It feels like it happens more often than it used to these days. I’ll be trying to finish a task or make a decision, and my brain will freeze up. I’ll get panicked, and I won’t be able to complete the task I started (if I can even remember it in the first place). I lose my breath, lose focus, lose my grip on whatever I was doing. This feeling I get, the feeling of becoming overwhelmed, has become more of a problem for me in recent years. In today’s post, I want to try and figure out why.
There are so many words I’ve learned over the years that have helped me understand my mental health. The words I’ve learned that have helped me understand anxiety and it’s effect on me have been huge for me. I’m not always better able to handle a situation, but I’m a little less afraid.
These days, the word I tend to use for how I’m feeling is usually overwhelmed. It happens constantly, almost feeling like I’m on a track running laps. No matter how many laps I run, I’m always going to reach the same parts every time. In those moments, I blame myself for becoming overwhelmed. And while there are ways I want to improve so I’m not as easily overwhelmed in the future, I know it’s not all up to me.
See, here’s the thing about becoming overwhelmed; something has to overwhelm you. Regardless of how big or small that thing may seem, it’s something apart from ourselves. These things happen to us, but they also happen around us. I wish I could guess what these things are — and sometimes, I can. But oftentimes, it’s the things I couldn’t have guessed, or things I wouldn’t have guessed, that get to me.
And let me tell you what – right now, the world is overwhelming. Overwhelming in ways it’s always been, but also in new ways that range from mundane to terrifying. A lot of these ways are unexpected and unpredictable, but they are overwhelming all the same. And more than that, the overwhelmingness can lead to other feelings. Feelings like frustration, sadness, despair…the list goes on.
So what can I do with this information? It’s not the most shocking thing to realize; during my journalism classes in college, I noticed the steady shift from an analog way of doing things to taking a digital-first approach. That shift has exploded in the years since, but it’s something we’ve been aware of for a long time. Humans are a curious bunch; when it comes to new things, we have an instinct to try and figure them out. But the way the world’s changed in the last decade (let alone the last few years) would be overwhelming to think about and try to get to the bottom of it all.
I know I won’t stop myself from getting overwhelmed — I have anxiety, after all — but I’m hoping this context will make me feel more comfortable in these feelings. A lot of anxiety can center from the why of things, and the same goes for when we feel overwhelmed. But knowing the why won’t always solve the problem, and that’s okay. Hopefully, it gives us the information we need to move on to the next step, the next moment. To me, those times feel like huge progress in a world that can get more overwhelming with each passing day.
Now I want to hear from you! Do you also think the world is more overwhelming than it used to be? How do you deal with feelings of being overwhelmed by the world around you? Drop a comment and let me know!