If You Are Feeling Extra Anxiety, Extra Sorrow, Extra Overwhelm, You Are Not Alone

If you are feeling extra anxiety, extra sorrow, extra overwhelm, you are not alone. Come join us in our blog-cave and feel all the compassion that is here for you. Notice the sweet humans all around you who are also so aware, so sensitive, and so darned smart. Breathe the love and understanding into your soft, gentle heart. Let it soothe you. Rest in the love. Welcome to our blog-cave.

~ Read this story.

Things to do while in the cave. (in no particular order)

~ Listen to this song: Lead with your Heart –Canadian Tenors

~ Curl up with a blanket, a good book, a journal, and your dog Max.

~ Read this post on anxiety for specific strategies: 16 Ways to Manage Anxiety in a High Stress World.

~ Trust that you know who you are even if you think you don’t. Tune into your intuition through meditation, writing, running, or taking a shower! Kindle that intuitive spark and ask it what you need to know today.

~ Meet with yourself and have a party. Invite your anxiety to tea. Let it tell you what it needs. I’ll bring the cupcakes.

~ Allow the grief to pour through you. “…Without attending to and grieving what there is to grieve, we will not be able to access joy and love as birthrights and fuels for living forward.” Krista Tippett She also said: “…amplify what is good and beautiful, without denying what is not…” in a fascinating interview with Baratunde Thurston.

~ If you are looking for some specific steps to take in your quest to change the world, read this post. No Better Time to Share Your Complicated Colorful Self with the World and Change the World by Galvanizing Your Giftedness.

~ When you just need to cry, I will join you here: When Crying is the Right Answer: High Sensitivity, Despair, Overwhelm, and Strawberry Rhubarb Pie.

~ Contemplate the words of Rumi: “You are not a drop in the ocean; you are the entire ocean in a drop.”

You are welcome anytime into our blog-cave. Read the posts. Read the comments. Write a comment. Imagine you are visiting me and I’m introducing you to yourself and your team of intrepid rainforest-minders. And, well, actually, through the wonders of technology, you can meet with me! But you know that. And don’t give up on finding each other IRL. As you deepen your knowledge of yourself and rainforest-mindedness, you will be able to spot them and invite them to join you in the blog-cave while welcoming them into your heart.


To my bloggEEs: Let us know what you are doing to help manage your anxiety, sorrow, and overwhelm. Your thoughtful comments here are glorious. I am humbled and grateful. Love to all of you. Always. All ways. 💚

Author: Paula Prober

I’m a psychotherapist and consultant in private practice based in Eugene, Oregon. I specialize in international consulting with gifted adults and parents of gifted children. I’ve been a teacher and an adjunct instructor at the University of Oregon and a frequent guest presenter at Oregon State University and Pacific University. I’ve written articles on giftedness for the Eugene Register-Guard, the Psychotherapy Networker, Advanced Development Journal and online for psychotherapy dot net, Rebelle Society, Thrive, Introvert Dear, and Highly Sensitive Refuge. My first book, Your Rainforest Mind: A Guide to the Well-Being of Gifted Adults and Youth, is a collection of case studies of gifted clients along with many strategies and resources for gifted adults and teens. My second book, Journey Into Your Rainforest Mind: A Field Guide for Gifted Adults and Teens, Book Lovers, Overthinkers, Geeks, Sensitives, Brainiacs, Intuitives, Procrastinators, and Perfectionists is a collection of my most popular blog posts along with writing exercises for self-exploration and insight.

16 responses to “If You Are Feeling Extra Anxiety, Extra Sorrow, Extra Overwhelm, You Are Not Alone”

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  1. Alia Avatar

    No room for “overwhelm” over here, or, well, I’ve got a different flavor going: this past week has been some of the most intense migraine I’ve had in years. Finally scraped enough function together to walk to the grocery store late Sunday afternoon though I was still a little muzzy. On my way, I was sort of mugged by a tipsy drag queen outside the local gay bar’s Halloween extravaganza. She mistook my detour around her entourage as avoidance born of distaste. She called out, I answered. We ended up talking. It was an intense conversation, the way some get when a lady is in her cups. Unbidden, I received multiple hugs and some sassy-flavored affirmations. That’s the good stuff. You haven’t been affirmed until a force of personality has turned on you like a spotlight. It was a lot in a squirmy-this-might-be-too-much-but-also-good way.

