The other day I was talking to my mother on the phone (as I do every day), and she was very upset that she couldn't find her prescription sunglasses.  They were not where she usually puts them and they didn't seem to be in any of the other obvious places. They are costly to replace, so it's natural that she was upset.  Furthermore, earlier in the day she had been unable to find a tube of lotion that she knew my father had purchased and put away.  Frustrated, she asked my father to look for it.  He opened the same closet she had been in and there, sitting right up front in plain view, was the lotion she was looking for.

Was she stupid?  Was she blind?  NO!  She was overwhelmed!  She'd spent the week taking care of my father who'd had eye surgery one day and then a serious foot infection the next.  She'd done a great deal of driving to get him from one place to the next. (Including valet parking at the surgical center...where it's mostly likely she lost her glasses or they were "removed" from the car.)  She was sick herself, but hadn't found the time to even call the doctor, let alone get an appointment.  In addition to caring for my dad, she'd also been doing the "usual” household chores and daily tasks without any help.  Is it any wonder she was overwrought and emotional over some little things?  Of course not!  The week had overwhelmed her.

Towards the end of last week I had called my mother and started to sob uncontrollably.  It had been a typical week but that afternoon my husband and I had gone to a meeting at a "learning center" where we were planning to send our son who needed a little extra help with school work.  He had been tested several days before and what I thought would be a half hour meeting went on for nearly 2 hours as the results were discussed.  They were not what I was expecting.  And then at the conclusion of the meeting, we were offered a variety of financial and scheduling options.  I literally sat there, not knowing what to say or do.  I was completely and utterly overwhelmed.  While I held it together (for the most part) while we sat there, later in the evening (hours after the meeting) when I spoke to my mother, I couldn't help myself.  I cried and cried as we spoke.

In this fast paced world, I think it's easier (and more common) than ever to be overwhelmed.  There's so much to do; so much we face on a daily (maybe I should make that hourly) basis.  I don't think my life is anything "special" but on a daily basis I face the challenges of being a mother, wife and daughter (only child), traffic, work, family issues, finding time to do every day "chores", exercising, etc.  Again, nothing of great importance (although I do supposed it depends on how you look at it). And to be quite honest, I don't think my family, in comparison to others, has that many tasks to tackle.  We are a small family of three and my son is not involved with sports or many extracurricular activities.  Why?  Because he feels it eats away at his time.  Something that is precious to him.  (Which is astounding and sad when you realize that he's not even twelve yet) But when you pile it all on and pile it on and then something unexpected or extra gets added...well it's emotional and overwhelming.

The issue is that I am NOT unique.  I'm quite sure that this happens to more people than I even know.  Daily challenges and the fast paced life we all lead wears us down.  Information is thrown at us non-stop. Exhausted, taking on one more task, one more "thing' can overwhelm even the most competent and organized person.

I have no solution to being overwhelmed. Certainly being organized and planning can help cut down on the possibility, but nothing (that I can think of) can eliminate it completely.  So my advice to you (and to myself) is when it happens, just let it.  We all need a time for tears.  There should be no shame in finding a quiet place and letting it all out.  Or even better finding a friend or family member who is willing to be that shoulder to cry on.  Because we all have that breaking point.  And when it is reached, the best thing I can think of to do is just have the break. Part of what leads to that feeling of being overwhelmed is the lack of control; so why try to control your feelings?  Let it out and let it go.

Certainly it's not going to solve a problem or improve a situation, but it very well may make you feel better.  I know I felt better after my last "breakdown."  Just letting it all out; having the tide of pent up emotion flow free allowed me release and that in of itself let me move on.

It's a fact; life will "gang up" on you at some point.  You WILL be overwhelmed.  Rather than fight it, accept it.  Allow all the emotions that come with being overwhelmed out.  Give yourself time to cry, yell, rant and rave.  When all is said and done you just may not feel quite so overwhelmed any more.


  1. Amen, very well written. I've had a week like that a bit myself. Mostly work related. But when I sit back and look at it we have it so good ;) Many around me are struggling with things far greater than I can even comprehend.


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