Overwhelmed, And Then Some.

Lately I’ve been feeling run down. It’s hard to admit to myself, but I’m feeling anxious again, anxious in ways that I find hard to explain to people. Well, not that I’ve tried. I’m a master at bottling things up until I explode. Or, in most cases, break down.

Everything has been piling up. Things are starting to get out of control, and I don’t know how to get them back. I’m terrified of the midterms I have coming up already. The thought of failure is crippling. And yet I lack any motivation to study. I’m stuck at a standstill, and can’t seem to get myself moving.

I’m terrified. I’m not quite sure of what, but I’m terrified. My heart pounds for no reason, my mind flitting around to every horrible outcome it can come up with. Life just feels so overwhelming.

My sister is here visiting me for a week. That should be great, right? It’s awesome to see her again since it’s been a few months. Even positive changes are stressful, though, and trying to find interesting things to go out and do is just one more thing I don’t know how to manage into my already stressful days.

Right now my sister and I are living with James at his parents’ house while they are away on vacation. I thought living here with him would be great, but I can’t help but feel like he would rather have the house to himself. His parents were kind to let us stay here, but I guess I didn’t really talk to James about it beforehand. And now I’m here just feeling kind of unwanted. I worry that if James and I really did live together at some point that he wouldn’t be able to handle being around me all the time. He needs space from me, and even though I understand it, it kind of hurts.

Sadly, I’m not very good at knowing when I need to take a step back and relax. I hold all these worries in because I feel like letting them out will allow them to take over my whole life. Instead I just wait until my body starts to shut down on me. The fatigue, the nausea, the digestive distress. None of them have a reason. They’re just… there. Harassing me, nudging me, trying to get my attention.

And I haven’t been listening. To my body, or to myself. I don’t know what’s best for me. I don’t know what I need to not feel anxious. And the fear of becoming anxious again is enough to make my anxiety even worse.


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About janinerussell

The transition to adulthood; reflecting on the past to create a better future.

6 responses to “Overwhelmed, And Then Some.”

  1. Tee says :

    I can relate. I feel anxiety but can’t identify the source. Maybe there is something strange in the air.

  2. eddy says :

    I think I can help with the anxiety related to studies. The reason we feel anxiety is because we are not studying and we know that if we don’t study we’ll find it hard to study everything at the 11th hour. But the more we think about this the harder we find it is to start studying and it leads to more anxiety. It seems like a inescapable vicious circle.

    But there is something that can be done. The trick is to breakdown the task of studying into the smallest possible action and then just start with it. Forget about the midterms and everything else. Just find the smallest next action that you can do. It could be as small as going to a certain room where your books are. Then just do it. It’s not hard to do this small step. Then just take the next action. Pick up a book and open it. Don’t think about studying as yet. Just focus on the smallest next action.

    In the beginning it will feel awkward but soon there will come a time where you won’t be able to take the next action because it will seem much harder. This could be actually reading the book. At this time you need to remind yourself that you are just trying to avoid the discomfort of starting. We have been programmed to avoid discomfort. I work from home as a freelancer and I used to find it hard to do any work. I’ve lost contracts because for days I wouldn’t work on them at all. But I realized that I’m trying to avoid the discomfort of starting the task. But if I could fool myself into starting somehow, it’s always much easier to continue the task and then to finish it.

    Try this technique of fooling yourself into starting studies. It should help. If you can get this one area under control your anxiety will decrease.

    Anxiety has been demonized by modern psychology but it’s not a bad thing. It’s just a reaction to our situation. If we feel anxious its because something is bothering us. We just need to take care of that situation and the anxiety will go away. But combine this with the discomfort of starting and things start piling up. We get more and more anxious to the point that we are anxious about getting anxious.

    There is a lot more i’d like to say but this comment is getting too long. Start small in your studies and try this technique of embracing discomfort and going past it.

    • janinerussell says :

      Hmm… I guess you’re right. As long as I put off starting the task I was able to be in denial that the task existed. I never thought about it like that. I took your advice and just started, and it didn’t end up being so hard to keep going once I was already doing it. Thanks for taking the time to comment!

      • eddy says :

        I’m really glad I could help. I’m still learning to get used to this trick. Like yesterday I waited half a day before starting on my freelance work. But today I start right away and I’ve been less anxious and more positive about it all.

  3. tomgonzalez says :

    The thing about anxiety is that you can’t beat it. You can’t fight it. The more you struggle with it, the stronger it gets. The best thing that one can do, or at least that I have found with my experience, is to allow it to run one over. Let it hit you, and like it does every-time it comes, it moves on. It’s hard to do, because it literally feels like the end of the world is upon you when it happens, but in my experience it the best course of action. Just try to fill your time with the little things that make you happy. The things that don’t add to much pressure. And when you are stuck doing the everyday things that make you anxious try not to focus on it. Just accept it and move on. It will take less of a toll on you. It’s all a matter of coping with it. Once you do, you are on the road to recover from it once and for all. Good luck.

    • janinerussell says :

      I wish I could say that that will be an easy thing to do, but I know it won’t be. I think you’re right, though, and fighting the anxiety definitely doesn’t make it go away. Maybe if I stop being afraid of it, things will change. Thanks for the advice. I really appreciate it.

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