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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.

Completely overwhelmed.

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 essential oils, especially anything with Wild Orange in it, 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?

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About Me


With a mission to help mothers during some of the most challenging years of their lives,  Michelle offers a safe space for those struggling with their mental health. Having gone through Postnatal Depression herself, Michelle has lived the experiences and wishes to help those who are feeling lonely and scared.


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