overwhelm (verb): to defeat someone or something by using a lot of force.

8 Oct


I don’t usually write personal stuff in this blog, but I think I want to right now.

I read in this zine called subversive submissive, which I picked up at the Baltimore Rad Bookfair Zine Bazaar, about the psychological concept of “overwhelm” from Peter Breggin’s book Toxic Psychiatry. The zine is about BDSM but the section on self-injury and mental health was the most interesting for me. The zine’s author described overwhelm for her as “an intense anxiety marked by racing thoughts, uncontrollable crying, and an inability to speak coherently; [or] an intense depression in which [she freezes] up and become unable to move or speak at all, sometimes even unable to form complete thoughts.” This really is resonating with me right now, but I haven’t been able to find much online since the book isn’t really on google books. I always make fun of Brosef for diagnosing himself off the internet, but I think if I’m anything it’s fucking OVERWHELMED. Like the zine’s author, I used to cut myself, and “I learned that the pain could help me cope with both anxiety and depression…could provide a point of focus when my thoughts were racing or wake me up when I was unable to feel anything” (16). I think that a lot of anti-cutting stuff is total bullshit, and I think that people are so opposed to self-injury because it freaks them out, not out of a desire to address or distinguish between the nuanced reasons why individuals self-injure. But I digress. I don’t have any desire to cut myself anymore, and I’ve been trying to redirect that need for a focus point into activities like running, but it isn’t really working. I feel scattered. I need something to focus on. I keep forgetting to breathe.

❤ j bee.


5 Responses to “overwhelm (verb): to defeat someone or something by using a lot of force.”

  1. Bailey October 8, 2009 at 12:00 pm #

    You’ve influenced me to write a personal comment about running. At least for me running is a way to mimic self injury or at least the sensations. I often know run until I feel like my heart and head are going to explode which culminates in a weird mix of streaming intellectual thoughts meshing with pure emotion. I don’t think running is easy…I go through phases of running every day for 3 weeks then skipping a week (which usually consists of major depression) and then starting again and working through the pain. I think if you like running, you just have to work through the on and off times. I wish I could figure out how to nix the off times…I guess that’s called discipline.

  2. D.C. Findlay November 6, 2009 at 10:48 pm #

    Perhaps some more effective focal point redirection activities are right there in the originating zine?

    • sassyfrasscircus November 6, 2009 at 11:30 pm #

      you certainly have a point there. also your photography is beautiful!

      • D.C. Findlay November 6, 2009 at 11:33 pm #

        Thanks so much! Glad you like.
        Most of the credit there is due to the beautiful people I get to work with. 🙂

      • D.C. Findlay November 6, 2009 at 11:52 pm #

        I’ve faced plenty of overwhelmedness myself. The strategies that have worked didn’t always feel intentional at the time, but often they centered on physical intensity and a single, simple task.

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