So I’ve been seriously dreading starting these posts. But it seems like now is as good of a time as ever. Remember how I kicked off the new year with a list of monthly themes? Well, I knew I would be uncomfortable with February. 
Honestly, I definitely considered changing the theme. But… what else fits for February? Pretty much everything is pink, sugary, and l o v e. Plus, I reasoned with myself, it was a short month. So the torture wouldn’t last too long. But now we’re a week into the month and I’m still dreading it.
So I’m copping out… for now. I’ll focus this post on a particular issue that I have. I don’t think I’m the only one who struggles with these issues. Admittedly, I recognize that this is absolutely something I need to work on. The way it makes me feel makes me not like myself so much. There. I said it.
Ready for it?
Each of us probably have similar roots, but it may manifest in different ways. For me, I overwork. You may overeat, or undereat, or work out too much, or sleep too much…. or whatever.
When life gets super super super overwhelming for me, I dive into my work. I’m talking jumping from the highest diving board head first into the pool of work. It’s exhilarating. I get the biggest rush from that dive. It certainly distracts me from whatever issues I’m facing and I feel like I’m accomplishing a lot.
And I do accomplish a lot. I get through hundreds of emails, queue posts, write freelance articles, tackle my to-do lists, send follow ups, make phone calls, meet with clients. I accomplish so much, including driving myself into the deepest depths of exhaustion. In fact, I would say I accomplish everything… with the exception of dealing with what I actually need to deal with.
Work becomes my escape. And not necessarily in the healthiest of ways. I can work seriously almost around the clock without stopping. And I might completely skip meals and overdose on cups of coffee. (I tend to stop counting after three.)
Instead of dealing with what I need to deal with, I ignore it and focus on everything but that. Eventually, it catches up to me. I can only fend off the anxiety from open wounds left unhealed for so long. It gets ugly.
I’m a bottler. I let issues with friends go undiscussed… for a while. I ignore red flags… until it’s too late. I keep secrets for too long… and then can’t take it. I let my stress quietly break down my body… and then I crash.
Zero to sixty? More like sixty straight into a brick wall. Head on. Crash.
I’ve been like this for as long as I can remember. (I mean, I legitimately remember meltdowns in kindergarten, breakdowns in sixth grade, and just feeling down in 11th.) It’s been a pretty bad cycle.
Do you have these feelings too? (With that overeating, undereating, overexercising, too-much-sleeping whatever.)
I think we all need to just STOP. I know, easier said than done. But I mean, stop the bad tapes. Stop pressuring ourselves. Stop comparing. Stop ignoring. Stop overanalyzing. Stop hurting.
Just STOP.
And breathe. And be. And trust.

And deal. We need to face whatever we need to face. And conquer.
Because we know we will conquer.

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I honestly think I'm going to print this post out. It's exactly how I've been feeling for a while now – like the more I do, the further away I'll get from what I actually NEED to do. Thanks for putting into words and posting what I couldn't iterate for myself.



Thank you so much for your honesty with this post. I truly did hit home. I think I'm going to pin that image on the bulletin board above my desk as a reminder to refocus on the truly important things when I let the little distractions get in my way too often.


I used to be like that for years, I can totally relate right up to the meltdowns in kindergarten! I changed two years ago when my dad was in a major accident where he almost died three times, and he continues to be effectively terminally ill. Dealing with a big trauma like that forces you to face your whole self, and becoming responsible as the head of my family for a few months meant that I really had to learn to communicate with my friends and family. You start to see how your family is built and why you respond the way you do, in your case (and mine!) with bottling feelings.

Stopping like you mentioned is a great idea, but make sure that you're treating the disease and not just the symptoms! Also, don't be too hard on yourself! You're a really strong girl, and I am so impressed that you talk about your feelings like this. Thanks for being honest and encouraging us to improve our whole selves 🙂

Kelsey Odorczyk

love this. when i get stressed i cry, and dont sleep, and eat wayyy too much. and i let it go until i cant. its a problem for most, so i would never feel alone 🙂

Kelly Torrez

wow, its as if you have completely read my mind. I have had issues dealing with stress and have always found work and exercise to be my escape. But, as with any stress "filler" comes an inevitable breaking point. Thank you for sharing such an honest post.

//Birdie Shoots//


Meltdowns? Breakdowns? Life-stopping crises? I remember the 5th grade science project, 6th grade science project, 7th grade science project……… sophomore chemistry final, senior anatomy final… just talking about them gets me stressed and upset. I get it, and I do the same. We all have our weaknesses, and it's good to work on them!


I already was a little bit suprised that I saw a lot of your messages coming by during moments I was awake (I live in the Netherlands).

Be sweet to yourself!

The Yuppie Files

I do the exact opposite when I feel overwhelmed- I completely halt. When there's just so much to do or if I'm upset about something, I just kind of crawl inwards, freak out, & don't actually do anything. Neither way is healthy but at least you get something done!

