Feeling overwhelmed immobilises us. We don’t feel safe and we start to shut down which makes things worse. If you can find a way of feeling safe again, then things can start to improve.
Are you feeling overwhelmed? Breathe slowly, and read this blog.
Remember: It is normal to feel overwhelmed from time to time. But if the feeling persists, then you might want to talk about it with someone.
- Often feeling overwhelmed is the kind of experience that makes you feel stressed and anxious.
- It can also make you withdraw from other activities and relationships. This is why it can be helpful to speak to someone in confidence about your feelings and what you are going through.
- It is often the case that when you find a way to take action and speak about your sense of feeling overwhelmed the pressure starts to lift.
- When we find a way to take action, we look after ourselves, we break out of feeling immobilised.
Feeling overwhelmed? Try to remember you are not alone.
Most of us feel overwhelmed at certain points in our lives. Human beings have been feeling overwhelmed throughout history. But usually, when we find a way to speak about the feeling we find a way to change our situation.
- Finding a way to think about what we are going through, instead of withdrawing, breaks up the sense of being immobilised. This is the beginning of changing how we feel.
Realising you are feeling overwhelmed is often the beginning of finding a way to make important life changes
When we start to find ways to work on feeling overwhelmed we often succeed in finding ways to make important changes to how we live.
- Feeling overwhelmed indicates that something important about us, and about how we live requires attention.
- Feeling overwhelmed is a signal that attention and change is required.
Once we make the step into thinking that there is something we need to change, we tend to be on the way to fixing the problem.
We can get bogged down in feeling overwhelmed and instead of doing things about it, retreat into ourselves. This tends to make the situation worse. The key thing is to find a way to start looking at the feeling and the problem more closely. This helps us to come at the problem with a fresh energy. Things change and we feel re-energised.
Symptoms of feeling overwhelmed
- Anger – lashing out at people
- Fear – retreating and withdrawing
- Stress – feeling you cannot cope
- Guilt – worrying that you have done something wrong
- Anxiety – feeling uneasy and nervous
Often it becomes hard to find a way to speak about the experience and feeling.
These kind of feelings can be linked to panic attacks. Sometimes we experience an increase in heart rate, perspiration, chest pains and shortness of breath.
When we are in the grip of feeling overwhelmed our bodies experience an increase in hormones such as cortisol. The levels of serotonin and other chemicals that are linked with better mood can fall. This is why certain anti-depressant medication is prescribed. It is unclear quite how well medication is at treating these symptoms. Anti-depressants are a very broad tool. They may help to lift mood and reduce symptoms. But you may find that a talking therapy is more helpful.
- Take a deep breath
- Try to help yourself calm down
- Think about whether there is someone you can talk to
Talking therapy helps us maintain perspective on our negative feelings
In psychotherapy you can start to develop trust in your therapist. This makes you feel safe again. When we feel safe we start to relax, stop feeling overwhelmed and develop the feeling that we can change things for the better.
- When we start to talk about our feelings we tend to become better able to accept them. We can develop insight into what we are going through.
- Try to keep perspective, just because you are feeling overwhelmed now doesn’t mean that it will stay like this. Our emotions and feelings are always changing.
It is when we retreat into ourselves that our problems seem too magnify. When we worry to ourselves about things, then we start to feel worse. When you find a way to face the problem, the worry, then you start to feel your confidence returning.
Remember, you have felt like this before. You can overcome this.
Feeling overwhelmed can feel all consuming. Intense and difficult emotions are released which increase the sense that everything is overwhelming. This changes when we find a way to talk and work on the feelings.
What causes the sense of feeling overwhelmed?
Often the roots of this experience can be traced back to our early years, to the homes and families we grew up in. To the ways in which our original attachment patterns worked.
Feeling overwhelmed can be an acquired experience. If you grew up with a mother or father, or principle caregiver who was themselves quick to feel overwhelmed, then this will very likely have had an impact on the way that you process difficult and complex feelings.
We internalise the way our early caregivers react to us and to the world. We tend to learn how we feel about things from the people we grew up with. It maybe that you would benefit now from being able to clear up the difference between how you feel about things, and how other people do.
Psychotherapy can help when you feel overwhelmed
It is often the case that we become adults whose emotional capacity and capability never fully develops. Instead we live bound up in emotional states that we acquired from our parents and caregivers.
Psychotherapy offers a safe and confidential relationship, a route into developing a greater sense of who you are? What you feel about things? What capacity you have to respond differently and more creatively to difficult feelings such as feeling overwhelmed.
Each of us needs to develop a reliable way of understanding our own lives, our own contexts and the way these things influence our mental health.
Psychotherapy is a route to doing this
Giving yourself the chance to speak in a confidential setting may help you develop a clearer understanding of how you feel overwhelmed, of the context in which these feelings have developed, and of how and what you may need to change.
Psychotherapy may be the starting point to developing greater insight into yourself.
Contact me to arrange a free telephone consultation to discuss how my approach might help you.