I am frozen but not cold. Too much effort required to move. This is hard! I feel like not doing anything. Just letting life happen to me. My mind is fighting. It tells me that it’s ridiculous. How can something so uncomplicated and straightforward be so difficult. It feels like a constant battle. Neverending. There’s a rare sound. Quietly, it tells me I’ll get over it. I don’t know if I believe it. It’s exhausting, overwhelming, stressful, inescapable. I feel like giving up. It drains me to just think about what I need to do. I’m not talking about work. It’s everything. Getting out of bed, taking a shower, playing music, eating. Just thinking about them makes me tired. All I want to do is sleep.
One of my questions on Reddit provided me with a common approach on how some people deal with difficult tasks, specifically relating to mental health. I had asked “What gets you out of bed when you are battling depression?”. Several people mentioned focusing on small tasks and breaking them down into smaller ones. This “making a molehill out of a mountain” approach is not all that unfamiliar. We use it in other areas of life but I hadn’t yet seen the applicability to mental health until now. In a more public platform, Kirsten Bell opens up about her mental health. She talks about dealing with everyday things that feel overwhelming just because of her depression.
“‘You just have to do the next right thing,’ she explained. ‘You just stand up. That’s the next right thing. Then you brush your teeth. That’s the next right thing. I’ve [been] very one-step-at-a-time.’”
I had specifically asked about the struggles of getting out of bed because this is one of the known manifestations of depression. It seems to affect almost everybody that gets depression at some point in their life even though depression, just like any other illness and disease, can manifest itself differently from person to person. Having had the “getting out of bed” identified as an overall task that people dealing with mental health conditions find overwhelming I wanted to find others. Through my conversations with friends, families and mental health experts, I realized that there are tasks that cause high anxiety levels, therefore, making them overwhelming to overcome.
It’s worth mentioning that when it comes to conquering Overwhelm, it is related to the concept of “fight, flight or freeze”. When we find the job to be too exhausting, it’s because we are going against our instinct to give up. We all get tired after reaching our individual threshold for fighting. This is completely normal and logical when you think back at the mice fighting for their lives. After so much fighting, eventually their bodies get tired and stop.