Too Much

This year has been tough.  I discovered that I have limits because I pushed myself past them; my commitments, projects and goals became too much as I began to cope with a variety of health concerns in my family, including my own.

For the first time in my teaching career, I was overwhelmed — but it took me a while to understand the reasons why.  I neglected the professional goals that I set for myself this past summer because I couldn’t even think about work.  In fact, I still haven’t opened the two books I planned to read during July and August.  Usually I love diving in to new ideas and challenges have always excited me.  That’s not the case right now.

The beginning of this school year didn’t feel the same way as other years; the excitement was somehow muted because I couldn’t seem to fight my way through sadness and anxiety.  It felt a bit like being under water while everyone else was on dry land.  Sights, sounds and even movement became clouded and murky.

Thankfully, I have had people I could turn to, who would listen without judgment and offer compassion.  As much as we hear about the importance of talking to others when you’re struggling, it is a seemingly impossible task when you’re the one who needs to talk.

Look for the silver lining.  There are people who are going through much worse than you.  Other people are busy with their own problems, they don’t need to hear yours.  If you tried hard enough, you would find a way through this.  It’s not that big of a deal.  There are thousands of ways I could convince myself not to make that phone call to my little sister, or to text a friend.  These moments are the hardest:  coming to terms with the extent of your problems and needs, and accepting them enough to reach out — and to fight the fear that the person you talk to won’t be able to (or want to) help.

My family and I have begun to focus on our health, something that requires a bit more effort and planning than we have been willing to sacrifice in the past.  My daughter and I began working together on a side project that was completely different than anything we had done before.  I’ve needed to readjust my sails and rethink my priorities, sometimes a few times a day.  Joyful moments are slowly finding their ways back in to our lives and I will do my best to welcome them with open arms.

To my family and friends who support me, thank you.  Some of you have held me through some of my raw moments, and your kindness means everything to me.

If you are struggling in any way, and find it difficult to cope, take a moment.  Or two.  Or as many as you need.  Be patient with yourself and allow yourself to accept love from others.  Don’t forget to talk.  A lot.

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5 Responses to Too Much

  1. Pam says:

    Thank you for sharing your struggles so honestly and openly. Life events DO happen to us all eventually, and we need to pause, as well as reach out to those who can comfort us. Know that you uplift me with your blog and I will keep you and yours in my thoughts and prayers. Be well.

  2. Glad to hear you are regaining your balance and finding your way. Thanks for sharing your struggle and reminding us all to look after ourselves.

  3. lisamnoble says:

    Oh, beautiful girl. Thank you. Thank you for your honesty, thank you for putting it out there, thank you for being brave, and thank you for letting me help in small ways. You are a gift to so many of us, and I hope you realize that. You are modeling amazing resilience for your remarkable kids. And you know that the learning you need will come to you as you need it. Hugs. Keep writing, keep sharing, and we’ll keep checking in. Love and light, coming your way!

  4. adunsiger says:

    I agree with Lisa! Such a beautiful and honest post. Thanks for putting yourself out there like this. There are many of us here to be a listening ear and a supportive friend if you need one. Your post reminds me so much of Stuart Shanker’s work and the need to take care of ourselves first. I’m so glad that you are doing that.


  5. Paul McGuire says:

    Thanks for the post Colleen. I totally get what you are saying and have been there myself. The best thing I can say is that these difficult times are instructive. We tend to learn the most about ourselves during difficult times. The learning is a struggle, but it is worth it. What you find after this dark period is that you are more open to how other people are feeling and that eventually, you can do a lot of good for other people who just need to hear that it is going to be OK and that we all need to go through these periods. Thanks for being so open to writing about this and thanks to Doug for posting your writing – really glad he did this. Take care and certainly take one day at a time, that is enough.

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