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The Overwhelm: Maybe Therapy Would Help?

This post is sponsored by BetterHelp, an online counseling service. 

This morning I woke up, overwhelmed. When it gets this big, I like to call it “The Overwhelm”. 

Over the weekend, my son, Hunter, was sick. Quite sick. He had a fever for two days that kept fluctuating between 38C and 40C. Just as it was creeping up past 40C, Hunter threw up, again, and it broke. Slowly, slowly, slowly it crept down to normal levels. Three days in total and by the middle of the fourth day, he was back to normal.  Phew!  I spent so much time worrying about him, that I ignored the fact that I had a fever, too, and was feeling terrible. So, on Monday, he was ready to go back to school and I was ready to go back to bed. 

Poor sick little one.

Monday, there was no going back to bed.  I woke up needing to go to an appointment. I packed the kid’s lunches while shoving dirty dishes out of my way. Despite our best efforts, and both Josh and I doing a few dishes at a time, we weren’t able to keep up. Surprisingly, to me, the lack of space made packing lunches take twice as long. 

It snowballed from there. My anxiety was high already, after being run down from the fever and flu, and the chaotic morning. A mad rush to school followed, with the kids having to run to the bus (which they hate) and then me running back to the car to get to the appointment. 

Everything seemed to be pushing on me from all sides: the dirty car, the impending appointment that I was hoping to make on time, no time for a coffee, the dirty dishes at home….everything seemed to be pushing my buttons. I love that expression. When my anxiety spikes, it does feel like actual buttons are being pushed on me, and sometimes I can feel a physical pain or caving in of my body as my anxiety rises. As if some unseen force is pressing giant buttons within me- on my heart, lungs, stomach, chest, shoulders… get the idea. 

I thought, 

“I’ll just do some self-care!”

But, sometimes, that isn’t enough. Sometimes, I feel like it would help more to have a person outside of my own head listen to me. Yes, a therapist. Why? Well, lately, when I take time for myself, my mind is chattering away about all my obligations to others.

Things Like:
  • Did I pack Hunter tissues so he can blow his nose?
  • Is Isabella’s sandwich cut the way she likes so she will eat it?
  • Have I changed that garbage so Josh doesn’t have to? 
  • Did I text that person congrats/happy birthday/are you okay/sorry/how are you?
  • If I did text, did I convey enough love and care?
  • Are my emails piling up? 
  • Does our cat have enough food? 
  • OMG I haven’t sent snail mail back to that person! 
  • And on and on it goes…..

My head is very, very, very busy. I think everyone can relate to being too busy and having to answer too many people over the day. You don’t have to be a mom to understand! Dealing with it makes me want to crawl back into bed and submit to my depressive thoughts. 

Obviously, a lot of those thoughts are rooted in anxiety and worry. Journaling helps, but it’s me talking to me. I need something that kicks me out of my own head- maybe therapy would help? Meditation also helps- but, again, that’s solitary.

When I do take a self-care day, it is usually on a school day when I have some time to myself in the house. First, the mad rush to get the kids to school. Then home to clean up, constantly checking the clock and watching precious alone time minutes fly by….I make coffee and have breakfast and- dammit! How is it ten a.m. already?!? 

Now, my fought-for self-care time is limited and will expire at three p.m. so I feel I have to ENJOY IT.

So. Much. Pressure. 

It’s the same kind of pressure we feel to make our birthdays or New Year’s Eve EXTRA special and fun and amazing. (Which is also why I hate both. Too much anxiety). 

So now I’m sitting at home, putting too much pressure on myself to enjoy my alone time in the first place. I am so wound-up and swirled around that I can’t even decide which activity I will enjoy the most! Is it calligraphy? Letter to a friend? A bath? Writing a story? Doing my nails? Twenty minutes of every activity? I have to make the day worth it! 

How’s that for self-care? 

I keep saying I don’t have time for therapy; but sitting there anxiously trying to decide which activity would be more fun, while feeling guilty I’m not doing something for others, also takes up an hour. (Or more, if the anxiety turns into a “can’t breathe” panic attack). So there actually is time for therapy.

Especially when there’s a really cool online therapy I could do, from my couch or bed! In my pajamas!

And it’s called BetterHelp.

You can find online counseling through BetterHelp HERE. (<—Online therapy in one click. I love technology).

Next time, I should just set myself up with someone I trust on Betterhelp and do a quick call-in. Because self-care is important and if I could lessen my anxiety ahead of time, that would help. “The Overwhelm” wouldn’t get me as easily.  It would also help if I made a weekly date with myself for self-care so that there is less pressure to do all the things. 

What are your coping strategies for dealing with depression and anxiety?

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