Overwhelmed with Anxiety

“When you do nothing you feel overwhelmed and powerless. But when you get involved you feel the sense of hope and accomplishment that comes from knowing you are working to make things better. “


Maya Angelou


Overwhelmed. This gets me in so much trouble sometimes. Feeling overwhelmed causes panic attacks and emotional breakdowns. It causes me to say things out of anger or sadness that I always immediately wish I could take back. Unfortunately the damage occurs and I cannot take it back.  I have messed up so many times in both my personal and professional life.  I cannot begin to count the number of times that I have hurt way too many people.  


The hardest part for me is, once I screw up, usually by saying something inappropriate, I have such a difficult time being able to move on, learn from my mistake, and most importantly, forgive myself.  This almost always leads to a big hit on my self-esteem.  I always assume the people I do hurt never forgive me either, and maybe that is why I am so hard on myself. Since I was very young, I struggled with the idea of ever hurting, angering, or letting another person down, especially my parents and loved ones.  But I have learned as an adult and through therapy, that I will never be able to please everyone and I will always go through life hurting someone, whether it is intentional or not.


But, let’s go back to being overwhelmed.  To me, this is basically having so many things to do that I just suffer from an incredible amount of anxiety.  When this occurs, like I said, I am not able to control many of my emotions.  And, unfortunately, for me, I tend to break down during the least opportune times.  For example, there have been times when I have broken down at my job in tears or panic attacks where I can’t breathe and just sob. As a teacher, this is very unprofessional.  What student does not feel uncomfortable seeing their teacher cry?  


A few months after my husband and I got married, I was going through a severe depressive episode and having panic attacks quite regularly during the middle of the day at school.  Luckily, I had some wonderful people I was working with who got me the desperate help I needed.  I was allowed to take 6 weeks off of school, and for those first two weeks I was admitted to an outpatient mental facility to help myself get better.  


After visiting with the psychologist first thing every morning, I went to a special counselor.  Each morning she made out a schedule for me from hour to hour so that I would know what I had to do that day while I was at the hospital.  Then, she required that I make another schedule for myself that was to start as soon as I made it back home until I went to bed for the night.  Going through a horrible depression, I found this schedule to be extremely helpful for my day to day life.  


In the recent weeks, as I have struggled greatly with anxiety, I have made it an important part of my day, whether it be at school or home, and even on the weekends, to make a list of things I want to accomplish.  Saturdays always seem to be a day where I have a difficult time becoming motivated to do anything.  Thank God for my husband who gets me moving and simply won’t allow me to lie around all day!  He is very encouraging.  Just yesterday, he got me up and moving out of bed, when all I wanted to do was lie down and sleep or simply do nothing.  So, before I got out of bed, it was almost noon, I took out my phone and made a list of the things or goals I had to do that day or just wanted to attempt to accomplish.  I did not complete everything on my list, but oh how satisfying it was to be able to erase the things off my list that I did finish.  


I know it sounds almost too simple, but I believe to help myself from getting too overwhelmed and to help keep me from losing it emotionally during the day, this is a great strategy to get me moving and keep me moving as well.  


I think it is important to prioritize your list.  Do the things that have to be done no matter what.  Or maybe, just to get you get started and really moving and feeling good, do a few easy things first and then cross them off your list.  No matter how many times I do this task each day, it always gives me such a feeling of accomplishment to cross something off of my list.  


Give this idea a try for a week or two and see if it helps calm some of your overwhelming anxieties.  Feel free to leave a comment for me or ask me any questions that you may have.  I will do my best to answer them.  


Make it a great week!



About Marji Lane

Born, raised, and lived my whole life in Kansas, I am a full time teacher, wife, and mother. I suffer from anxiety and depression and have to work everyday to keep my mental illness under control. I love God, my family, KU basketball, KC Royals baseball, crafting!