Merry Christmas – Dealing With Overwhelm

I love Christmas but I’m looking forward to the break more than ever this year. I’m coming to the end of the long process of moving home which started at the beginning of September. I will finally get the keys today and move in this Wednesday.

The whole thing has been stress-inducing but for about 3 weeks in November/December the anxiety was so extreme it was unbearable. Being unable to sleep for more than a few hours a night, waking up with a racing heartbeat and a never ceasing feeling of panic, was horrendous. This was no doubt exacerbated – or more likely caused – by my negative thoughts spiralling out of control. I kept thinking I’d done everything wrong and couldn’t stop going over and over the poor decisions I thought I’d made.

I had support from the GP but she said that the anxiety was too acute for medication make a difference unless I was all but knocked out, which I didn’t want.

What did help:

  1. Talking. Sharing how I felt with friends and family was really important. I needed the reassurance they gave me that I was doing the right thing. On a couple of days when I felt beside myself, I called two amazing friends on the phone and they talked me down.
  2. Anchors. Having a few points during the day that gave me some comfort/distraction made a difference. In the mornings I would listen to podcast focusing on tackling anxiety, at lunchtime I’d connect with nature by taking a walk in the park near my office and when I got home I’d make a cup of lapsang suchong with extra sugar and watch YouTube videos for a while.
  3. Reconnecting with my ‘why’. I was in such a cycle of self-doubt that I had completely forgotten why on earth I was putting myself through all this. Running through all the benefits of moving away from my current home and into the new one was something I did at night when I couldn’t sleep.
  4. Writing. This one was huge. I’ve learnt that when all these fears and worries are at fever pitch, it’s hopeless trying to sort them out in my head. I have to rationalise my thoughts on paper. I wrote to that terrified part of me, telling her I understood exactly how she felt and told her that although what we were doing was tough there were many reasons that it was for our ultimate benefit. I felt radically different afterwards for the rest of that day.
  5. Self-help books. I binged on self-help books. I couldn’t concentrate on novels anyway and knowing that other people had gone through the same thing (and worse) made me feel less crazy and isolated.
  6. Extreme self-care. Like a lot of people, I tend to put a lot of pressure on myself. Considering acute anxiety puts a lot of strain on your nervous system (mine felt as if it was on fire) it can have a knock-on effect on your body. High levels of cortisol take a toll as well as all that muscle tension. I was desperately looking round for an alternative therapy that might give me some relief but in the end, settled on a good old-fashioned massage. It was physically and emotionally restorative. I spent evenings just lying in bed listening to audio books. I didn’t stress over what I ate, watched escapist boxsets and yes, that old self-care cliché, took long, hot baths.  True self-care is deeper than that though. It’s about self-compassion: telling yourself it’s okay to feel the way you do, you’re not the only one who feels like this and giving yourself permission to do whatever it takes to get through it.
  7. Yoga. I’ve been doing yoga once a week for several years now but this has been the first time I’ve noticed the dramatic effect it can have on my mental health. It felt like an hour-long therapy session where I released all that built-up anguish. I’d come out feeling like I’d hit the re-set button on my troubled mind.
  8. This too shall pass. Knowing that these feelings wouldn’t last forever and I just had to get through them, one day at a time.

After all this, I will be spending the next couple of weeks unpacking, recuperating from the past few months and acclimatising to my new home. Hopefully I’ll get the sense of excitement I’ve been missing and know with certainty that I’ve done the right thing.

Val the Cookie Queen will be back with another Strange Tale tomorrow and we will then see you again on the other side of the New Year. The 1st January marks 3 years of A Bottled Rose. I can’t quite believe it’s been that long already and am incredibly grateful to all of you who consistently read and comment. It means a lot.

Wishing you all a peaceful Christmas and all good things for 2019.

 

dove

 

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47 Comments

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47 responses to “Merry Christmas – Dealing With Overwhelm

  1. Dear Tara, you are so brave!
    I know this was an ordeal for you but now you’ve gone through it and emerged on the other side where finally you can enjoy some peace and happiness which I have no doubt your new home will bring you.
    I’m happy to hear yoga has helped, it helps me as well when my mind is in chaos.
    Wishing you a very merry Christmas and all the happiness in the New year. 🙂

    Like

  2. Bee

    Wow – the pressure must have been immense! And this really is the worst time of year to feel so much stress. So glad you had the support and the strength to come through it. I hope you can now feel more secure and start to relax and enjoy your new home. Wishing you peace and joy and all the best for the new year.

