Posts Tagged With: feeling overwhelmed

Day 1954: Drowning

On Vivian the intern’s last day, I received this page at work.


I assumed that page was from Vivian, drowning in all the tasks she needed to complete. And it was.  However, that page could have been from a lot of people, because many of us are drowning in tasks, work, obligations, news, politics, self-recrimination, violence, worry, guilt, and shame.

What do you do when you’re drowning?  Do you reach out, like Vivian?  How do you reach out?

I don’t worry about drowning in water, even though I can’t swim.  Being near water keeps me from drowning.  And so does blogging and taking photos, like these:

Here’s a live version of “Drowning in a Sea of Love” with Boz Scaggs and Donald Fagen.

I hope you don’t mind drowning in a sea of gratitude from me.



Categories: personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

Day 1122: Overwhelmed

Yesterday, people in my therapy group were overwhelmed with many stressful problems. Therefore,  I suggested that we write, draw, or otherwise express ourselves about being overwhelmed.


If it’s not too overwhelming, how might you answer those questions?

Here’s how I answered Question #1: What is your personal experience of being overwhelmed?


As a way to let go of being overwhelmed, I shall now list what might overwhelm me, in the moment:

  1. Fear.
  2. Worry.
  3. Anticipation of what might go wrong in the future.
  4. Anticipation of what might go right in the future.
  5. Concerns about other people’s judgments.
  6. All the things I’m supposed to get done today.
  7. All the things I’m supposed to get done during this time of the year (including TAXES).
  8. Things I cannot control, such as the weather.
  9. My 63rd birthday, coming up in less than a week.

For me, what helps is to make a list of what might overwhelm me, like the one above. Then, it all seems less overwhelming, especially if I challenge what’s on the list, like so:

  1. Life is scary, so feel the fear and do it anyway.
  2. Worry doesn’t help me.  Don’t worry, be happy.  What me worry? Let go of worry about worry!
  3. I can’t control the future; I can only do my best in the moment.
  4. Really?  I’m overwhelmed by what might go RIGHT?  How goofy is that?
  5. I can’t control what other people think or how they judge.  And, I know that other people’s judgments and thoughts can’t really hurt me. Are you judging me now?  Guess what!  It doesn’t touch me!
  6. What if I don’t get everything done today?  Is the world going to end? I think not.
  7. See #6, above.
  8. “There is no bad weather, only bad clothing.”
  9. Up until now, I’ve always loved my birthday (because it’s GROUNDHOG DAY) and I’m grateful I’m still here.

I don’t know about you, but I feel less overwhelmed.

Are you overwhelmed by any of my other photos from yesterday?










Overwhelmed by all this?  Try making a list and letting it go.

Overwhelming thanks to all who helped me create today’s post and to you — of course! — for visiting here, today.


Categories: group therapy, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 46 Comments

Day 396: Too much, too little

I know it’s too late for Christmas lights, Christmas songs, and other things Christmas, but a Christmas tune popped into my head, not too long ago (specifically, three minutes before this).  Yes, these lyrics ran through my brain, accompanied by the tune of a popular Christmas song:

On the eighth day of blogging, my true post said to me …

That’s because I just re-read a post I wrote way back on Day 8, called “Too___, too ____, or just right? (Thanks a lot, Goldilocks.)”  That title and post have stuck with me, for over a year.

I just re-read that post, and I recommend it. It’s not too short or too long, too goofy or too serious, too simple or too complicated, too up or too down, too revealing or too coy, too confusing or too plain, too hot or too cold, too hard or too soft, too high or too low, too bad or too good. It offers a different perspective, for sure — that of a new, inexperienced blogger (although, honestly, I can still feel like a newbie, three hundred and eighty-eight days later).

I realize that if you do read that post, it might seem too …. something, to you.   And perhaps we can all agree on this: That title might be a little too long.

But, honestly, dear readers, I’m surprised that old post didn’t seem too anything to me, today,  because … I’m feeling pretty judgmental right now.

I tend to get more judgmental — with “too” thoughts rushing in —  when I’m feeling overwhelmed and depleted. When I’m doing too much, with too little.

