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Hitting the wall of overwhelm

Hitting the wall logo -- many standing in polar region, Shippensburg PA Sanctuary Christian Counseling

I’ve been really irritable lately, and that’s not really like me.

Oh, I certainly can be annoying to those who live with me (and manage to love me anyway) and I’m sure I can be a regular witch at times, but I’m generally optimistic and sunny in my outlook, not irritable and moody.

But recently …

I was processing this during my quiet time today and I realized it’s because not just are things out of my control, they are WILDLY out of my control.

What in Heaven’s name is 2020 about?

Most of us are resilient to some degree, and roll with the punches that life give us. Some of us are more resilient than others, and manage to smile through the battle. An even smaller percentage of us can actually enjoy difficulties, and seem to grow stronger with challenges. Some of us can’t stomach any hard times at all, but become distressed easily. Some of us are somewhere in between.

It doesn’t really matter where you place yourself in that list, these past months have been difficult. If you are the lucky one who can thrive in chaos, then you are surely thriving beyond measure. If you are not that person, then I want you to consider some things …

No matter how flexible you are, what has happened to our world this year has been overwhelming, and exhausting. And … especially for some who don’t handle conflict, change and chaos well, it’s been downright depressing.

It’s ok. However you are feeling right now. It’s ok. It’s normal.

It’s a tough time for many. It’s upsetting to most of us. Give yourself some grace.

This year – so far – has been unlike any year I’ve ever experienced, and I’m nearing retirement age. The challenges of 2020 will long be remembered as difficult, demanding, scary and isolating.

And they just keep coming and coming.

I am not being political when I say this – this post is not about that at all. But I do want to qualify something – racial inequality and systemic racism in the USA are a thing, and people are quite rightly at the end of their tether about them. We do need change so that no more People of Color die at the hands of those we ask to protect us. We need an overhaul of our systems, and possibly even our society, to become better, more caring and loving. We do need police, and many of them are good people in their own right, as well. But we need love, acceptance and a better approach to our social problems, too. In fact, protests are an integral way of life in our country, protected by our Constitution.

This blog should in no way be construed to be anti-Black Lives Matter or anti-protest or pro- or anti- any faction or candidate. Please just give me the grace to discuss our communal mental health without outrage or political dissent.

It isn’t about that.

And, even though our civil strife is causing many of us angst and distress, it isn’t the fault of those protesting, nor the vast majority of people who wish to maintain a just and fair society.

However, it is upsetting, on top of other upsetting things.

In therapy, I quite often talk about my ubiquitous coffee cup. When it is full, if you add anything else to it, however small, it will overflow and make a mess.

Well, life is like that, too. If your cup is full, any small thing can make it overflow into overwhelm, and you will have a mess on your hands, too.

This is where I am, and, if my various talks with some of you are to be believed, this is where many of you are as well.

Overwhelm. Fear. Helplessness. Hopelessness. Anxiety. Depression.


Just like me.

So what can we do about it?

  • Recognize it for what it is – a normal response to outside influences that are out of your control.

  • Connect with God, and strive to trust Him more. It may be out of your control, but it is not out of His.

  • Make sure you focus on self-care. Get sleep, eat, exercise. Take care of yourself first.

  • If you can, talk to someone else about it. Or write. Journal. Use the Voice Memo function of your phone for an audio journal. Get it out.

  • Zoom or FaceTime or chat or connect in some way with others. Be honest. Feel your feels and name them. You’ll likely find they feel just like you.

  • Practice mindfulness and relaxation techniques to calm yourself. We have written about these many times over the years, so there are blogs available on this page to help.

  • If it’s really distressing, consider talking with an expert. We would love to help you find peace during these troubled times.

Each of us here has had to deal with the same things you are experiencing, and we have all developed some time-tested techniques for getting through anxiety to the place where we can thrive. Give us a call.

At Sanctuary Christian Counseling we help grieving individuals, distressed kids and teens and couples in conflict find peace, solutions and connection. In 2020 and beyond.

Sanctuary Christian Counseling

Online and in person therapy

9974 Molly Pitcher Highway, Suite 4

Shippensburg, PA 17257


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