My last post was a confessional about how overwhelmed I've been feeling, in light of a new baby and an imminent international move (and, um, writing—or not writing—this blog). Since publishing that post, we've made some pretty big steps: shown our apartment to a couple possible tenants, signed a lease on a rental in Corvallis, booked plane tickets for the move and to visit family in England, confirmed our childcare situation after we arrive, and a handful of other small things. With these things done, I do feel a bit better.
But I think there's something else that has helped me to get over that moment of intense overwhelm....
The day that I wrote that post, I was so tense. I could barely sit down long enough to write, and I felt deeply unsettled, stressed, and angry (because anger, unfortunately, is my general response to stressful situations). Within 24 hours of posting, though, I'd calmed down considerably. I don't really think it had much to do with getting a few things done (though that helped, many of those things didn't happen so quickly); I think it was moreso due to actually writing it out and sharing it with you.
Have you ever had that experience? When you're so overwhelmed by something (sadness, guilt, regret), and you finally share those feelings with someone, and—poof!—they're gone? Or if not gone, then mitigated, and suddenly bearable? I almost feel silly now about that first post about being overwhelmed, because I no longer feel it so deeply in my body. Though I do have my moments, they are moments now, rather than a constant state of being.
I suppose this goes back, at least a bit, to the idea of bearing witness, and of allowing others to bear witness to our struggles. I could so easily not have said anything, let the moment pass, posted about Ikea or the random stuff in my house. But I chose to name and write about what I was going through, and doing so made all the difference. It dislodged the overwhelm. Friends reached out to me, here on the blog, via text message, via email. They acknowledged my situation and feelings, expressed concern, offered to help if they could. Simply by offering, they did.
So let me challenge you: are you going through something that needs to be named, out loud? Something heavy that might be relieved were it to be shown light? Have you ever had that experience of naming something difficult or talking about it, and then its hold on you diminished? Please share. You're always welcome to email me if you don't want to leave a comment below.
Photo by Simon Matzinger.