Too much with too little. What does that even mean?  Maybe that’s too general. Okay, I’ll provide some details.

Right now, I feel like I’m doing too much …

  • work
  • writing
  • reading
  • thinking
  • activity
  • exertion

… with too little …

  • sleep
  • nourishment
  • down time
  • quiet time

I’m looking at what I’ve written so far and wondering: Is this post — already —  too negative, too confusing, too revealing, too … something?

Well, it might be too something, to somebody. There’s nothing I can do about that, for sure.  But, as usual, it helps me to express my thoughts here.

Here’s some context of why I feel depleted right now: I often feel that way on Thursday nights, into Friday mornings (which is when I’m writing this post). My Thursday work day is very long (10 hours), including two therapy groups, lots of individual therapy sessions, and an important meeting, with too many notes to write, and too many phone calls to return. Also, I work half a day on Wednesdays — so there’s always a back-log of things to do, from my afternoon off.

However, at this point, I’ve written over a year of Friday blog posts, and most of them — I believe — aren’t too down, dreary, or depressing.  I think most of those posts are just right, with a  balance of concerns and hope, good and bad, up and down.

In case you were wondering, people, I am NOT checking those old Friday posts, right now.  There are way too many of them. And, I’ve got too little time and energy, right now.

But my point is this:  I DO feel more depleted than usual, this Friday morning. Why? Well, I’ve got some extra things “on my plate” right now, including:

  • Preparing for my trip, a week-and-a-half away.
  • Groundhog Day, in two days.

Now, why would I need to prepare, in any way, for Groundhog Day?  It’s not like it’s Christmas, for heaven’s sake, with expectations, or traditions like gift-giving or socializing.

You know what? I’m probably being too provincial right now. That is, I’m assuming that everybody knows what Groundhog Day is. In case you don’t,  here’s a definition:

Ground·hog Day
February 2, when the groundhog is said to come out of its hole at the end of hibernation. If the animal sees its shadow—i.e., if the weather is sunny—it is said to portend six weeks more of winter weather.
Thanks to Google for that definition, above. Let’s see if Google has some good images, for Groundhog Day, too:
Image 1
Image 2
Perhaps this post is too rambling, mysterious, or indirect, right now.   Maybe you’re thinking, “Why the heck is Ann focusing on Groundhog Day?  What does that have to do with too much, too little, or anything else she’s written about, so far?  This is too (insert your own adjective here)!!!” Well, I’ll stop being too cagey, and confess: Groundhog Day is my birthday. And, perhaps, I’m not alone in “too” thoughts appearing, around this time, including the ever-popular ….
Am I too old?
Have I done too little, at this point in my life?
I’ve learned to answer both of those questions with a resounding “NO!” because both of those questions are too
  • painful
  • conventional, and
  • useless.

So why is there any pressure, at all, related to my birthday this year?  I mean, it’s not like last year, when we planned a 60th birthday party for me.  Man, there was a LOT of pressure associated with that. (But also, a lot of fun.)

So that pressure is absent this year. Why am I even writing about this, now?

Here’s why: As much as I love and look forward to my birthday, I’ve been disappointed, during some birthdays past. I’ve expected too much, and gotten too little. So, perhaps, I’m afraid of a repeat of those disappointments, this year.

That’s just too ….

… what?


Here’s my ending (and I hope it’s not too anything):

Whatever Groundhog Day 2014 brings, my guess is this: It’s going to be just right.

Thanks to Goldilocks, Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell,  anybody who has feelings and reactions about birthdays, people who are doing too much with too little, and to you — of course! — for reading today.

1. I found this image here.  I recommend checking out that link, since it has lots of interesting and fun facts about Groundhog Day, including how to say it in Spanish, Hebrew, Korean, Arabic, and German (and other things that were surprising and new, even to somebody who knew too much about that day already).
2.  I found that image here.
3.  I found that image here. Also, that poster is on my wall, upstairs, a gift from my friend Deb, from last year. Thanks, Deb!
4. I found that image here. I’m going to get a cracker now.
Categories: inspiration, Nostalgia, personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , | 28 Comments

Day 358: Pressure

Today’s post is about pressure. And honoring my almost-year-long tradition of confusing my readers as soon as possible, I shall start with a poem:

’twas the day before Christmas, and all through the flat,

Several creatures were stirring, including a cat.


