Overwhelm

by Lucy Dahill, Sydney, Australia

Most things in my life have happened quickly, always at a pace… I would become frustrated by having to wait or go slowly and I would never stop and do nothing. I got pregnant three months after I started dating my husband. That meant we didn’t have much time to get to know each other as man and woman before my growing baby and I became the centre of his world. I was working full-time and studying to complete an aromatherapy diploma. This carried on into the pregnancy of my second child a year later. We moved to the country, I left my office job and took up both voluntary work and practitioner work and we had our third child. All the way through this I distinctly remember the feeling that something was welling up inside me that needed to be squashed. Was it a scream… a wave… a huge roar?

I spoke about it a little with the midwife after my son was born and she suggested I do something I had loved when I was younger, before children. I went back to tennis and made it my saviour. I tried to pretend the wave that I could feel building into a tsunami was not inside me. But I felt like I had two faces and was wearing many ‘hats’, and this is when I started having a recurring dream… I kept dreaming of passing out in the local supermarket – aka home number two – and just lying there, watching all the fuss around me. I was dreaming about being in a coma and I just wanted everyone to go away and let me sleep. In the dream I appreciated everyone’s care and concern but actually I didn’t want anyone’s attention, I just wanted to sleep. Worryingly, I loved having that dream.

No one would have known about all this. To everyone else I was the picture of happiness – I had a gorgeous and very supportive husband, three beautifully behaved children, and I was helpful and supportive to everyone in my family. I was a healing practitioner and to all intents and purposes I was healthy – I did not have cancer, diabetes, depression or any other label… so really, was there any need to change?

But what happens when no one notices how bad it is? What happens when no one sees what is going on? How bad do you let it get? In fact, you get to be a really good actress. I fooled everyone, including my husband. Where, I now ask, was my love for him if I couldn’t share with him how I was feeling and what was really going on?

Around this time I went to a talk by Serge Benhayon. He was visiting the UK and my friend Janet asked if I would like to come along and listen. Something he presented was different. He wasn’t trying to be charismatic and he wasn’t attempting to get me to do anything. He just spoke sense. He talked about food a little bit and it just clicked with what I had experienced during my three pregnancies; the intolerance, the tiredness and the bloating. He spoke about how tired we all are and how alcohol can give us the sugar to get through to bed time… He pretty much described my routine. He talked about the major epidemic of exhaustion. He named my disease.

I knew something had to change, so where to start? I went for the jugular – I took away the alcohol. I was most concerned about what would happen at ‘bed-time’… how angry might I get if I wasn’t obeyed when I had nothing left to give and they all just needed to go to sleep!? What would happen to the rage I was squashing?

However, I had needed to start somewhere. I was tired, angry, resentful and at a loss, and all this became apparent the moment I stopped my medicinal drink. To be honest it would have been simpler to tell my friends and family that I was a recovering alcoholic rather than I was giving alcohol up to get to feel how tired I was. They thought it was the complete opposite of logical.

I then stopped sugar – that took seven years! I was desperate for a fix and with no alcohol to give me my pick-up the sugar was my ‘go to’! I had monstrous moods to start off with and my friends and family just looked on with horror – “but there was nothing wrong with you Lucy, why are you being so dramatic?!” “Too late”, I said, “I can feel something changing in me, I cannot go back”.

I decided to make multi-tasking a rude word, teaching myself to do things one at a time. I was slower, but I can see now that I do things much better, in a much more focussed way… and still get things done. I found I could say “no” and do less. After a year or so – and this was HUGE – I dreamt less about being in a coma.

I was still aware of something nagging but this time I didn’t ignore it. We had moved to Australia by now, and someone suggested I have an Esoteric Breast Massage (EBM). I met a practitioner who was so tender with me, who talked to me, who helped me see past the fact that my chest was like a washboard. I felt something underneath that was tender and beautiful and not at all ‘weak and pathetic’ as I had imagined those words to mean. I continued with these EBMs and just kept getting to know myself more and more and was finding things in my past that needed letting go of – old hurts, resentments and expectations. All the while the nagging voice got quieter.

