• amyobrien

My friend Overwhelm : Rewriting a familiar narrative

I've been dancing with a flighty feeling of overwhelm. Each cell of my body like its own untethered helium balloon.

Suddenly, it feels that there are so many boxes to tick and such little time to tick them off in.

I was a perfectionist for so long that sometimes the reformed part of me that has learnt better slips away. And in the blink of an eye I want control. Of all the things. Now. Please.

Overwhelm starts telling me that my man can't put the groceries away or the washing on the line.

Even though he is standing there, wanting to.

Overwhelm tells me he doesn't know how to stack the pantry right, and if you could see how he pegs the clothes...

Overwhelm tells me that walking barefoot on the grass is a terrible idea because the bee sting I had an allergic reaction to six months ago meant I could hardly stand for a week, and I Don't Have Time For That.

And I spiral and swirl around in my headspace - somewhere between furrowed eyebrows, the washing line and groceries.

At some point, I become aware of what's unfolding. That my friend overwhelm has popped in. And I know its time to change direction.

To channel those feelings elsewhere.

But here is the kicker. There is a trap waiting for me. And argh, it is calling my name. It's a well worn path that ultimately proves just as fruitless as overwhelm.

The trap: picking up my phone and clicking onto someone else life.

An attempt to move away from the uncomfortable and ruffled layers of my own skin.

To distance myself from myself. To escape.

Taking me further from where I want to be. Lodging that spiralling feeling a little deeper.

The real solution is clear and at once uncomfortable. It's not what I want to do. But time has taught me to dip my toe in and try it for a few minutes to see.

The only thing that will ease it all is to step towards my own life and into my own skin.

To step into my own senses. To put my lists down, my phone down, and feel things. Hear things. Really see things. Not on a screen but outside in my garden. Is the leaf rough or smooth? Is that the sound of one bird or two? Is the grass prickly or soft?

And then I am home.

Somehow heavier and anchored in again.

And when I get just enough breathing space I see that overwhelm has been telling me untruths.

What a relief!

I remember that I don't actually care how the groceries get stacked. That the washing will dry eventually, despite the horrifying pegging techniques. That walking barefoot on the grass is a pleasure that brings me to that sacred space called home.

I slide my shoes off, step onto the grass, and come home.

And I smile and bow deeply to overwhelm. Thank it for the lessons.

I bid it goodbye, or at least see you later. Until next time. When it will sneak up on me out of the blue, spin me like a carousel, teach me lessons worth learning, and we will part again as friends.

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