When It All Becomes Overwhelming and You Start to Shut Down

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Sometimes I’m scared of my body.  I’m not always sure what pains I will wake up to or what thoughts will wander into my head or even what colors will come out of my nose.  This past year, I’ve become more in tune with this while living in the Mojave desert.  Lake Havasu City is a very different climate compared to back east – coming in at about 10-18% humidity according to my hermit crabs’ barometer.  This has left me at times dehydrated, congested, raspy, and/or wiped out.  Nonetheless, it has helped me become very aware of any changes internally and how the environment affects me.

This is something I’m glad I’m beginning to realize now.  It’s important knowing who you are and how you react under the most trying experiences because life is constantly providing moments that… keeps us on our toes.

This last week I had a student hit on me during his occupational therapy session.  Initially, I realized that my schooling had not prepared me for this by any means. Instead of giving a lesson on social appropriateness, I quickly stated he could shake my hand.  Next  thing I knew, he was out the door and shouting that he “can’t wait for OT next week.”

Now that I have that initial experience, the following session I will be much more prepared to handle whatever is said during the next session. If needed, I can put together a social story to help further explain the scenario for this student.

Life does that – it prepares us.  But there are some times when it all becomes overwhelming and you start to shut down, whether it’s our lack of creativity in tackling a new project, approaching a difficult situation, confronting a co-worker or just being up to your knees in tissues.

The concept of system restore initially reminds me of Super Mario Brothers.  Mario jumps, hits a box, and a mushroom comes flying out.  After a few electronic noises, he is transformed to a bigger, badder, flying-turtle-crushing machine.  He is not different in the sense of his abilities but has a little added confidence; if he gets hit or attacked, it’s not a big deal – he’ll just get smaller but won’t die.

Restoring an entire system can be a lot to tackle at once.  Sometimes people look at doing this by doing a cleanse or uprooting themselves and looking for that geographical cure.  I have definitely gone drastic measures to find that sense of balance.  Fortunately, like that little Italian nugget, I often don’t need to be transformed but instead just require that extra boost to make it through the grey. And how seasonally appropriate.  It’s that sense of spring that makes the idea of “System Restore” so enticing – growth, renewal, spring cleaning.

Restoring my system this past month has been a challenge.  There’s a feeling that the school year is almost over and suddenly an added push to just get everything done.  I have tackled a lot of paperwork but am left feeling worn out and drained.  A big part of me knows that I need to tackle things not only at work but attack the clutter at the condo.  I know how much environmental things effect me.  Life is preparing me mentally for my move but now it’s time to finally start putting it into action.