I’m Being Overwhelmed, and It’s Hurting My Mental Health

May 16, 2022 Laura A. Barton

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned that I’m someone who can become overwhelmed fairly easily. Sometimes, I think it developed in my adulthood, but maybe it’s just something I never noticed or had the words to identify as a child. Whatever the case, being overwhelmed negatively impacts my mental health, and I want to talk about it to address the stigma around it.

What Does Being Overwhelmed Look Like?

The threshold of “being overwhelmed” is different for everyone. For me, it happens when I don’t get a chance to take time to myself or for myself, or I don’t get a moment of peace and silence. Too much going on or too much sound all around me: both can lead to me becoming overwhelmed.

Being overwhelmed feels inescapable. It’s like the world is closing in around me and yet somehow still incredibly huge. I’m a small being in a large space being crushed.

Apart from metaphors, it means anxiety, trouble focusing, and creeping feelings of depression. I get irritable with everything because I can’t find the quiet my mind and body seek. My engagement with the world and people around me lessens drastically and becomes muted. I have trouble focusing on work or participating in activities.

These are all things I have to watch out for and, honestly, things I feel as I type this. I’ve had a lot going on and feel like I haven’t quite had a moment to breathe. So, yes, I’m overwhelmed, and it’s hurting my mental health. I don’t like feeling this way. It’s uncomfortable, and I don’t like being short with people when there’s nothing they’ve done to warrant it.

How Being Overwhelmed Gets Stigmatized

I find people often gauge being overwhelmed by their own capacity and thresholds. So, if whatever I’m dealing with wouldn’t make them overwhelmed, it shouldn’t make me overwhelmed either.

The other common reaction, whether they’re using their own threshold markers or not, is just to say, “Get over it.” Or people think you’re weak for not being able to handle it and not be mentally impacted by it.

This is mental health stigma, point-blank. It’s a negative, misinformed impression of how being overwhelmed can hurt someone’s mental health. It’s a complete discrediting of its impact.

Talking About Being Overwhelmed Is Hard

Talking about being overwhelmed is hard. In the video below, I share why it’s hard for me to talk about being overwhelmed.

APA Reference
Barton, L. (2022, May 16). I’m Being Overwhelmed, and It’s Hurting My Mental Health, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, July 22 from

Author: Laura A. Barton

Laura A. Barton is a fiction and non-fiction writer from Ontario, Canada. Follow her writing journey and book love on Instagram, and Goodreads.

May, 18 2022 at 2:23 pm

When I get overwhelmed, I overwork myself feeling like it will help... But it doesn't. I think feeling overwhelmed causes this sense of urgency to accomplish the neverending list of things and puts your own mental health second to everything else.

May, 19 2022 at 4:00 pm

That totally makes sense. It's a feeling of needing to do all the things, but then becoming too overwhelmed by them in the process. I think I get like that sometimes, too.

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