to ask us to have an answer or do something we feel ill-prepared to do. It can feel like we are unable to move and deal with even the smallest things around us. We can’t keep a sense of perspective, we’re reactive and we can be fed all manner of thoughts to keep this cycle going. Our plate is just overflowing with what we feel needs to be done.


In our home we might see more shouting, less tolerance for ‘breathing’… it feels like time is slipping through our fingers. We feel the shame of being unable to keep up, pathetic, like a piece of limp lettuce. There is a nagging sense someone might find us out any minute as being an abject failure and a fraud, so we have to work doubly hard to keep it all under wraps and keep the illusion going. The skills we have developed are often admired by others – “if you want something done, give it to a busy person”. We are actually perceived as being successful and productive in our overwhelm which makes it harder to let go of… that is until we crack. In fact, ‘cracking’ is, often, the only way others will let us walk away from that level of productivity as well.


- It could be that the identification we get from being able to ‘do it all’ that is championed by others, is actually harming us.


- It could be that we have simply said ‘yes’ to so much that we have forgotten how beautiful and loving the word ‘no’ is.


- It could be that we have decided we are so good at ‘doing everything’ that we take away the learning experiences for others who live with us or work with us, because ‘we will get it all done quicker' (of course that is absolutely true). Therefore, no one offers to help because they are worried about failing and not doing it to the perfection we expect or in the timeline we have set, confirming it is all down to us.


Yet what is overwhelm and could it be a state of mind we focus on so intently that has us out of balance?


“I am on my own, I am a single parent, I am coping with 2 teenagers and a 3rd about to be a teenager, I have this high-flying job which has a high-flying car to go with it, I don’t know how to do my job… on top of that I am starting to remember things from my childhood that I really need to deal with – there is genuinely a lot going on. My overwhelm is totally understandable.”


However, if we allow the focus of our thoughts to be ‘everything is a disaster, everything is a train wreck’ then that is how we will see, hear and feel it. We perceive what people say to us and what we feel we have to do through that lens. A fog of overwhelm means everything you hear is heard as ‘I have to do it all’.


If we let go of ‘we are on our own’ and it is all down to us, then we will see what is to be done and what is presented in a different way. There is always support. If we cut ourselves off and feel we are alone, we are at the mercy of those recycled thoughts that feed us we are incapable of handling what is before us to do.

Where would we be if we didn’t place our focus on all the things that make up the overwhelm?


What would happen in our world if we stopped feeding that monster thought?


 

Further reading


A moment of pause

Anxiety: what is it and how does it affect us?

How a speck on the wall becomes a super giant monster

Recharge tips for busy parents

Lockdown need not drive us crazy


Photo by Alex Green from Pexels