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When you feel absolutely overwhelmed, read this.

When you feel absolutely overwhelmed, read this. | Annie Wright, LMFT | www.anniewright.com

Today’s essay is another in what’s become a multi-year series of pep talk posts.

Essays, letters, words of comfort from me to you meant to help you get through hard times and internalize the voice of a good-enough mother, father, and, at times, the grandparent you’re missing so much or never had.

Why do I write these essays and pep talks when they’re so different from my normal psychoeducation essays and articles?

Because life – for everyone – can feel incredibly hard and overwhelming and heavy at times.

And life – when you come from a relational trauma background where you possibly don’t have the buffering impacts of a consistent, constant, loving, devoted, and competent family of origin members – can, at times, feel like moving through the world without a skin.

When you feel absolutely overwhelmed, read this. | Annie Wright, LMFT | www.anniewright.com

When you feel absolutely overwhelmed, read this.

Raw and exposed, more prone to the pain and stings, lacking a barrier between you and hardship that some others seem to have and take for granted.

These posts are meant for anyone and everyone who is feeling overwhelmed right now, of course. 

But these posts are especially meant for those who can’t pick up the phone and call their mother or father for advice. 

For comfort. For reassurance. For guidance. For critical logistical support.

These essays are my gift to those of you who feel proverbially (and actually) orphaned and alone in this world, hungry for solace from parenting sources who can’t give it to you.

Please, read these words, and imagine a loving, devoted, fiercely protective parent is speaking them to you.

Soak the words in and come back to this post. 

Re-read it again and again until you can internalize some of and all of what is said as you work at becoming your own good-enough inner mother and father, moving through this sometimes very overwhelming world. 

And please know that I’m right there with you and I care about you so much. 

We may not know each other, but I know what it is to feel absolutely overwhelmed and hungry for comfort – just like you.  


You have been going through a really, really tough time, haven’t you?

It’s been one thing after another for you — truly one hard thing after another for the last few months. 

Any one of those things that you’ve faced would have felt like a lot – too much, really – for most people.

And yet you’ve had to deal with many, many hard things for a long time now.

You’re holding all of this. 

You are carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders. 

And I know this has all taken a toll on you – I see it. 

I hear it in your voice – you sound sad, and you sound tired.

I see it on your face – your smile doesn’t come as often these days. I see it in your eyes. They look far away and distant.

I can sense it in your heart. You feel heavy and burdened. You don’t feel light and hopeful. 

You feel worn down, weary, tired, and I know you’re probably questioning “Why me? And when do I get a break?”

Oh honey, I know you’re tired. 

And this feels like it’s too much because it is too much. 

It’s too much for any one person to have to deal with.

Honey, I really wish I could wave a magic wand and change this for you. 

I wish I could take away your struggles and your pain right now.

I don’t understand why so many hard things are happening to you all at once right now but I really hate that it’s happening to you.

You’re my child and I don’t want you to feel this much pain!

But I also know that life is life and life is hard sometimes. 

Life means pain sometimes.

So while I can’t take it away, while I don’t have that magic wand, while I can’t protect you from all of the pain of life, I want to be here in it with you.

I want you to know that you’re not alone. 

I want you to feel me in the darkness with you.

I want to be with you every step of the way through these hard times. 

When you have that hard conversation.

When you get those biopsy results.

When you hear back from your lawyer.

When you meet with your divorce mediator.

When you have to hold space for your team and customers when you feel like you don’t have a shred or scrap of empathy left to give.

When you have to regulate your own emotions to show up for the other people in your life having a hard time.

When you’ve spent all night at the hospital, not sleeping, at your child’s bedside.

When you have to work a nine-hour day after four hours of sleep because you’re the primary breadwinner and you have no choice.

When you’re the only one who can get up just as you’re falling asleep to double-check that the locks are locked again. 

When you have to run the numbers, again and again, figuring out a way to make tuition and the mortgage and those extra field trip expenses possible this month.

When you feel acutely lonely in your marriage but see no way out.

When you feel deprioritized by the friends in your life.

When you feel like you can’t swing your legs out of bed and be an adult for one more day.

