I'm not sure I really used that word much before I had PND. I don’t think I had ever really thought about what it meant in terms of mental health. I was aware of it in terms of biology i.e. an immune system can be overwhelmed by a virus, or a species can be overwhelmed by another species.
But whilst I was sick, it became my ‘mantra’ – sadly, not a positive one! I found myself approaching everything with thoughts like ‘ It's all too much’, ‘ I can’t do this’ , ‘I don’t know where to start’. My chest would feel constricted, I would start breathing quickly, I felt as if my brain were swelling and about to explode, I could feel the blood pounding in my ears. My brain would grind to a halt.
It’s really difficult once you reach this point – but you have a choice. Stay with the overwhelm, panic, and fall apart for a while. Or find a way through.
I’ve found some ways to approach overwhelm now.
WHAT'S THE MESSAGE? I treat overwhelm differently now. Instead of thinking that it occurs because I am defective in some way, I realise that overwhelm can alert me to a need to reassess my current situation. If I feel it rising inside, I try to stop and look at what I am doing. Have I taken on too many commitments and need to reduce what I am doing? Have I forgotten to take time out for myself? Have I made a decision which is not in alignment with my truth?
ONE THING AT A TIME! I know that overwhelm can be a reaction to my self-talk. For e.g., my to do list can evoke huge overwhelm. If I think about ALL the things I have to do, I can freeze up with panic. I start saying to myself ‘ I’ll never get this finished’, ‘there’s too much to do’, and ‘ why can’t someone else help me’. All these questions are useless – they just fan the flames. I try really hard now not to think about ALL the things that have to be done – just the first task. Then the next. And the next. Sooner than I think, it’s all done. Wow!
A tool to help! I have found doTERRA’s Motivate blend to be so helpful in relation to overwhelm. When I know I have to face something that stresses me and can send me into overwhelm ( like cleaning and sorting my office!) then I use this blend before I start. I can be sitting in complete overwhelm, unable to think of anything to do to start this task, unable to move. I use this blend and about 15 mins later I realise I’ve gotten up and just started. No drama. No stress….just started. And isn’t getting started half the problem?
Maybe I'll always have a tendency to get overwhelmed in certain situations, but I just keep trying to learn ways to make things easier, and watch for the warning signs. I'm definitely a lot better than I used to be....Thank Goodness!!
I wonder what works for you?