The names here may or may not reflect the person’s real name. If someone wants to remain unknown, we will choose a different name for that person’s story. The goal is to help people, and anonymity is a valid personal choice for contributors. I will use a person’s name only if they give permission to do so.
This week I am pleased to share another of my own stories.
Here is Trust Your Gut: Tish’s Story; Part 32
There is an elephant in the room. For once, there is something bigger than me sitting in here. On my shoulders, actually. You can’t see it, but I know it is there. I call it, “The Overwhelm Elephant.” It is something that is referred to in terms of this big dark thing that just weighs you down and won’t let you accomplish things. I have good days and bad days. Let’s start with the bad ones.
There are days when nothing goes right. I work, I fight I push and I don’t get anywhere. Those days are not the days I am referring to. The Overwhelm Elephant, as I am going to call it, stops all of it. Even when I am capable of doing things, I just don’t. I sit and I stew and I waste time and I get nothing accomplished. The weight on my shoulders is not where it stops.
It puts pressure on my mind. I used to get pinpoint headaches. Just a little stabby pain for a minute or less, and then it would be gone. I now think maybe it was the elephant tusk poking at me. The beginnings of what I feel at its worst. The pinpoint headaches are not common anymore. I have different headaches now.
Migraines are not fun. I get auras, sometimes that is all that happens. Those are called painless migraines. When the tension and pressure climb up my shoulders to my neck and scalp, then I feel the start of a tension headache. Sometimes it feels like spiders are running on spiderwebs all over my scalp. Tingly, not necessarily painful. Other times the elephant needs to hang on because it is going to be a rough one. Those headaches are when the elephant’s trunk is tightening on the circumference of my scalp. Those can last for days. When there is a throbbing pain involved, that is the worst kind of migraine. Mine are atypical, and sometimes not as frequent as they used to be, which is a blessing.
The days when there is no reason at all to not be productive at all can be the worst. It is a head game, with The Overwhelm Elephant. She is reminding me of every little thing I have to do to be perfect at my health, my housekeeping, my job, and my life. She doesn’t forget because she has the memory of an elephant. It is hard to shake that feeling when it sets in. I have written about it before, but not in reference to an elephant. For me, it seems to be fitting.
Now for the good days. I have days when I accomplish things. I work hard, and I see results. These are the kinds of days I wish I could have every day. When I am prep cooking for my health, exercising to relieve stress, writing to pursue my passion, and getting things done while crossing them off my list. I am a list driven person, and I need to cross things off the list to feel like I am making progress. There are days I get a lot done, and there are days when I can’t even bring myself to write out the list. When things seem like they are too big or too many to get finished, it sometimes stops me in my tracks. On the good days, though, I can shout it from the rooftops, and I want everyone to know what I feel like on a good day.
When I was imagining The Overwhelm Elephant, I went searching for a picture of an elephant to put at the end of my story. Imagine my surprise when I found one that reminded me of a distant childhood memory, of a road trip with my family. We were visiting friends of the family, and they took me to an event without my sisters, one thing I got to do as the older sister that I still have a keepsake from. They made me a ceramic piggy bank to take home, and it has a broken ear, now, but I still keep it with me. It is sitting, not standing, and it has my name in amongst the polka dots. Yes, it is a polka dot elephant piggy bank. And it looks a lot like this:
I have had to embrace my emotions and feelings on my journey to becoming a healthier version of myself. When I start feeling The Overwhelm Elephant taking over next time, I am going to go and pick up my polka dot piggy bank elephant and smile. Because it will be smiling right back at me.
Trust Your Gut.