I want to be with you every step of the way through all of these hard things.

I may not be able to have that hard conversation for you, but I will be here to let you talk through it with me before and after.

I can’t control the outcome of your biopsy results, but no matter what they are, I’ll be with you every step of the way to deal with whatever comes.

I can’t control what your lawyer will tell you about what happens next, but I’ll be waiting by my phone if you want or need to cry after you hear back. 

I don’t know what your ex will say or do in mediation, but you will always, always have a home with me as long as I’m alive – you don’t have to worry about where you and the kids will go.

Honey. I love you so much and I see how much you’re struggling. 

I can’t take away all of life’s pain, but I can be with you through it all, showing up however and whenever I can to help you feel less lonely, less scared.

I am so, so proud of you and the person that you’ve become. 

You are a remarkable person – full of grit and grace and resilience. 

When I held you as a baby, I never dreamed of the person you would become. 

You eclipsed my wildest dreams because of who you have become.

And I don’t mean about your career or the other accomplishments you’ve logged.

I’m talking about your character, your soul.

You’re a remarkable person who does so much good in this world, who tries her best to be a good citizen, to give back, to be responsible.

I see how you open the doors for others, and how you help older people reach the cans on the top shelves at the grocery store. 

I see how you make eye contact with the homeless people on the street, not ignoring them but honoring their humanity by making eye contact.

You pay your taxes, you bring food to sick and injured friends, you recycle and care about your carbon emissions, you donate to charities and work to become actively anti-racist.

You do your best to be a good person in this world and I am so, so proud of you.

And I know that it probably doesn’t feel fair that – after trying to be such a good person – you still have all these hard and bad things happening to you.

I don’t know why they’re happening to you, honey. 

They’re not your fault, you didn’t do anything wrong. 

This isn’t karma or justice for past mistakes honey. The world doesn’t work like that.

Sometimes terrible, hard things happen to really good people. People who – just like you – try to do everything right.

I truly wish that wasn’t the case. For anyone but especially for you.

But even though I wish these things weren’t happening to you, here’s what I do know: you will get through this.

You will get through this.

You will get through this with the grace and grit that I’ve seen in you since you were young.

You may not be able to see a way through these hard times right now and that’s okay – you don’t have to.

Let me hold that faith and hope for you. 

You can’t see a light at the end of the tunnel, but I know it’s there.

I know these hard times will end – I don’t know when and I don’t know how – but I do know they will end.

And I know – deep in my bones – that you will come through to the other side of these times stronger, more resilient, and wiser than you were before.

You have gone through hard times before and I’ve seen how you’ve grown each time you moved through them.

I remember, too, how in those other hard times, you thought that the hard times would never end. I remember you telling me that.

Telling me that you couldn’t see a way out and how worried you were that you’d never be happy and at ease again.

But those times ended and you were happy and at ease eventually again. 

I remember.

And I trust that that will be true again for you when these hard times pass.

But of course, you feel overwhelmed and worn down right now, honey. 

Anyone going through what you’re going through would!

It’s totally normal and natural to feel what you’re feeling. 

You get to feel defeated. 

You get to feel worn down. 

You get to want to give up. 

You get to hate being an adult. 

You get to feel all of your feelings! 

So take a day, a weekend, a week, take whatever time you need to feel really, truly sorry for yourself. 

Let yourself feel how unfair and overwhelming it is! 

You won’t drown in those feelings. 

I imagine you’ll actually feel better if you allow yourself to feel what you’re really feeling.

Feeling your feelings won’t stop you from doing what needs to be done. 

It will help you get done what needs to be done.

I know you – you’re a survivor, honey. 

You’re resilient. You’re tough. You’re resourceful. 

I know you’ll keep putting one foot in front of the other because that’s who you are and that’s what you do.

And I’ll be with you every step of the way as you walk through this overwhelm, through this personal hell you’re dealing with now.

As long as there is breath in my body, I’ll never leave you and you’ll never be alone.

I can’t take away all of life’s hard times for you, honey. 

But I can be with you through them.

I love you so much. I’m right here, in this with you. I love you.

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