Enveloped by Darkness

drawing of a contestant on jeopardy-like game asking to take all of the categories for feeling overwhelmedThis post is another unplanned post, but this is how I am feeling right now. Writing helps me to process, and maybe, hopefully, it will help someone else too. I am feeling OVERWHELMED. I feel like the darkness is enveloping me. As the darkness swirls around me, I am immobilized.

For people like me with anxiety, any change is huge for us to deal with. Routines make me feel good. It gives me a sense of control. Even if that is a false sense of control, it still helps. And you know, when things change, there is no routine anymore. The thing is, I love adventures. I love seeing new places. It is a matter of wanting to do something that also scares me.

The first question I try to ask myself is WHY. Why am I feeling overwhelmed? If I can break down the reason behind my feelings, I can usually de-overwhelm myself. Today, and the last several days, things are changing. The changes are good, I think. We are living in our RV. Albeit in the driveway of my in-law’s house but it the first tiny step towards our four-month adventure starting in July.

Adventuring! Feeling Overwhelmed

Taking that whole adventuring thing down to the basics means that I am moving, yet again. Because yes, it is into an RV, so maybe not a permanent move, but this will be the third move in two years. Things are changing AGAIN. I had just gotten used to where we were living, and we are off again. To ADVENTURING!

Yes, I am excited, but I still have to get through the changes, and I (my critter brain) do not like it one bit. When things change, it is tough for me. It throws me into a downward spiral into anxiety. And there is a lot of change happening around me now.

drawing of woman telling her critter brain to chill out and stop making her feel overwhelmedIt is all good change. I remind my critter brain that it will be okay. A new environment does not mean a dangerous one. Yeah, try saying that, my critter brain. Everything is hazardous, according to Critter Brain. EVERYTHING. Being in a new place is dangerous. Change is dangerous. That poor little critter brain is running and running on its little wheel of disaster.

Wheel of Disaster

Even though it is my critter brain and not me on that wheel of disaster, it is still exhausting. I am the one with the body that the critter brain is ramping up for danger. It is a vicious cycle. Critter Brain yells DANGER, and my body increases stress hormones to address the threat. Then Critter Brain realizes that there isn’t danger, and my body ramps down. And so it goes, on and on. 

Can I Get Off This Ride?

I am tired just from writing that explanation of how it feels to have a critter brain on the wheel of disaster.  I am frustrated because it is annoying being like this. It annoys ME. I feel like a broken record when I explain to my husband why I am getting frustrated. It isn’t with him (I mean, let’s face it, sometimes it is, but not every time). 

I know that he tries so very hard to make things the best for me that he can. But I need to do that for myself. No one else can do that. This calmness of spirit, this telling my critter brain to quit it, has to come from within me. Which let me tell telling Critter Brain anything is tough. That little bugger will try to override my logical thinking.  

Feeling Overwhelmed? Go Up

What is that saying? Something about being so down that the only way to go is up? That makes some sense. No matter where I am, I have two choices. I can either go UP, change my Critter Brain chatter. Or I can go down and allow Critter Brain to take over and stay in the darkness. Sure, I guess that sometimes that might be where I am. I try not to get that low. 

I am so tired and overall anxiety-driven that I can’t even think straight. If that is the case, why am I writing this? Because I want to share this process of trying to change the programming that I grew up with and what I am doing. Maybe not for anyone else except myself, but maybe not only for me.

  1. Margarita Tartakovsky, MS. (October 16, 2012). Overwhelmed? These 6 Strategies May Help. PsychCentral.com. https://psychcentral.com/blog/overwhelmed-these-6-strategies-may-help#1
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