There is an old saying that goes something like “What won’t kill you will make you strong.” It is true. However, what they don’t tell you is you have to go to a place and through a process to get to that strength. It AIN’T easy. You can’t skip over it. You will need an arsenal of spiritual and emotional tools to help you because it will bring you to your knees. I call this place OVERWHELM.
Overwhelm is a place I rediscovered when the flood waters of Hurricane Harvey breached my home on 8/28/17 and rose to 6-feet destroying everything I owned. Overwhelm is a place I was forced to settle into when my dearly loved cousin-sistergirlfriend in Dallas died suddenly on 12/11/18, and I became the executor of her estate. Overwhelm is the place that challenges me to determine should I give in to despair or lace up for the good fight to overcome these temporary obstacles.
I’ve been told, “Girl, you are holding up great.” I’ve been told, “Girl, I don’t know how you are dealing with all of this.” I can tell you that out of survival necessity I’ve formulated a coping strategy. This strategy consists of two actions – recognition and formulation. I recognize when I am struggling, and I formulate an immediate action plan to work through it.
Here are some symptoms one can experience in the land of Overwhelm:
- Emotional eating
- Lack of appetite
- Lack of Focus
- Intolerance for others
- Numbness in spirit and emotions
- Physical Response
- Hair Loss
- Rashes / Hives
Some of these symptoms may be temporary, but some can come and remain with you. The most important thing you can do is give attention to yourself and what you are feeling.
Here are my recommendations to combat these symptoms:
- Exercise – try to move daily, a 30-minute walk is all you need if you don’t exercise regularly.
- Keep a routine – even if partially because you will have additional tasks for a short period.
- Express your feelings – talk to your “sounding boards” (friends, family, etc.) but no whining and self-pity parties.
- Compartmentalize tasks so you can move forward. It is better to move forward even if it is at a slower pace. Try to plan only 1-2 weeks out.
- Make lists and don’t feel guilty about it. Utilize simple tools – like the NOTES application on your smartphone – so you don’t add to your feelings of overwhelm by trying to learn a new app.
- Prepare to do some emotional eating because some of us will do it. Find healthy snacks and food to “crunch” out the anger and “smooth” the sadness.
- Know your limits and express them. Just say “NO” and, if necessary, “H*LL, NO!”
- Take a break / a change of scenery to step away from the overwhelming tasks for a bit. It will help you rejuvenate and regroup so you can continue onward.
I’ve chosen the good fight. I’ve been down on my knees praying. There is no timetable, and I’ve accepted I’m going to be here for a bit. I’ve decided to progress onward to acquire that strength on the other side because I have faith it is there waiting for me.