When You’re Overwhelmed (and a story)

This past weekend, my family and I had a yard sale.

I had just pulled a very late night/very early morning, on top of getting woken up early to do the yard sale. To put it bluntly, I was exhausted. On top of my exhaustion was my stress from being a full time grad student with a lot of assignments due or will be due soon. I had four assignments and a test this week alone. Plus, I work and other regular human stuff.

I’m helping, bringing stuff out, getting a little frustrated that one of the family members wasn’t getting out of bed. They were tired, I get it, but so am I. And we needed help.

The kicker came when I was in the backyard trying to take care of a table. The table would best be handled by two, but I was alone. While trying to get the table, Leroy got out and disappeared out the front yard. I freaked and while I was trying to handle the table and get Leroy to come back, the table knocked into my teeth. Luckily, nothing broke but it still hurt.

Now, I’m overwhelmed. I was trying not to yell at people, I was taking a breather inside the house, and (shamefully) I started to cry.

Another family member came in and asked what I did to myself. I don’t like that question; it suggests I intentionally hurt myself which can be triggering. I was telling them (just to clarify, it was a parent) that I was overwhelmed and angry. Even without the intention of raising my voice, I probably did.

They told me to go to my room.

That’s a child’s punishment. I lost my position as ‘adult’ in their eyes and was sent to my room. In their defence, they might have seen a temper tantrum and thought I needed a break. They came into the room later and said they wanted me to get away and collect my thoughts.

But they could’ve worded it better in the moment. Couldn’t we all, though.

But what makes it worse is that they, in a scolding manner, said ‘go to your room’ and then went about the yard sale business by going back to the front yard.

Of course, I went. Despite being an adult, I listen to my parents. I ended up further crying, ranting to the cat about just wanting to help and getting scolded because I got hurt and am upset. Then I pulled a full emo and just listened to the same song on a loop about how I suck as a person.

Here’s what I did right and here’s what I did wrong:

Right: I took a breather. It would’ve been far more of a blow up if I didn’t even take those 10 seconds before the parent came to see me. When you are overwhelmed, step back, take some time to collect your thoughts, and calm down.

Wrong: I didn’t ask for help. I could’ve avoided a hurt mouth and some tears if I simply asked someone to help me with the table. There are people who care, even if they’re online. Seek help when you’re overwhelmed, whether from your boss or your teacher or a friend online.

Right: Crying. That’s right. It’s not shameful, even if it feels like it at the moment. Your body needs to release those emotions sometimes, so when you need to cry, go ahead and cry.

Wrong: I listened to the worst song possible in those emotional states. When you’re overwhelmed, you don’t feel the best about yourself. Don’t make you feel worse by listening to a song about how much you suck. You don’t suck. I promise. Listen to uplifting songs to put yourself in a better state of mind.

Of course, there was more right and wrong, but this post is quite long. After that debacle, I was able to pull myself together long enough to do the yard sale with my family. After we ended it, I went back to bed and relaxed.

Try not to get overwhelmed with stuff in your life, but when/if those moments come remember that it does not make you or others around you worst people. Remember to breathe.

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