Why Am I So Invested in Overwhelm?

street time lapse photography

I don’t even recognize the person I used to be, but this is why it’s called growth right?

I used to wear overwhelm like a badge of honor. I thought a state of constant busyness was a sport and I was highly competitive. I used to brag about getting no sleep because I was always in hustle mode.

Decades later, the only thing I have to show for that diagnosed anxiety and an addiction to sleeping aids.

My 20s were marked with the stench of toxic hustle culture. I would shame others who weren’t on *my level* even when I knew my lifestyle was both dangerous and unsustainable. I will never forget the time I woke up at 11am and couldn’t move my body for 30 minutes.

Or the times my coworkers covered for me at my day job because I was so exhausted, I wouldn’t hear the alarm to wake me up in the morning.

I can recount many memories that I am not proud of and how so much of it, while far away from who I am now, those moments gave me the insight I use now to do better with the gifts I call my expertise.

Because I know what it felt like to sacrifice my wellness, I am well informed to support others break free from those cycles.

Because I know how easily it is to self-exploit one’s physical body, I am adamant about amplifying the message of self-preservation.

Because I gave up so many of my formative years trying to become a person I never would be, I am a devout advocate for embracing your unapologetic and imperfect self.

I’ve been off the social grid for a few months and during that emotional detox, I confronted my own values system to identify the anchor for why I hold certain beliefs.

At the core of me is an unwavering passion for self-determination and with identity being a hot topic now, I understand why I had to hit an all-inclusive rock bottom with my consciousness.

I chose to be overwhelmed because it was an identity I felt comfortable assuming.

Being overwhelmed helped me hide behind entrepreneurship.

Being overwhelmed helped me avoid accountability for the choices that caused the overwhelm.

I was always *busy* so I didn’t have time for a social life, friends, dating, therapy, self-reflection, freezing my eggs, getting a *real* job, improving my financial life, traveling…or basically living.

The pandemic felt like I could finally feel justified in taking a break. I didn’t shame myself for embracing downtime. People around me were struggling to find things to do while I happily took daytime naps.

It was a collective pace that felt peaceful and it was so unfortunate that it had to happen that way.

I am still overwhelmed and I have to be extra diligent about catching myself when it happens. I will still sleep with my laptop in bed on some nights.

Old habits die hard, right?!

But at least now I have the self-awareness to either do better or finally embrace the identity that I fought so hard to shed.