Overwhelmed and overcome


Is anyone (or everyone) else exhausted?

I’ve really struggled to get out of bed each and every morning this week. Today I eventually forced myself out of my flannelette sheets and mindlessly staggered about my morning ablutions, got dressed and so forth and at one point looked at my bathtub, complete with four new library books stacked beside it, and almost cried.

My desire to NOT go to work and just stay home and lie in the bath and read was overwhelming.

“I need a holiday,” I thought. Until I reminded myself that last week I started a new / different (variation on my old) job making time off in the near future more difficult. The new role (a promotion in status, though not more money) means I’ve had to give up my four-day working weeks for the 3-month trial period, though I did manage to negotiate a nine-day fortnight – taking every second Monday off.

Don’t get me wrong. I’m not actually in a funk. In fact, my most-recent diet blog post was about how mentally healthy I feel at the moment.

However, two posts by other bloggers / authors in the last week have me thinking that I may just be a tad stressed.

Darla, writing for A Weight Lifted talked about stress and self-care. I was reminded that stress can result in more than binge-eating (my worst habit!). It can manifest itself in a myriad of different ways – even for normal people (!!!). Reading that post and thinking about life in general, made me realise that I AM struggling at the moment.

Never fear, I’m not about to have some sort of breakdown; but for me stress causes me to temporarily split into two different personalities. Firstly, I become incredibly apathetic (yes, more than usual!). I become hamstrung. Unable to do or achieve anything.

Outside of work, that is.

Bizarrely, I am quite capable of going about my normal working life. In fact I mostly thrive in the work environment and become very driven – but then arrive home each day and flounder.

I recently mentioned that I felt like I was ‘falling behind’ and wondered if others have problems processing stuff because they don’t have enough ‘headspace’. From the comments I received it was obvious that people could relate. And that’s pretty much where I’m at.

Work is still uncertain with government cutbacks (I will either have no job or too many jobs – it’s a long convoluted story that’s too difficult to go into!) and we finally laid my dad’s ashes to rest last weekend after 8 ½ months. (But that’s also a whole other story.)

My ‘to-do’ list is growing. Much of it has to do with my blogging; although it’s manifesting itself in ‘undone’ things around my apartment. My fridge has been practically-empty for a month now. Much-hated grocery shopping is even more sporadic typified by last-minute smash and grab forays while forgetting almost everything I need.

In her The Happiness Project blog Gretchen Rubin recently talked about ‘outer order being required for inner order’. I’ve never been a fan of this concept, as I don’t believe I’m a naturally tidy person. In fact, I’m pro-dishevelment!

However, although my work and home desks may be messy and my walk-in wardrobe floor is strewn with briefly-worn clothing; I like my public living spaces clean and clear. I hate clutter and hate having crap on tables or dishes on the sink (I NEVER leave washing-up undone – it causes me too much angst!).

However, when I’m stressed, overwhelmed or overcome with apathy; my outer world starts getting disorderly. I don’t want to shop; I don’t want to cook; and I don’t want to deal with dirty washing. And that’s disturbing. And I’m realising that it IS like Gretchen says, my messy outer world is impacting on my inner world. It’s like a vicious cycle – one impacting the other, impacting the other. And so forth. And then, basically, I’m screwed.

I realise a lot of these tasks are mundane ones requiring little cognitive effort. But, I become preoccupied with the ‘things I haven’t done’ and the things I need to do – requiring some thought – just get pushed aside.

I’m not likely to get a holiday anytime soon to give me sufficient headspace to compartmentalise everything that’s happening in my life; but I think I need to start a SENSIBLE ‘to do’ list and prioritise the crap I need to do about the place (and yes, that includes grocery shopping and tidying up my paperwork) as well as the scarier blog-related work (I need to prepare a media kit for my blog/s if monetisation is ever going to be an option; plus I’ve put off some decisions I need to make because, well… because I just can’t think about them!).

I’ve already started to think sensibly about what’s achievable and what isn’t (having already ditched the daily posting in this blog – although admitting defeat on that score was hard). I know that – to many outside of that world – carving off time to write or blog would seem like an insignificant issue, not worthy of such angst – but, it’s become part of who I am and it’s a commitment I made to myself. I feel like I’m letting myself down by not doing what I’ve planned. And frankly, I deserve better than that.

Can anyone relate?

{ 14 comments… read them below or add one }

Jo Tracey July 19, 2012 at 7:28 pm

I went through this last year with the closure of the partition job, the project to close it down, having to do all the retrenchments & get rid of everything in each states facility & hand it all back. There was too much in my head. Writing helped. A lot. So did exercise- but you know that, right? The other thing I did was what I am now calling staycations, but what I then called artists dates. Where one day a week I carved out some time that was pure guiltless pleasure. Mostly on my own cos my head was full of everyone else. I took myself to lunch, I took myself to the harbour. One time (in Brisbane) I took myself for a walk from the Gardens around to Southbank & treated myself lunch at Ben O’Donohues. And I wrote.


Debbish July 19, 2012 at 8:31 pm

Have you read ‘An Artist’s Way’? (Surmising from the artist’s dates comment!) I suspect I’m also thinking of the fact that I’ve lost my extra day a week off at a time that I really need to focus a bit more on my blogging. Although, I just need to manage my time better or work on ways to ‘transition’ more from work to home etc.

And yes, the writing and the exercise does help!