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  3. Tara – you are coming out the other side, and all the wiser for it. A continuing learning curve. The experiences, and coping mechanisms, add to your strength, and will continue to help as you go on, in all that life throws at you. You are an example of great strength to me. I can‘t wait to see your new place. Merriest of Christmases. And while we are at it, thank you a million times over for allowing me to shared your beautiful ABR space. Bussis. ❤️

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  4. Oh my goodness, Tara, I understand completely how you feel as we moved house just six weeks ago and the stress has been utterly horrendous. Honestly, it does get better. I’m not saying I’ve recovered yet, but I am beginning to surface and starting at last to plan for the future. You will get there and love your new home, I promise you, and one day you will look back at this dark period and realise how far you’ve come.

    Wishing you happiness for Christmas and the new year.

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    • jillie, to get your reassurance that things start to improve on the other side is just what I need to hear right now. Much appreciated! It’s great to hear that you are gradually recovering and looking to the future.
      Best wishes for Christmas and 2019 in your new home.

      Like

  5. matty

    Wishing you a very happy Christmas and peace and joy in your new home.

    Like

  6. Hi Tara I like the extreme self care option! What a year! Australia and then loving to a new home 🏠 Wishing you peace and happiness in your new home and for 2019. Have a wonderful Christmas
    Love Anna Maria

    Liked by 1 person

  7. crikey

    Many congratulations on the house, and I hope that it is a place of joy and comfort for you.

    Thank you for sharing the ways in which you have been managing your anxiety, and those maddening spirals of negative thought. I hope you need them less and less, though, and that your new year feels so much easier.

    Thank you for another year of your always enjoyable ABR.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks for your support, crikey.
      I hope the things that helped me might help someone else.
      I will be in recovery mode for January at least!
      Have a lovely Christmas.

      Liked by 1 person

      • crikey

        Best of luck with the actual move. This week I will be celebrating the longest I have lived in any single building in my life: 4 years. I’ve moved way too many times. That last was also the most stressful move of my life, which involved frantic negotiations between lawyers on 23rd December to get the keys after the seller messed everything up, persuade the movers to work on Xmas eve, and get heating installed before the engineers took a month long break! But unpacking the box mountain was one of the best feelings to unwind and dissolve all that panic.

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        • Whoa, that really was pressurised! I should count myself lucky but sadly I have a ridiculously low tolerance for stress. Nice to hear that all the unboxing can be a good way to unwind.
          I hope you continue to be happy where you are.

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  8. Greenno

    Oh Tara, what a time! It sounds like things are getting better for you. Moving is absolutely horrendous, far too many things for one person to be able to sanely remember and organise. I’m so glad you’ve been kind to yourself in so many ways. All the best for a wonderful Christmas and New Year.

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    • Thank-you, Greenno! It really helps when other people say how horrendous moving is because it makes me feel less odd for struggling so much. Doing it on your own is no joke (though my parents have been great).
      Wishing you a joyful Christmas and a happy and healthy New Year.

      Like

  9. Hey there little sister,
    PHEW! You’ve made it through the hard slog. Now it’s just the backbreaking bit with moving.
    Congratulations on a year of amazing adventures.
    You’ll probably need to sit down and have a month long rest once it’s all in and sorted.
    Thanks for the coping road map, I love how you’ve made it so simple and easy to follow.
    Smoochy hugs,
    Portia xx

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’ve played such a huge part in this life-changing year, Portia.
      Those phone calls helped me get a grip and find some perspective (which I find tough).
      A month-long rest is my plan for the whole of January 🙂

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  10. davina

    What an amazing post Tara! So open and authentic you. I love the practical insights. Thank you for sharing these. It would be strnge not to feel stress about such a big life change but I am positive that this move will be transformative and the way you have managed it has been worth the progress you’ve made in self compassion and dealing with change. I’m so proud of you. It is not easy to make a life dahnging decision like this and managing it alone. you are so strong and courageous and this will serve you. Lots of love xx

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  11. Tara C

    I’m still in the stress and anxiety part as I contemplate whether I want to move to the other side of the country or not. Lots of reasons for and against, but I trust that I will find clarity when the time comes to make the final decision this spring. Meanwhile I am doing yoga daily and exhausting myself with bike rides twice a week, plus anxiety meds at night to help me sleep. I hope you get settled in quickly and come to peace with your decision and new surroundings.

