Do you ever feel overwhelmed?
Dictionary.com defines “overwhelm” as a verb (used with object)
1. to overcome completely in mind or feeling: overwhelmed by remorse.
2. to overpower or overcome, especially with superior forces; destroy; crush: Roman troops were overwhelmed by barbarians.
3. to cover or bury beneath a mass of something, as floodwaters, debris, or an avalanche; submerge: Lava from erupting Vesuvius overwhelmed the city of Pompeii.
So, it would appear that to be overwhelmed something must be doing the overwhelm-ing. In #1, remorse has overwhelmed. In #2, barbarians overwhelmed the romans. In #3, lava overwhelmed Pompeii.
All this to say, it seems you cannot be “overwhelmed” by yourself. There must be something performing the action (verb) of overwhelm upon you, so that you feel (or I suppose possibly physically are) overwhelmed.
I would hope that you are not physically overwhelmed, nothing has actually buried you and you are not being overpowered by another, destroyed or crushed. If this is the case for you – seek help immediately. I’m not joking here, this would be a very serious situation.
For today let’s talk about feeling overwhelmed. I suppose you could truly feel like you were being overpowered or overcome by another person, or a situation. You could even feel as if you were being buried – ie: paperwork at work, too much on your plate, etc. To be overwhelmed in your mind or by your feelings, hmmm, that’s a tough one.
I will admit that the thought that prompted this writing was that I was overwhelmed by the feeling of loss. I sat here and read, yet another email about a young soldier killed in action. No, this wasn’t someone I knew, but it wasn’t in the newspaper either. This was a soldier in my son’s brigade. It wasn’t anyone my son knew either, but being the mom of a deployed soldier, the loss of any soldier brings a feeling of loss. I shared this with another military mom and she asked, “When will it all stop?” Now, I’m not here to bash the President or the decade long war. War is hell, it happens and it stinks, unfortunately it is a part of civilization. But I am here to share the feeling of being overwhelmed. I actually sat at my computer, put my head in my hands and said, “I feel overwhelmed.” Then I could feel myself starting to slip into sadness and my eyes start to tear up. Then I said (does it make me crazy that I talk outloud?? – grin) “No, I’m not giving in to this, I can’t go there.” And I got up and got doing something else. And now I’m fine.
Could I go back there in a second? Yup. But I won’t because I don’t want to be overwhelmed. I don’t want to wallow in sadness. That is not who I am and I refuse to become that person. So, that’s my “moment of weakness” story. Yes, I’m human (shh – don’t tell anybody, teehee), but I saw myself going down a road I did not want to take and I took a new direction.
Feeling overwhelmed is not fun. There may not be anything you can do about the thing that is causing you to feel that way, but you can do something about the way you react to it, the way you feel. Sure, it may actually take a bit of time to realize that you have become overwhelmed – it has a tendency to creep up on ya, but once you discover that’s where you are – climb your way out of that place as quickly as you can.
How will you pull yourself out of your slump when you are feeling overwhelmed? It might be something to think about, so that if/when you start down that road you have a plan in place to head in a new direction, one that has some fun and beauty along the way.