    In return, I made her cry and had to proffer tissues to avoid an eyeliner-related calamity. I think she needed someone not in the queer community to show her respect and acceptance. Given how ugly it’s been out there recently, I’m not offended by a little mistaken identity. On top of everything, my name was A Sign, as one of the inspirations for her professional name was the singer Aaliyah – like most literary devices, I remain unaware of the exact nature of the portent I delivered, but I hope it was good.

    I’m not saying when the going gets especially tough, go get loved on by a tipsy drag queen…but you could do a lot worse.

    1. pprober Avatar

      Oh! You made my day with this, Alia! Thank you.

      1. Alia Avatar

        I’ve been informed that serving as an augur of good fortune to a drag queen is next level. LOL

      2. Alia Avatar

        I’ve another newly discovered, unusual coping mechanism. (Still rough over here. Checked in with my neuro about the unusually intense migraines and she prescribed a short course of corticosteroids as a “cycle breaker.” Not sure they’re helping, but the “zoomies” and linebacker appetite are certainly a distraction! RAR!)

        Yesterday was my first day as a reading mentor. I was an assigned a second grade buddy and we’ll meet online once a week for the entire school year. This new thing is not without peril. Imagine the chaos, orchestrating an entire second grade class’ use of breakout rooms! I’ve been absolutely swamped with work since my promotion this summer. And, yes, I’m too dyslexic to read aloud much better than my buddy. But I’ve also got a lit degree and a wiggly new friend who likes sharks, chocolate cake, and football. I’m in trouble with the football, but I can recite some facts about Greenland sharks from memory. We’ll do okay. My buddy, newly authorized for chapter books, wants to read Dog Man with me. Potty humor and silly superheroes, here we come!

        “When the going gets tough, get yourself loved on by a tipsy drag queen and wiggled at by a shark-obsessed 2nd grader,” would make a really weird motivational poster. It’s been a weird week involving way too many ice packs and carbs.

        1. pprober Avatar

          Oh, Alia. I’m so sorry about your migraines! Actually, I think that’s a perfect motivational poster. You maintain your sense of humor through it all. Hugs to you.

  2. cd1122 Avatar

    The blog-cave, ha. Reading your posts always feels like receiving a warm hug, but this one is especially cozy.
    By the way Paula, I mentioned my plan to meet in-person with another RFM during the summer. And I don’t think I ever mentioned that yes, we actually did meet up one warm day in July 2023 in a beautiful Spanish city. We each arrived on the train from opposite directions (yes, efficient public transportation, civilized indeed) and we spent a good part of the day wandering about outside, in some gardens, in a museum/gallery, and enjoying lunch. We met here in these very blog comments in late 2020, in the depths of the pandemic, and you suggested we continue communicating via email if we were interested.
    It was a bit surreal to meet up in real life; I don’t think I ever would have come to know someone for as long and as well as I did prior to meeting them in person (two and a half years later). We are still in touch and our friendship seems a bit more tangible now that we have met. So thank you for this blog and for what it facilitates as it takes on its own life.
    Be well. Also, I recommend “Little Blue” by Jacob Collier (the live recorded version with audience/fans singing) in these particularly crazy times the world is going through.

    1. pprober Avatar

      I’m so glad you met, cd1122. I wish there was an easy way to create more real life connections. Interestingly, I met one of our blog readers just yesterday, in person, as he was passing through my town! It was so very sweet! Any of you wandering through the Pacific Northwest, Eugene, Oregon, USA, come on by. 😊 (Have you all noticed, I just discovered how to add emojis to these comments and to the blog?) Oh, and I also have recently heard “Little Blue.”

