It’s pressing on me, weighing my shoulders with a heaviness I can’t seem to get out from under.
My mind is flooded. My head, somewhat dizzy.
I’m tired and weary. The spark in my eyes is gone, and in its place, a dull stare resides.
I’m too exhausted to accomplish anything and too restless to sit still.
This is overwhelm.
For days, weeks, even months, I feel quite strong.
I tackle chores, nurture my children, delve into DIY projects, counsel my friends, and support my husband. I make household adjustments to accommodate the shifts from no school to homeschool to no school to social-distancing school. I help where I can, say no when I must, and still find the energy to meet writing deadlines.
At times, I feel physically, mentally, or emotionally tired, yet my outlook holds fast to joy, productivity, courage, and perseverance.
Then, one day…
I have too many irritable moments with the kids, hurt feelings over something small, and unwarranted tears drip off my chin into my dish water. I catch myself staring at the wall, not knowing how many minutes have passed.
A wave of overwhelm is building.
I wake up in the morning. I can’t move.
The wave has broken me.
No! No more questions! Don’t ask me about screens or what’s for breakfast. Don’t tell me what time your appointment is today. I can’t handle that you have not one pair of clean underwear left in your drawer. I can’t think at all, don’t you see?
I’m sorry, sweets. I’m tired. There’s a lot on my mind. Yes, you can have screens for one hour, but that’s all. Sure, yogurt is fine. And if you haul your laundry downstairs, I’ll throw in a load. But give me a few more minutes in bed. I just need a few more minutes.
I pull the crumpled white duvet over my head and weep.
Who am I?
Where did my energetic self go, the one who painted the front step last month and created a scavenger hunt for the kids and pounded out enough blog posts to last the summer and laughed and played and went for jogs? I want her back.
But she’s gone, because I didn’t treat her right, did I? She can’t do it all. I pushed too hard.
She’s no energizer bunny.
She needed coffee on the patio in the mornings with journal in hand and birds chirping nearby. She needed the joy of visiting with friends or family, the simplicity of a gentle stroll, the peace of prayer in a quiet place.
She tried to warn me; but my goals and lists promised satisfaction in productivity, and I waved her concerns aside.
Yet, if I’m patient, if I’m gentle…
I can get her back.
I’ll go to bed earlier.
I’ll drink more water and breathe deeply.
I’ll rest on the patio for hours at a time, doing nothing but stare at the blue above and the green around and feel the gentle brush of wind across my skin.
I’ll text a friend to ask for prayer.
I’ll eat chips and snuggle with my kids and laugh at a silly family movie.
I’ll cross the projects off my list, the ones that would be nice but aren’t necessary.
I’ll journal, and I’ll cry.
Days, weeks, even months later…
She’ll return to me. And what will I do with her?
Will I remember my lesson and treat her well? Or will I demand more of the same that sent her away?
How are you doing today?