A while later, Natalie Benhayon began hosting women’s presentations… Here was a young woman and she was sharing experiences of her connection within herself and how she celebrates herself as a woman. This was an extraordinary leap. ‘Celebrate myself?’ I had to start smaller. What if I took time to be gentle with myself, to take care of myself, to be tender with myself, what would that feel like? Well, it felt very odd and very selfish; it also brought up that so much of what I had done to date had been about getting myself away from the exhaustion, but now that I had chosen to really start to ‘love myself’ I had to go back and start at the beginning again. However, what had felt selfish then, feels very normal and lovely now, and what came to feel odd and not very nice was when I went back to the old way of putting my clothes on, getting up and going to bed, or rushing through my day. Why would I go back to that? Why would I settle for that? It was only when I opened up to there possibly being another way to see myself, to actually stop and feel without judging myself, that I realised I had not really been seeing myself at all, instead feeling all the overwhelm and therefore, as a result, hating myself for what I looked like. It hurt me to finally see how little I liked myself, and feel how little confidence I had in truly being able to do anything.

I couldn’t close my eyes again to what I was now seeing and feeling in my body – it wasn’t just my old patterns and behaviours that poisoned me, the thoughts were right up there too. For example, I felt that I simply had to let go of trying to control everything and everyone. To let go of the picture of what I wanted it all to look like and how I wanted us to get there. Because when I looked at that ideal picture, I could see it was totally skewed by what I saw in society; and when I realised what is ‘normal’ to others could suppress what I actually felt for myself, I had to look afresh and make a change. Make the change I wanted to see in the world, and give my children a different role model.

How am I emotionally? Well, I have got progressively more steady since having the Esoteric Breast Massages, attending the Esoteric Women’s Presentation, sharing time with the beautiful women around me and having more honest conversations about how we are all feeling.

My husband shared recently that he has noticed huge changes (mostly because my last period had brought up many of my old patterns – the severe five-day headache, the grump-pants, the growl, the snappy comments, the control). We now take time in our days to connect with each other by the little things, with our eyes and with little touches here and there. We cuddle, kiss, dance in the kitchen and we are more playful with each other. We have a tenderness that has not been there before. The kids groan, roll their eyes and pretend they are embarrassed by all this love – not cool at school – but all too often they come and join in our dance or hug and the kitchen turns into ‘Love Central’.

I can say with absolute certainty that I cannot be with another more than I am with myself. That means I can’t love them more and I can’t look after them better, I have to do it for me first. I notice it in my kids and husband too – when they don’t look after themselves they have less respect for me and less respect for the house; but I celebrate it because I know it is a reflection for me to feel what it is like to be on the receiving end of what I offered them for so many years. It isn’t so pleasant. I am learning to let them be, to be less judgmental and expect them to ‘get it’ less. Letting go of control is an ongoing process, which I have found to be about building trust in myself. Knowing that whatever happens, if I wobble, I won’t go back to dreaming about being in a coma. It is like I have built myself a little platform from all the small things I lovingly do for myself that it is now so solid it feels like the foundations of a house. It is my foundation that will support me – whatever comes my way. I know now with every cell in my body that control hurts – it feels like it squeezes me back into a box that stops me breathing, and that is the start of illness for me.

Who would have thought all this would come from someone who was, to all intents and purposes, the picture of happiness and health? My extended family and friends found it hard to understand why I had made so many changes, why I had changed. They missed the old Lucy and blamed Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine, but it was my fault really, I hadn’t told them how bad things really were for me or what was underneath that Lucy they saw on the outside. I wonder now sometimes if we find it easier to see these things as ‘normal’ rather than call it out for what it really is – totally NOT normal!

Things are not easy sometimes, but it always comes back to me making a simple choice – to be Love or to not be Love. ‘Lady Overwhelm’ pops in for a catch-up every so often, but my good friend Honesty heads her off pretty quickly now. And ‘Lady Overwhelm’ doesn’t complain; “So much to do – so little time”.

316 thoughts on “Overwhelm

  1. I have teetered on the edge of overwhelm in my new job and it’s not pretty, not pretty at all. My whole body was in a mild state of panic, I wasn’t able to focus properly, I wasn’t able to listen to what anyone else was saying, my whole body was tense and my breath had lost it’s natural rhythm. Thankfully I have the tools to address overwhelm, liberally provided by The Way of The Livingness but I can so clearly see that overwhelm when not addressed would put an enormous strain on the entire body, including the organs.

  2. ‘Letting go of control is an ongoing process’. Yes Lucy, and when we let go control we are able to feel ourselves more and from there, not only letting go unnecessary burdens but also understand others much more in their choices.

    1. There are layers and layers of understanding in what you have shared here. From my experience we are fractionally aware of the level of control we try to live with in our lives and it is through the reflection of others and the honesty of our body that we learn where our attachments are.

