A woman who lives with the stress of an overwhelmed schedule will often ache with the sadness of an underwhelmed soul.
I’ve been seeing a lot more emotional flooding in my counseling private practice in Flower Mound, Texas lately. The global pandemic is playing a big part of this, especially when it comes to the upcoming school year starting soon. As I specialize in working with moms, you can imagine the amount of stress showing up for moms today around school, from daycare and preschool, through elementary, middle and high school, as well as college and beyond.
So, what is emotional flooding? I often describe it to my clients as many different emotions hitting you all at the same time.
Emotional flooding can show up in your life in many different forms:
- Feeling emotionally numb- when all the feelings show up, you shut down emotionally with out time and space to process it all.
- Panic- you may feel like a deer caught in headlights, not sure what to do next.
- Overwhelm- not feeling like you can function well; you’re just going through the motions to get through the day.
- Disconnect from others- not being able to connect on a deeper level with those around you.
- Fear- that you won’t be able to break this cycle and you’ll feel emotionally flooded forever.
- Emotional reactivity- concern that you won’t be able to control your emotions when triggered and that they may show up as incessant crying or rage towards others.
When are you more likely to experience emotional flooding in your own life?
- After a major life change such as a job loss or move.
- After a loss such as the loss of a loved one, a miscarriage, a relationship breakup, etc.
- When many life stressors show up at the same time such as a global pandemic + an illness + back to school.
- When you receive unexpected news such as a parent getting sick.
- When issues from your past are triggered by something going on in the present.
- When past traumas resurface in your life- this may signal to you that it’s time to return to therapy.
- Dealing with an ongoing stressful situation with no end in sight (global pandemic, anyone?).
- Arguing with love ones- arguments can leave you feeling emotionally raw, especially if you weren’t arguing in a healthy way.
Here are some ways to help you better cope with emotional flooding when its shows up in your life:
- Make time and space to process how you’re feeling- journaling can be helpful here.
- Feel your feelings- allow yourself to go to these hard places, even if it’s overwhelming for you at first.
- Try to figure out the specific feelings that are showing up together and name them.
- Talk to a therapist- this can help you delve deeper into why the emotional flooding is happening in your life.
- Create time and space for a daily self-care routine such as meditation, exercise, mindfulness, etc.
- Try to figure out if the emotional flooding is a situational or ongoing issue in your life.
- Educate yourself on emotional flooding- read, listen to podcasts, find videos on this topic, etc.
Emotional flooding seems to be more common recently given the pandemic related stressors showing up in all of our lives. Some of these stressors may be in the forefront of your mind, while others may be playing out in the background. It’s important to acknowledge and be aware of these added stressors in your life. The hope is, if you can catch them early, you can take care of yourself so you don’t get to the point of emotional flooding.