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    • Tara C, I’m sure it will come clear when the time comes. I may have lost my way thanks to anxiety but I was absolutely certain by this summer after years of never thinking I’d do it. Daily yoga is fantastic as are the bike rides. The meds are important too because as I’ve found, lack of sleep messes everything up.
      Message me via my contact details any time if it gets on top of you.

      Like

  12. Diving out of a day of high anxiety at this end – due to setbacks (and associated costs!) in some home renovations – to wish you so much happiness in your new home. It will be more than bricks and mortar, you will see: it will wrap its arms around you in a nurturing way, once you have got over the initial hump or “Where are the light switches?”, and “Where on earth did I put the kettle?” You have done very well to get to this point despite levels of anxiety that are beyond the wit of the medical profession to satisfactorily address, so good on you for exploring other therapies and regimes that have served you well, and will surely provide pointers for others in the same boat. (Like me, for one!)

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    • You have been such a huge support V. Not to mention inspirstion. Your reassuring words have made me feel a lot better. I really hope your own home reno issues get resolved before long.

      Like

  13. Hayley

    Best wishes in your new home and hope you have a lovely Christmas. I love reading your blog 💞 you will get through the anxiety x

    Like

  14. Sandra

    Congratulations dear Tara on your move. I can only imagine the stress and pressure you have been under. I will take notes on how you dealt with it for any future move I do. I hope you have a relaxing holiday getting settled in your new home. Sandra xo

    Like

  15. Ingeborg

    I hope you will settle in really quickly and find the positive excitement about your new place!

    Wishing you a merry Christmas and lioking forward to reading your blog again in January. Obviously i will come back to read Val’s wild tale tomorrow.

    Like

    • Thanks, Ingeborg. I appreciate your support. It’s nice to know you’re reading along.
      Have a lovely time over the holidays.
      Val’s non-perfume favourites of the year will be up this afternoon.

      Like

  16. I’m sorry you’ve been going through this! Moving is THE WORST. I’m glad you’ve been able to find several ways to help you cope. I find that singing helps at this time of year, when there are so many opportunities to do so. We went to a Lessons and Carols church service recently, and it was so uplifting but also calming — largely because of being able to sing along. This is a stressful time of year for me at work every year, and I have to remind myself to counter everyone else’s lunacy. It sounds as if you’re doing a good job! And putting your own things away in a new place can also be calming, as long as you don’t try to do too much too fast. Hang in there!

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  17. Hello Tara, thanks for sharing this with us. Anxiety can be so debilitating. I hope your new home brings you much joy and comfort.

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  18. Norma MILLER

    Tara, you are the most beautiful soul I have ever come across. You are so kind and caring, just a lovely person. Don’t ever doubt yourself Tara, you can do anything. How you do all you do puts me, at 78yrs of age, to shame, even tho I never stop!!.. I have moved 29 times and it can be very stressful, but you have done it girl, Congratulations! I wish you a very Merry Christmas and a Happy Healthy and Safe 2019 – Lots of love and huge hugs, Aunty Tracey xxxxxxx

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    • Aunty Tracey!!! That is the nicest comment ever. I’m so lucky I got to know you this year and really appreciate how you looked after me.
      You’ve moved 29 times?! Wow, what a superstar you are. I’m so pleased you and Portia have each other. Have a fantastic Christmas and New Year with all the family. You inspire me xxx

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    • Aunty Tracey,
      I couldn’t love you more. You’re the best.
      She’s right Tara. You’ve done it. Amazing.
      Portia xx

      Liked by 1 person

  19. Well done you, Tara. For taking on such a huge challenge, for the way you dealt with it, for taking on anxiety and fear and not let those two hold you back.
    Now cheers to your new home, and whenever you find something difficult in the future, you can know that you managed this and so you can manage so much more.
    I can’t wait to see the pictures of your new home.

    Like

    • Yes, I hope this will be confidence building. I could never have imagined doing it just a few years ago. I think that will settle in more and more as time goes by and I’ve adjusted to my new home. I’ll pay myself on the back then 🙂 Pics will be coming your way!

      Like

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