  3. “I hadn’t told them how bad things really were for me or what was underneath that Lucy they saw on the outside.” So many of us soldier on without asking for support. When we do the answers may be oh so simple – and voila – changes can then make such a difference.

  4. “I felt that I simply had to let go of trying to control everything and everyone. To let go of the picture of what I wanted it all to look like and how I wanted us to get there.” So many of us have images of how things ‘should’ be. If it works out we feel pleased – but for how long? if it doesn’t we feel let down. Either way we are on a hiding to nothing. Allowing things to unfold – in their own time – has been revelatory for me.

  5. More and more I am feeling the illusion of overwhelm, overwhelm is a choice we go into when we don’t want to feel our own power.

  6. Came across this blog at a perfect time, after saying I am overwhelmed quite a few times today. What I realise now is that when I say I am overwhelmed it’s almost like saying a swearword, as in that one word holds so much more information and there is so much more to express if how I am really feeling. I love reading your honesty Lucy, it makes me stop and want to be honest with myself too.

    1. Excellent because from that honesty we have the potential to release ourselves from the shackles of being attached to something that has been drowning us for so long we have forgotten that we are in knee deep water and can just stand up and get out any time we want.

  7. I could write a comment on nearly every paragraph in this wonderful blog but the one thing that really jumped out for me was multi-tasking, for it reminded me that I had a ‘PhD’ in what I now see to be a very destructive pattern in my life. It took me a long time to figure out that if I was trying to do several things at once, none, or maybe very few, were ever completed well – then that of course would challenge the equally destructive pattern of perfection! It took a while to break these patterns, but oh has it been worth it, as “Lady Overwhelm” no longer – well very rarely – has the opportunity to get a foothold in my life.

    1. Yes I am not a fan of multi-tasking and can spot when I start to try to do that because I have a physiological response in my body. I have noticed the finer layers of it though when I am thinking about many different things or moments in time rather than being present in the moment.

  8. We work so hard to maintain the ‘perfect’ family etc when all along we are screaming inside because we feel no-one understands us. It is sad that, for so many, this is what their life consists of and it is no wonder that so many are not only exhausted but also depressed and anxious as they know this is not all there is to life but feel powerless to make the necessary changes until someone comes along that can reflect how it is to live with true love in every movement of the day. You had that reflection and chose to grasp it with both hands and it is lovely to read your story Lucy as it resonates so strongly with me.

  9. Inspiring to feel how deepening your relationship with yourself and being more gentle and tender has brought about a transformational change in the way you now hold and regard yourself which has established a foundational steadiness to the way you now live.

    1. It is an ever deepening process of awareness Linda, as a few years on I look back and consider that the way I lived when I wrote this blog was still so busy and a far cry from where I am now. There is clearly so much we do which takes us away from the simplicity of who we are.

  10. Thanks for sharing how you started to feel how you were living, and how exhausted you really were underneath the ways that we consider to be normal instead of seeing them for the coping and managing life strategies that they are. We can only go on for so long with living in a way that isn’t true before it catches up with us and the body makes us stop.

    1. Yes, I feel quite sad that we are supposed to be so intelligent but we wait for the body, our one body for this life, to tell us to stop so we will listen to the fact that the way we live is harming us.

  11. I have found that when I am in the fullness of the connection to myself, it is much easier and more natural to simply allow people to be what they choose to be. I feel that when we need someone to be something for us, it is reflecting a need in us and is rarely, if ever about the other person at all.

    1. When we chose to connect to ourselves then we have an inner steadiness that gives us confidence to be true to ourselves and not impose on others by trying to control them.

    2. I have realised there is so much truth in what you have shared, yet it was only when I was willing to look at myself that I saw how imposing I was. If we are not willing to see it we will simply be convinced, and quite convincing, that it is all the other person!

      1. Humbling isn’t it. But in the humbleness there is a space that opens up to deeper self-awareness and awareness of life – and that is worth a little ‘humble pie’ in my experience.

  12. Some people apparently have ‘it all’ in the common interpretation of ‘it all’. They have everything, the so-called dream life. Celebrities are perhaps a good example of this. But then how many celebrities in truth have awful personal lives, or take to self-medicating with alcohol or drugs. Perhaps they discover that ‘living the dream’ is not so dreamy after all and that there is a deep feeling of emptiness exposed in ‘having it all’. My experience has been that there is nothing that can take the place of having that true and wholesome relationship with myself. In this the need to seek fixes, self-medication, relief etc diminishes and is replaced by a sense of being full, living from that fullness everyday and offering fullness as a reflection to others. Then the old ways of living drop away, for they were simply compensations for not being in this fullness. On the surface it may appear that taking this path is giving up so much of what makes us happy in life – but in that deep connection with the true self there is joy, and the experience of joy is well worth rediscovering.