      1. cd1122 Avatar

        Hurray for that in-person meeting yesterday! How lovely. Double hurray for the emojis 😊 I am glad to hear that you had already found “Little Blue”.
        Sending much love and gratitude from the Atlantic coast. <3

  3. Jennifer Avatar

    Ahh..you have made your blog cave so welcoming and a place to really feel heard and understood. Thank you Paula! ❤️ I love seeing your articles pop up in my email.

    the picture of the story you linked to.. we had a TV version of it in the UK last Christmas which was beautiful as well. I look forward to accessing the other links and the on being podcast looks very interesting.

    I agree about identifying other RF people IRL too once you know and start learning more about it. I am pointing a lot of people this way.

    I’m not a winter fan so trying to take it easy in the darker days and find the beauty in it too.. its helping somewhat! 😅

    1. pprober Avatar

      Glad to have you in the cave, Jennifer!

  4. Clignett Avatar

    Thank you for this, Paula! 🥰

    It really is that time of year again (here), earlier than expected, but I can feel the winter depression starting to descend on me.
    Normally it hits home around Christmas (which I understand, I’ve never really liked Christmas (too much, too loud, too everything and everywhere).. and then 8 years ago this year my father died just a few days after Christmas (it was his goal to survive that, and he managed to achieve it, proud and sad both)), and lasts up to mid February.

    This year it’s early.. beginning of October! Pff.. I’ve been trying to put my finger on why so early this year, and all I can come up with is that I’m just not happy in my new place. And moving again is a struggle and a pain in the backside (to be polite 😆). Searching on the housing sites again, measuring, calculating, google maps and earth again for real time views of the neighborhood (parks, greenery, nature, etc), trying to figure out where and what I (we) want and need, even stepping out of this comfort zone of the town we live in now. It’s just too expensive here (for me) to find something good and affordable.

    Maybe there are more reasons for the timing but I haven’t figured it out yet.

    I’ve bought a daylight lamp. Hope it helps! Still have to read the instructions and set it up, planning on doing that this Friday. Almost no appointments then, only time for Indie and me. And in the evening visiting our old (and elder) neighbors from our old apartment.
    Who knows, I might have found the right tool to get me through this winter thing that I just hate. It’s dark, inside and outside. And cold and uncomfortable and so dreary.
    While I’m usually an upbeat human, positive attitude and all. Only the closest people around me notice, otherwise I can hide it pretty well, but, jeeezzz.. it costs energy to hide it! And I pay the price for it when I’m home again. So avoid people, you think. Yes, yes! But I’m a dog person, and dogs give me happiness and joy, and théy come with people.. hmph.. mostly no joy there (of course there are exceptions!)..

    (I had extra joy and happiness today before viewing a house (which was not for me, but a good learning curve) cuddling with a pitbull lady; the guy with the dog was very surprised that I was cuddling and playing with her, as well.. she’s a pitbull. I don’t care, she’s a sweetheart! ❤️❣️Another woman with two dogs walked with her dogs close to her and couldn’t walk away fast enough 🤣🤷‍♀️)

    (And when I got home, more cuddles from Indie, happy I was home again and he smelled her on me and went ballistic with welcoming me home, jumping up and down and in the end had me on the floor next to him 🤣🥰 – he loves pitbulls and Staffords just as much as I do, fortunately!)

    Just to end a “miserable tale” on a high note 🙄😊🤦‍♀️

    1. pprober Avatar

      This time of year can be tough on folks. It seems like the Christmas season awareness comes earlier and earlier, at least here in the US. But maybe where you are, too, Clignett. Yes, and the darker season here in the northern hemisphere. I may be among the few people who love the darker days. No wonder I live in Oregon!

  5. itssue42 Avatar

    ❤️ like waking up from a bad dream and realizing that you have a huge tribe that you belong to who understands and supports and appreciates you 🙂

    1. pprober Avatar

      Yep, Sue. Understood and appreciated!

  6. Eric Larson Avatar
    Eric Larson

    Dear Paula,

    By now, I have heard you sing this song many times before. It never gets old and remains a freshly melodious as ever!

    Thank you fits what gifts you bestow upon this world! 🙏🏼

    1. pprober Avatar

      Nice to have you with me over all this time, Eric. Glad you still like the song!