By Steve B. Reed, L.P.C., L.M.F.T.
compares her experience of being overwhelmed to drowning.
She says "I feel like I'm in over my head. I've lost
control. I can't stop how bad I'm feel. Nothing I do
helps. My chest and stomach are so tight, I can't breathe.
I just want it all to stop!"
Types of Overwhelm
Jenny's overwhelm was cumulative. It started
with a move to Dallas were she didn't know anyone. The
opportunity for a higher paying job sounded great at
first, but she didn't plan on this much stress; an
overbearing boss, more to do than time allows and no
friends to support her. Nor did she plan on her car
breaking down, her husband having an affair or her mothers
critical illness. With her resources diminishing and her
stress level rising, it was becoming difficult just to
overwhelm was different. It was sudden. Late
one night on the way from her parking lot to her apartment
she was followed. Before she knew what had happened, a
stranger was in her apartment. He had a knife and for the
longest four hours of her life, he raped her, hit her and
threatened to kill her. When he disappeared back into the
night, she was left with an overwhelming fear that haunted
Signs of Overwhelm
There are many signs and symptoms of being overwhelmed.
Some of the more common ones include:
· feeling dis-empowered
· difficult events seeming too big
· problems seeming too close
· self-esteem dropping
· negative thoughts dominating
· feeling gripped by fear and worry
· losing contact with inner strengths
· the inability to think your way out
· beginning to feel depressed
Steps That May Help
1. Create a step-by-step plan to get back in control of
2. Deal with one small piece of the problem at a time.
3. Take the first step no matter how small. Any victory
can help rebuild your confidence.
4. Exercise will increase adrenaline and endorphins the
body's natural antidepressants.
5. Laughter has a positive effect on brain chemistry.
Watch humorous videos.
6. Surround yourself with positive and resourceful people.
Ask for help.
7. Listen to relaxation and self-esteem tapes.
8. Remember your past successes or times you overcame big
9. Get adequate sleep. Sleep deprivation has a negative
effect on your emotional state.
10. Seek Professional Treatment.
New Types of Treatment
Research at Florida State University has identified four
treatments that significantly reduce intense levels of
emotional suffering. In this study people who had
experienced overwhelming traumas were asked to rank how
disturbing their particular problem was on a 0 to 10
scale. 0 represented no disturbance at all and 10 meant it
was as overwhelming as they could imagine. All
participants averaged a moderately painful score of
between 5.5 and 7.15 on this disturbance scale. Treatment
teams then worked with them to test how effective the new
therapies would be in lowering their disturbance level.
The results were as follows:
Reduction in Distress Level
Whether your experience with overwhelm is
cumulative or sudden, the sooner you start to recognize the
signs and take action the better. When people go into overwhelm
the mind can go into shock. The steps you take can help you
recover and help you to process through a difficult time in your
life. If what you do on your own is not enough, then the four
new therapies studied at Florida State University offer the
fastest and most effective methods yet to get you over the
Municipal Drive, Suite 230, Richardson, TX 75080
Steve Reed is available for
an office appointment for your counseling and
psychotherapy needs in the Dallas, Fort Worth, DFW
metroplex, including Addison, Allen, Arlington, Bedford,
Carrollton, Colleyville, Denton, Euless, Flower Mound,
Frisco, Garland, Grand Prairie, Grapevine, Highland Park,
Hurst, Irving, Keller, Lake Highlands, Lewisville,
McKinney, Mesquite, Plano, Richardson, Rockwall, Rowlett,
and University Park. He also offers phone appointments from
anywhere in the world. Steve is a
creator of self
for the public, and
professional training classes on new
such as REMAP,
Emotional Freedom Technique,
Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing, TFT Thought Field Therapy,