Denyse Whelan .Education Specialist July 19, 2012 at 7:40 pm

Hello, we didn’t get to meet at #NNB2012 so here I am, Denyse and I live in Sydney. This post had me saying, yep, gettit, yes, and I know!
I blame the Internet.
Seriously I worked for 40 years as teacher in NsW dept of Educ the most part in the days where No-one expected an immediate answer ..and life still worked
Social media (I do have an addiction) is what keeps me connected but also can drag me down.
So, even though I don’t have to go out to work anymore, I do have to get up & out of bed & it’s still hard on some days more than others. Self-care is easy (not!) and I am an emotional eater so I give in to those cravings more often of late.
No answers for you…but you are not Alone, if that helps! D


Debbish July 19, 2012 at 8:27 pm

That does help Denyse and thanks for dropping by. I think we met very briefly early in the day in Sydney as I’d seen your website and mentioned that.

You’re right about the ‘always being available’ thing with the internet… I’m okay with social media mostly, I get more overwhelmed by the blog reading I do – and commenting to a lesser extent (esp in the health and fitness world). But I’ve got some emails I haven’t yet responded to / processed and keep getting questions about them – and I SERIOUSLY need to just have time to think about it! But – on the other hand, I’ve had them for weeks and haven’t done anything with them – so (if I was the emailer) I would be grumpy too!!!



Amy July 19, 2012 at 7:49 pm

Exhausted, overwhelmed, completely and utterly snowed under are the definition of my life at the moment… but to be honest, I’m loving it!

I chose to take on so much stuff and it’s my choice to change it. Try not to sweat the small stuff and we’ll all manage to come through the otherside one way or another! Either way, we’ll be stronger for it!!


Debbish July 19, 2012 at 8:28 pm

Wow Amy, what a great attitude. I seem to be okay with the work stuff, it’s the other areas I’m floundering (although my exercise is going well and I’m not angsting about food / dieting!). I just don’t seem to have the mental / emotional capacity to deal with everything I need to deal with. (I think!)



Kristin July 19, 2012 at 9:23 pm

I really understand where you’re coming from, Deb. I feel like I’ve let things at home fall apart a bit more than they should (as evidenced by the stacks of papers have piled up on my desk!). I come home and have all these things I want to do on my blog and around my blog, but it seems like I never get all of them done so they pile up on the next day’s work. Plus, I’ve got so many things I’m motivated to do after Blogopolis and before I head off for two travel blog conferences in Europe in September!

It’s a really good idea to prioritise both lists separately and make sure that you take care of a bit of both. My blog to-do list definitely needs culling because right now it’s a bit overwhelming!


Debbish July 20, 2012 at 8:08 am

It’s probably the blogging stuff that I’m finding more overwhelming as – like you – I came home from the conference all enthusiastic and haven’t felt like I’ve had time to go over my notes. I took all of the business cards (I got) home to my hometown last weekend in the hope I’d go through them and check out some blogs etc but didn’t do any of that.

I am also keen more to engage with bloggers locally to keep the momentum going a bit (for me).

You’re right. I’ll prioritise my lists this weekend and do a couple of things on each!


KCLAnderson (Karen) July 20, 2012 at 1:00 am

I’m not sure why, but reading this post made me realize something about me: when I am stressed I tend not to believe it. And if I turn to food when I am stressed I don’t necessarily make the connection right away specifically because I don’t think I am stressed. Whoa…I am having an ah-ha moment as I write this. It’s almost as if being able to readily identify stress would make it that much easier to NOT turn to food, because I’d be aware. “They” say that being able to identify emotions and their nuances for what they are is key to everything and I think I am pretty good at that, but I never thought about “stressed” as being an emotion. And maybe it isn’t technically…but I have for sure been in denial about my own stress from time to time. I think it’s because I tend to think “I’m so stressed” is a cliche and a cop out. Whoa…

So can I relate? Uh…yeah! LOL

And I just want to say that you DO have a lot on your plate right now…and I am sure there might be some residual grief going on, not to mention having your job schedule get messed with…oh, and it’s winter there, too.


Debbish July 20, 2012 at 8:14 am

I think I had the same reaction reading the other blogs Karen. Because I usually turn to food (but am staying away from my binge food) I think my stress has been manifesting itself by me letting things pile up (at home). I tend to just think of myself as lazy or apathetic, but reading the other blogs made me realise that I was feeling a bit directionless. Most of my stressors I can’t do ANYTHING about, but the things I’m NOT doing and which are making me more stressed, I can act on.



Laura @ scribbles&sass July 20, 2012 at 1:17 am

You do deserve better than that, but at the same time it is alright to take a step back and rearrange the ‘to-do’ list so it is more manageable.

As you mentioned this morning on my post, I find it comforting and funny that we both found comfort in that photo. Dance, darling! Shake it! Smile and having fun. Laundry and blogging can wait.


Debbish July 20, 2012 at 8:15 am

Laura, I’m even thinking of coming into my workplace (though not into MY building) on my day off Monday to go to my fave exercise class of the week (a dance one). THat’s the worst thing about having Mondays off… I’ll miss my beloved faux Zumba every second Monday!



Mel July 23, 2012 at 8:41 am

Great post Deb, I can totally relate. My friend and I were actually talking about this over the weekend; how women these days feel exhausted but also think that its a normal part of our lives. We’re just go, go, go without much quiet/alone time and while everything is important, it seems that the to-do list is never completely checked off, which somehow always results in healthy living gets thrown out the window first. Exercise is definitely a good stress relief, followed by a close second of a giant glass of vino!


Debbish July 23, 2012 at 1:44 pm

Hi Melly, so true. It’s my day off today but I went to my fave faux Zumba class today… weird heading into my workplace on my day off but the moment the music started it was heaven!



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