    1. That is so true Richard. There is the illusion of giving up so much and yet there is so much more connection and ease within the body to be felt. It is only from that ease we can feel what drives us to want, need and have it all and how it is actually taking us further away from that ease

  13. A great article Lucy, reminding me of how I presented to the world someone who had it all together, a smile on the face hiding the struggle and emptiness within, until one day it all fell apart, I feel apart, and reality had to enter, the loss of the real me had to change, and as honesty grew so did my sense of self develop into a loving relationship with the new true me.

  14. Love the honesty that oozes out of this blog Lucy; so refreshing and so very healing for those of us who have/have had regular visits from “Lady Overwhelm”. During this period of my life I never had a coma dream but there were many moments I wanted to gently slip into one to escape the overwhelm that had either taken hold or was looming. I know now that to have had asked for support would have been the wisest thing to do, but for some reason when you’re in overwhelm wisdom and common sense seem like a foreign language, and anyway, who wants to tell friends and family you’re actually not the superwoman they think you are.

  15. Love the simplicity you share Lucy, keeping our choices simple knowing that they are either loving or they are not and the more honest we are with ourselves the more we expand our awareness to be open to listening and honouring the truth of what we are feeling in our body.

  16. ” but it was my fault really, I hadn’t told them how bad things really were for me or what was underneath that Lucy they saw on the outside.”
    Thank you for sharing its amazing how silly we are as humans covering up the truth with lies , it makes no sense.

  17. Giving up sugar itself was pretty easy for me to give up – I simply replaced it with maple syrup or honey and then cut those out too as time went on. But I still crave sweetness and there are many sneaky ways we can eat sugar in what appear to be healthy foods, for example many vegetables like carrots, red peppers and beetroot are healthy per se, but when used as a sugar substitute and snacked on with that delicious raw crunch, energetically it could be just as bad as a gluten free muffin. As you say, Lucy, it is our thoughts that can leave us exhausted, negative self talk, dismissing our true feelings and identifying those and appreciating ourselves more is a good start to reducing the need for sweetness in our diet.

    1. As you show Carmel, everything in our lives is inter-related. So the craving for sweet stuff can simply be the fact that we are lacking sweetness in our lives, and so we fill the emptiness with sugar and other sweet foods. I have found that beginning to understand why I eat what I eat has really turned my relationship with food around and rediscovering the sweetness in my life has meant that I very rarely crave something to replace it with; and if I do, I simply ask the question, why?

    1. So often we are so ready to offer this to another not realising that unless it is offered and lived in our own bodies the quality shared to another does not equate our true potential.

  18. I feel progressively more steady and amazing since having Esoteric healing sessions, I feel so much more aware of my body and the impact my choices have on me and those around me. Thank God for Esoteric Women’s Health!

  19. Really beautiful to read this Lucy. Making the turn back to love can be rocky (putting it lightly) but it’s well worth turning back around no matter how many times I may drift off. Only to be reminded that anything less than love brings tension.

    1. I find it rocky because I need to re-trace and undo what is not love. Once that is done, life becomes much simpler and more joyful.

  20. ‘It was only when I opened up to there possibly being another way to see myself, to actually stop and feel without judging myself, that I realised I had not really been seeing myself at all, instead feeling all the overwhelm and therefore, as a result, hating myself for what I looked like.’ We can often identify ourselves by all the bad things we think we are and it feels very different when we start with appreciation, appreciating qualities that we might in the past have dismissed or overlooked.

  21. Often we can be so addicted to drama we will not let ourselves see that there is another way to be that does not come with all the bells and whistles but instead hums with a simplicity and grace we know to the bone of us and beyond. There is great virtue in returning to this expression for both ourselves and all those around us for it reflects back to all, the truth of who we are.

  22. Its funny how we can look on the outside as if we have everything though secretly dying inside, unfortunalty this is how many of us have been brought up to be, to show our “best” side and leave being real and true for another day, the sad thing is when we leave behind the real us it builds up often resulting in illness and disease.

  23. It is very pleasurable as a child to be able to groan when your parents are being open and loving and then still be able to join in that openness and lovingness.