I think dealing with life is just a constant work in progress, but knowing what your bad habits are is a good step in working on it!

Jessica Randall

Thanks for posting this Carly. I think you hit the nail on the head, everyone copes with stress differently. I know last year I exercised way too much because I didn't want to do work for classes I had no interest in. I thought I was doing good because hey, I was doing it for my health. But I was solving the wrong problem.

I especially found it happening on a small scale with a concept in homework. I'd study, but I'd avoid the hardest concepts. Inevitably they were always on the tests but I thought if I studied the rest hard enough, it would make up for it. Never did. I've learned from that and I love that you're honestly making work/life balance a priority and tackling your issue head on.


It's so nice to know I'm not the only one! I'm particularly guilty of doing this when I feel like I'm not in control of something (my income, my career, my marriage) – escape by overwork. My husband and I actually had to schedule a date with ourselves in order to get me to stop working for long enough to look at him – and I still tried to cancel it on him. Breath and trust are definitely the two most important things to keep in your life!


I can definitely relate to this post Carly. Thanks for sharing. Must remember to take deep breaths and take things day by day when I get overwhelmed!


All of this is something I've been dealing with lately too. Is there something in the air?! Haha. All of a sudden this topic seems to be everywhere…. and yet I am no closer to figuring out the answers.


You couldn't have said it better about holding in feelings. It just about kills me but I just bottle everything up and never let anyone know that there is something upsetting me. To the point where I just want to explode but I know that is no way to deal with an issue. I need to show the people I love that I care about them and tell them with love what upsets me.

I can totally understand the overworking part. I wish we had nap hours where they do in other countries, where all businesses and office close for a few hours everyday and everyone gets to relax. No matter what is going on. Sounds nice!


wow- what an amazing post. i have been feeling similar to this lately in medical school. i am trying to regain my moment of peace each day and be more happy and present. although this time is difficult, it is still time of my life and i want to be able to enjoy them and not have any regrets. thank you for sharing.

Savannah Baron

I've been feeling exactly the same way lately. I've been extremely anxious about starting college in the next couple of months that I need to throw myself into something to try to forget about it. I've been doing things like scheduling future blog posts, updating my Linked In profile, starting to read an English book WAY earlier than I need to… I'm not even being that productive, I just need to keep myself busy! Sitting and thinking for too long makes me way too anxious. I'm ever so thankful for the reminder to just take some time to myself and breathe.


Have you ever gone on
I've never used it and don't feel I need to right now but I hear it's great!

Bridget Bechtel

So true, I feel like the winter is such a time when people overwork themselves. It lacks vacations and fun time outdoors that you get with the summer! When life gets too busy, I gets less focused, I spend less time on more things and never really give my best effort on ANYTHING!
I can never finish a task, I just do a little bit on each item on my long list. When I get a little stressed, I over-eat but then I get pushed over a threshold and I get too stressed on can't eat anything. So weird, but definitely the pattern. It all usually comes out in tears. I'm definitely not a crier, but eventually it gets to a point where I am so overwhelmed it is the only way I can get it all out, start fresh and push forward. Life is 10% what happens to you and 90% about how you deal with it and sometimes I just need a good cry to deal.

Deonnah Davis

This post couldn't have come at a better time. This past year (mostly all of 2012) and now has been the roughest time of my life. I have taken an entire year of from college and I feel left and like a bum. I'm over eating and sleeping too much! I wish I had the drive to do the tenth of the work that you get down. I plan on being back at the university of Alabama in the fall but I'm just not putting out what I need. I think it's fear of rejection, failing, and everything else negative. I definitely need to conquer what's in front of me and do not avoid. I applaud you of sharing such a deep and personal thought. Good luck in everything you do. XOXO

Lauren Sherritt

It's sometimes so hard to own up to your own patterns, even when they're staring you straight in the face! Well done for being brave enough to write up this post. As someone who took a good hard look at herself this year and really did do some serious 'stopping', it's so far pretty nice on the other side!

Claire Peucker

Thank you so much for posting this, it was so incredibly brave of you to share your feelings with us. I also have a lot of issues dealing with confrontation or problems and often feel down about myself but instead of over working I tend to shut down and want to be alone. And I also over eat…..a lot. I wish I knew where to start when dealing with these things, but I do love your words and will try to remember them in the future 🙂

Alyssa Jean

I can totally and completely relate to this entire post. I feel the SAME way lately! It's all GO-GO-GO and then BOOM. Crash. And it goes again. I undereat, I don't eat, I forget to eat. It's was once actually to a point where I deliberately starved myself because I needed to control something. But I've gotten help for that thankfully! 🙂

Thank you for sharing this post – it was really personal but also completely beautiful because of how REAL it was.

xoxo Alyssa Jean

Julia D.

I completely feel the same way. I've tried to be more conscious about mentally stopping, because I'm not a huge fan of physically stopping, in the form of yoga, pilates, reading, etc., when it gets to that point and it seems to help.