Now, if I do say so myself, I’ve done a nice job confusing people almost immediately, including using the word “flat” which implies that I live in the UK, which I don’t.

And here’s how I bring things back to the Topic du Jour  almost immediately. I’ve relieved some pressure on myself, by including the above photo — thus fulfilling another Year-of-Living-Non-Judgmentally tradition (grand or otherwise).

That’s a relief! Now I can breathe easier.

Here’s another tradition around these parts: Ann asking questions, that she then answers. (Okay, there seems to be another sub-topic here. Traditions.  Should I make that part of the title?) (Easy decision:  Nope.)

Where was I?  Oh, yes, asking myself a question, as follows: Why did I start with that poem, when the topic is Pressure?

I will answer that question with a list (something else that’s a tradition around here). I started this post with that poem because:

  1. It’s December 24th.
  2. I wanted the centerpiece of this post to be a list of things I felt pressure about, yesterday.
  3. As a result, I thought of the line “Making a list and checking it twice.”
  4. My next (erroneous) thought was that the above line came from “’twas the Night Before Christmas.”
  5. Voila!  I thought of the beginning lines of this post.

Is anybody out there concerned about me, at this point?

No worries. It’s just another edition of  “Ann’s Mind and Welcome To It ” (which could be the title of my blog next year) (if I change it).

And I want to confess something else about Ann’s Mind, right now. I’m a little anxious. Why? Because after I got up, I realized that I forgot to plug in and charge my phone/camera/life support system last night … and the power on that device is verrrry low* . I would take a picture to show you how low the power is, but I can’t. (If you don’t know why I can’t take a picture, at this point, I empathize with your state of mind. Truly.)

Anyway, I would really like to get to that aforementioned list, right now. So here it is!

List of Things I Felt Pressure About, Yesterday

  1. Responding back to phone calls.
  2. Responding back to emails.
  3. Responding back to comments here at WordPress.
  4. Making decisions about a trip to Boquete, Panama.
  5. Making decisions about Christmas gifts.
  6. Making decisions about what to do about WordPress awards.
  7. Deciding about unimportant friggin’ details, including how to coordinate my packed and often unpredictable schedule at work today, so that I can connect, for two seconds, with somebody I would really like to see, so that I can get ahold of some gifts I really want that I can then give to people I love, tonight.

If you had trouble following that last item on the list, again, I empathize.

Here’s my point (and I do have one)***.

I felt a lot of pressure at points during the day, yesterday.  And who put that pressure on me?

Me.  Just me.

Nobody else did.  Everybody else was just:

  1. Doing their job,
  2. Trying to connect, and/or
  3. Being kind.

I am not going to say, “Shame on me,” about all that.  Nope.  That doesn’t help.

Here’s something that does help:


It’s a reminder, on a post-it note.  I could say more about that, but, Jiminy Cricket!  Look at the time.

There are other posts, here at WordPress, where I HAVE said more, but …..

No pressure!

Thanks to everyone who has ever nominated me for an award, list-makers, poets, holiday celebrators everywhere, those who put (and relieve) pressure on anybody, and to you — especially — for reading today.

* As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve relied on cardiac pacemakers since I was a kid, so devices running out of power can seem scary to me.**

** Although, honestly, I think I’m not alone in my cell-phone-running-out-of-power fears.

*** I always hear Ellen DeGeneris’s voice in my head, when I use that line.  Thanks, Ellen!

Categories: humor, inspiration, personal growth, photojournalism | Tags: , , , , , , , , | 31 Comments

Day 247: No one is alone

For your reading (and perhaps listening) pleasure, here are some random thoughts, on a morning when I’m feeling overwhelmed.

Three things that tend to overwhelm me:

  1. The possibility that I may have broken some rule  (including unwritten, mysterious, or ambiguous ones).
  2. People giving me new responsibilities without checking with me first.
  3. People not getting back to me when I ask for something.