  24. … ‘I felt that I simply had to let go of trying to control everything and everyone’ – When we try to control everything we limit the possibility for spontaneity to enter our lives and the joy that accompanies this. With control we are harming ourselves and also those we seek to sway to our way of thinking or our way of doing things.

  25. So beautiful to re-read your post Lucy. “I can say with absolute certainty that I cannot be with another more than I am with myself. That means I can’t love them more and I can’t look after them better, I have to do it for me first” And very true. I accepted my old patterns and behaviours as ‘normal’ because that’s how most people lived. I prefer my ‘new normal’ which involves more loving and taking care of me.This is then reflected out into the world.

  26. I think you nailed it when you said that how you were living was not normal, I reckon they’ll come a point where we identify in society that feeling overwhelmed, feeling tired, feeling down – none of this is normal, but because it’s become such a large part of our everyday lives and so incredibly common we’ve started to certain damaging behaviours and emotions as normal.

      1. Because we have made the ‘live life at break neck speed’ creed the new norm and in so doing we have fallen out of tune with the flow of life.

      2. I think if you accept something for long enough it does begin to become normal, and it’s only when you begin to remove it from your life you then begin to realise how damaging some of the things we accept as normal really are.

  27. ” I can say with absolute certainty that I cannot be with another more than I am with myself. ” This is lovely and just a simple truth thank you for sharing.

  28. What an amazing gift to give your husband and your children… a woman that is totally loving of herself and hence offering love with no judgement, no criticism and a lot of understanding

  29. I love the way you share Lucy, fun, playful and oh so true! I don’t know many people who are not masking exhaustion in some way and the people I know who seem truly vital all got there with support from Serge Benhayon and Universal Medicine. After many years now working on myself I am more aware of my tiredness than ever and at times it can seem as though nothing has changed but I know that if I had continued to live the way I was living seven years ago I would be in a very bad way now. Thank you for reminding me that vitality and joy are actually normal. You have reminded me to keep letting go of the things I am using to dull my awareness and mask my exhaustion, the payoff is so worth it.

  30. Control is such a big thing to let go of as we think that the opposite is ‘out of control’ when it is not that at all as control is ‘out of control’ and dropping it is acceptance and in acceptance we can breathe easy.

      1. I agree Amparo, and ‘surrender’ is such a beautiful word for even as I say this word I can feel my whole body relax and let go of any control that has a hold on me.

  31. Letting go of control and giving others space has been a big one for me but thankfully it is now becoming my normal. When I do find myself wanting to go into the control I sense it and let it go. I take myself away from the situation as this helps me because I can feel how unsupportive and unloving this way of being actually is.

  32. It is in the overwhelm that we lose the connection to the simplicity of our movements and become stagnant and tense. It is from this simplicity we find the joy, playfulness and presence for life that makes our connections so much fun and loving all rolled into one. Just as you have so beautifully expressed above Lucy.

  33. Overwhelm is one that can definitely try and take control and when we let it boy oh boy does it run. I can instantly feel it in my shoulders and back. I love how this is so obvious now but not that longer in retro spec I had no idea.

  34. This is so beautiful and playful and I love the dancing in the kitchen how beautiful for your kids. And what a great learning ” I know now with every cell in my body that control hurts ” and remember everyone under the influence of the control is been hurt also, thank you so much for sharing.

  35. “Here was a young woman and she was sharing experiences of her connection within herself and how she celebrates herself as a woman. This was an extraordinary leap. ‘Celebrate myself?'” I had to laugh at this Lucy …celebrate myself….it was unheard of in my vocabulary, and what did it really mean. Like you it has been baby steps not really sure what it was going to look like. Being gentle and tender and not criticising myself so much was the first step, and it took quite a while to allow myself to do this, getting things done and being efficient was my motto. Letting go of the drive was an important step and this allowed me to feel how harsh my body really was and that I really had to change how I did things.

  36. We can do an enormous amount as you, Lucy, are showing us and we can do it many different ways, even very harmoniously.

  37. It is amazing the effort we expend trying to keep our carefully cultivated mask in place and little wonder that ‘Lady Overwhelm’ is such a constant companion. Thank you for sharing the changes you made that allowed you to drop your mask and say goodbye to the ever lurking overwhelm.

    1. The absolute freedom and ease that I feel at having dropped all of my masks is incredible. I no longer have to spend time polishing and maintaining my masks, I have a One Real Me policy that suits all people and all occasions and it’s an absolute joy to present the real Me to the world all of the time.

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