Haven’t we all felt this way at one point or another? I started to feel this way heavily after my fifth child was born. It was a pretty tough pregnancy for me. I’m pretty sure my pelvic floor just completely gave out so I was on crutches. It was a surprise pregnancy which wreaked havoc on my emotions. I had a baby still needing mom most of the time and I remember thinking it was going to be a relief once he came out because that’s how it was with all of my other ones.
It was not.
My body did not go back right away like I was expecting (unreal expectations are my specialty!). I started suffering from postpartum depression, which I have never before experienced; and if I had, certainly not to that extent.
I remember calling my mom sobbing on more than one occasion because I could not handle my life, my kids, my emotions, etc. I tried to take herbs to help combat some of the hormonal changes that were happening, but they just weren’t working. At one point she said something to me that completely changed my focus.
“Did you ever stop to think that it’s not hormones? You just had your fifth child in six years. Maybe you are just overwhelmed.”
After I screamed at her that “of course I’m overwhelmed!!”, I started to calm down. Maybe I needed a nap. And I did. Desperately. But then the real issue came dropping down on me like a ton of bricks. How could I start to handle life again – all of it, the homeschooling (which I would not give up on), the kids, the cleaning, the wifey duties, the positive thinking, etc. How, when really I had no energy to get out of bed to get my kids lunch? How, when at times I just didn’t care anymore?
Well, let me tell you. Sometimes it requires you to drop things that are not important. It involves just surviving until you can pick maybe one thing back up. I dropped everything. My husband came home and cooked dinner and then he had the kids help him clean up. I stayed in bed. I did try to at least twice a week do school with the kids, but if I can be completely honest, that only consisted of helping them learn to read. And that was about a half-hour total.
I had a talk with my husband to let him know what was going on and he was a total champ about it. All he wanted for me was to sleep and get better. So if that meant that he had to do everything for a time, he was okay with that. If that meant the kids watched TV all the time, so be it.
Did it help? Yes and no. There are still days I struggle, but once I take everything down to the bare bones, it helps. I put too much on myself and it turns into negative energy. So, here are my thoughts on how to overcome, or at the very least cope, with being overwhelmed.
- Drop everything and don’t feel guilty about it. And I mean drop everything. School, housework, meals, shopping. Just drop it. Start a list of everything on your plate and prioritize what is the most important. Then choose only two or three things a day to do. If meals aren’t important, just get a loaf of bread and peanut butter and have your kids fend for themselves for a while. If school is overwhelming, put a pause on it until you are feeling better. We homeschool, remember? There’s beauty in allowing breaks.
- Take a break. A long break. Put the kids in front of the TV if you have to and go take a bath. Put on some Mazzy Star, a candle, and throw in a bath bomb. Most importantly LOCK THE DOOR. Turn the music up if you need to drown out kids knocking or crying at the door. I mean this in all seriousness. There was a point that I knew if I heard one of my kids say “mom” one more time, I would explode. So I cranked that music up and locked my door. And, yes, I felt guilty. I knew they needed me, but I also knew I couldn’t pour from an empty cup, and my cup was bone dry.
- Meditation. I’m going to throw this one in with taking a break because I often combine the two. Get in the bath and visualize your problems leaving you and entering the water. Once you are feeling a bit calmer then visualize those problems emptying the tub with the water. Mediate and commune with God. Sometimes I would just picture Him holding me and giving me peace. Sometimes He would give me a pep talk. Sometimes I would think and feel nothing until a little voice would say “Get up”. So I did. It didn’t always make things better, but it did feel a little good knowing that I was doing something to help myself.
- Music. Crank that music up. Somedays I would put on “Dancing through the Fire” (as my kids call it – it’s really Roar by Katy Perry) or Fight Song. Somedays it was Itzhak Perlman. Music lifts the soul. Don’t go for anything melancholy, this includes classical. Pay attention to what media you have in your home – books, TV, movies, and music all influence over our minds. Make sure what you put in is beautiful and uplifting.
- Herbs. I’m a big believer in herbs and their healing powers. Dr. Christopher brand has a formula called Relaxeze that I use quite a bit. It helps relax the mind and body and feeds the nervous system. Relaxeze single-handedly brought me out of my depression and allowed me to see the light. I have this on hand in bulk (no joke, you can order it in bulk here and capsulize it yourself, which I do). Hormonal Changese is another one that I have on hand. This helps if it is truly a hormonal issue. Again, life-changing.
- Diet. This is a hard one because I want to eat all the junk! But trust me when I say that junk food causes harm to the mind. I can tell when I put something in my body that is not good for it. The tiredness sets in, the inability to handle a screaming kid, the lack of focus. When I talk about diet, it is not a particular one. I am a firm believer that the less sugar we eat and the more live foods we put in will create a healthy body and mind. Also, remember that the gut is the second brain – what you feed your gut will influence your mindset.
- Energy work. People either love energy work or they think it’s hocus pocus! I love it and it has helped me tremendously in my life. Seek out a qualified energy worker and allow all of those feelings and emotions and stress to dissolve. This could include, but not limited to, foot zoning, cranial-sacral therapy, reiki, and tapping.
Being overwhelmed is normal. I feel it constantly. Not being able to cope with it is not normal. Give yourself grace. Don’t beat yourself up. Just remember, this too shall pass.
What other things have helped you in a crisis moment?