Three things to help reduce my feelings of being overwhelmed:

  1. Belief in “good” magic, like a Cloak of Safety that my friend Jeanette gave me on Monday which “includes a ‘can do no wrong’ clause for the next 30 days.”
  2. Letting people know I’m overwhelmed. (Extra credit: setting some limits.)
  3. A really great song, with lyrics that are meaningful to me. There are a lot of great songs to choose from, but I’ll go with the one that came to me when I woke up this morning. I’ll start with the lyrics:

Mother cannot guide you,
Now you’re on your own.
Only me beside you,
Still, you’re not alone.
No one is alone, truly.
No one is alone.

Sometimes people leave you
halfway through the wood.
Others may deceive you.
You decide what’s good.
You decide alone.
But no one is alone.

Mother isn’t here now.
Who knows what she’d say?
Nothing’s quite so clear now,
Feel you’ve lost your way?
You are not alone. No one is alone.

You move just a finger,
Say the slightest word,
Something’s bound to linger,
Be heard.
No one acts alone.
Careful, no one is alone

People make mistakes.
Fathers, Mothers,
People make mistakes,
Holding to their own,
Thinking they’re alone.

Honor their mistakes,
Everybody makes.
Terrible mistakes.
Witches can be right,
Giants can be good.
You decide what’s right,
You decide what’s good.

Just remember:
Someone is on your side.
Someone else is not.
While we’re seeing our side
Maybe we forgot,
They are not alone.
No one is alone.

Hard to see the light now,
Just don’t let it go.
Things will come out right now,
We can make it so.
Someone is on your side,
No one is alone.

Here’s a wonderful rendition of this song:

Thanks so much to Stephen Sondheim, “Into The Woods,” Bernadette Peters,  good magic, good friends, and to you, for reading and listening today.

Categories: personal growth | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Day 184: Overwhelmed (naming it)

I’m definitely feeling overwhelmed.

How can I tell?

  1. My self-judgment — and my use of cognitive distortions (such as comparing myself to others, catastrophizing about the future, and mind-reading what other people think) — has increased.
  2. Joy is hiding.
  3. Doubt and shame are in the house.

As usual, it helps to name things.

Why am I feeling overwhelmed?

Some guesses:

  1. I think I’m having a delayed reaction to my son suddenly developing a collapsed lung a few weeks ago. At the time, it was clear what had to be done to deal with things. Now, there’s time to have lots of feelings and thoughts about it.
  2. We are travelling overseas next month. While I love travel, I still get anxious about it.
  3. I’m doing too much at work (but so is everybody else there).
  4. I’m not so great at reaching out for help, although I’m working on it.
  5. Some people I really like at work have left or are leaving.
  6. My cat has been biting me lately, despite the fact that he and I are both charming creatures.
  7. It’s going to be hot and humid on July 4th (tomorrow) in the Northeastern USA. There are some people I love whom I won’t get to see that day.
  8. I’m working the day after July 4th, and I’m expecting to be doing a lot of work, with very few people around.

Geesh. I guess there’s a lot. And, as usual, it helps to name — and number — those things.

Because then I can say to myself, “No wonder you’re feeling overwhelmed.”

Sometimes, I think that’s the main thing I do as a therapist — witness and validate that somebody is dealing with A LOT.

It also helps to recognize next steps. Let’s take #6, above.



Or to paraphrase Henny Youngman, “Take my cat. Please.”

Just kidding (although I don’t like getting bitten in the morning when I’m getting ready for work or writing this blog.) (Actually, I don’t like getting bitten, any time. I’m funny that way.)

I’ve arranged for this charming creature to have a check-up later today and — for the first time — it’s going to be a vet who makes house calls! (Or as I’ve been calling them, house-cat-calls.) That may help resolve the biting issue, and be less stressful for all charming creatures involved.

And I’ll deal with one more item, on the list above, before sending this post out into the blog-o-sphere:

#7. Even though I will miss seeing some people I love tomorrow, I will see other people I love, too. And, most likely, I will figure out a way to see something else I adore.

images (1)


I think that’s likely, don’t you?

Thanks for reading today.

Categories: personal growth, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

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