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Old 09-11-2013, 06:33 PM   #1  
Hi, I'm Lauren! :)
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Default I am so OVERWHELMED.

And I have no idea what to do about it.

I work 30hrs at my job.
I have 2 online grad school courses that doesnt sound like much, but they take up a LOT of time.
I volunteer at the library.
I'm trying to lose 3 stupid pounds that won't come off.
Whenever I'm not working, I have to do school work.
I go to the library to do my school work so I'll focus.
I have a roommate who's never home. So guess who gets to keep up with all the cleaning/chores/mishaps/various things that go with having an apartment?
I have to exercise at least 3 times a week somewhere in there.
I haven't seen my family in a couple weeks.
I paid $20 to join a student organization that I haven't been able to participate in since school started.
I feel guilty every time I do something that's not work or school or productive. There's so much stuff to be done. And I feel like everything always gets piled on me. And I'm responsible for everything. And no one is here to help me, tlak to me, or anything. I have to do EVERYTHING by myself.

And then I feel like I'm just overreacting and I should be able to handle everything I have to do because everyone else has things they have to do and they seem to handle it fine. But for some reason, I can't handle it. I feel like I can't handle anything. I feel like if I'm doing one thing it's hindering me from doing another and I can't do anything right. I feel like everything somehow gets piled on me. I feel like I'm expected to do everything and be able to handle it. And I can't. I just can't. I have so much reading to do for school and so little time to do it and my job likes to work me long shifts so that even if I wanted to read after work I couldn't because I'm just too damn tired. I'm too tired to work out. I'm too tired to do everything.

I'M JUST TIRED OF EVERYTHING. I want to stop. But I can't. Because there's always something else to do and ugh. I just sobbed in my shower because I feel like a pathetic human being that can't handle life. I can't handle life. Sorry for the random rambling that probably made no sense but I just had to get everything out. The end.

Last edited by mimsyborogoves; 09-11-2013 at 06:34 PM.
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Old 09-11-2013, 06:45 PM   #2  
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It sounds like you're juggling a lot! Is there any way you can reduce some of your commitments, perhaps drop one course or one shift at work? On the other hand, is it a possibility to have a talk with your roommate and perhaps draw up a chore schedule that sees the both of you taking care of the apartment? Lastly, it sounds like you could use "relax/me time" in your schedule. I know that's probably the last thing your guilt wants to welcome, but maybe taking a break is exactly what you need. Sometimes the only way that happens is when we allow ourselves breaks and schedule them in like we would anything else. You deserve one!

Whatever you decide, please know your feelings are entirely legit and valid. If you feel overwhelmed, then something's going on. It doesn't make you weak or any less of a person. We all have our limits, it's part of being human. And the people who look like they can do anything and everything, well, we often don't really know what's actually going on with them. The important thing is to focus on your well-being and on your needs. You have every right to do so.

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Old 09-11-2013, 07:08 PM   #3  
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Deep breath.
You are superwoman, you can do this!
Do you have a written schedule? Time management is one of the hardest but most important skills you can learn.
Good luck!
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Old 09-11-2013, 07:08 PM   #4  
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I feel for you Mims. Sorry you are feeling overloaded, that is A LOT to take care of! You should be proud of yourself for being so independent and responsible. Is it possible to cut back to maybe 20 hours or another obligation? As a student parent, I totally get what it's like to have so much to do you feel guilty for doing anything that doesn't count as "productive"...but you and I probably both know...if we don't take the time to take care of ourselves, be it working out, reading some 3FC, or (dare I say it) take a midday nap, it makes the "productive" tasks that much more challenging. I hope you can somehow find a moment or two to yourself without obligations. Wishing you rest!
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Old 09-11-2013, 07:13 PM   #5  
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You have a very full life. Some of it you can do nothing about. Other stuff you can. One thing I've noticed is that people I know that have difficulty saying "no" usually are the ones that are the most frazzled...and consequently they actually are less productive. Maybe this is you, maybe not. If it is, I highly recommend you learn to say no. Maybe tell the library that for now you don't have time to volunteer. Maybe tell your roommate that you need her (him?) to pitch in around the place - especially if they are making more work for you. I think the toughest thing is that you are going to school and working simultaneously- that's VERY hard. Not sure what you can do about that though, other than try and cut back in other areas to free up some time.
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Old 09-11-2013, 09:10 PM   #6  
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Originally Posted by mimsyborogoves View Post
And then I feel like I'm just overreacting and I should be able to handle everything I have to do because everyone else has things they have to do and they seem to handle it fine.
How does it help you to compare yourself to others, especially when you don't know what their lives are really like?

You didn't really ask for advice, but if you want the advice of a person who finished grad school pretty recently, here it is:


Whenever I'm not working, I have to do school work.
School will eat your life if you let it. Don't let it. The trick is in learning how to prioritize, learning to manage your time and workload efficiently, and learning how to accurately judge when you need to be "perfect" and when it's okay to just be "good enough." It's the only way to stay sane and get things done.

Compared to other fields requiring an advanced degree, librarianship offers relatively little in the way of long-term career security, starting pay, or prestige. Talk to your advisor, professors, and people doing the type of work you want to do about what it takes to get that first professional job. Focus on doing those. Don't waste time and energy "overperforming" on activities that aren't going to help you build relevant skill sets and a solid resume.

If less important things don't get done right away, that's okay. You're still on track. If trying to lose those last three pounds is really stressing you out, maybe you could consider focusing on maintaining the weight you've already lost until you have more time. Three pounds isn't much in the greater scheme of things. Similarly, how clean does your apartment really need to be? Seriously. If you're doing your schoolwork at the library anyway, why not do the absolute minimum needed to keep the place sanitary and not outright gross while classes are in session and do a deep clean during a holiday break? If your roommate gets annoyed at the state of the apartment, let her do the extra work. If there's so much wrong with the apartment that you're having to spend a lot of time dealing with it, refer the issues to the owner or property manager - it's their responsibility to deal with that stuff.

2. Like Mozzy said, work on your time management techniques. Once you have a structure in place that works for you, you'll probably feel a lot less stressed. Just try not to overschedule yourself.

3. If you haven't already learned how to read secondary sources efficiently, try to develop those skills. It will save you time.

4. I think it's really great that you've made it a priority to exercise 3x a week. I think at least one of the gyms on your campus has pretty extensive hours - could you go to campus early or stay late to get a workout in? Or bring a pair of running shoes and go jogging around campus after work (if you feel safe)?

5. Not being able to visit family can be hard. Would scheduling regular Skype sessions or something like that with them help you feel less disconnected from them? Just out of curiosity, have you ever really lived away from your family before?

6. If participating in a student organization is a priority for you, schedule time for it. Pick an upcoming event or two that you think won't conflict with higher priority things (like assignment deadlines), and schedule your other high-priority activities around it. If the org is one that is affiliated with a professional organization (even if its activities are mostly social in nature), the contacts you make with other students, involved faculty, and professionals in the field might help you out in ways you can't foresee. If nothing else, you're developing relationships with your future colleagues and learning how to network. Besides, social events hosted by student orgs can be a good way to de-stress (or at least share your misery). Also, a lot of club members don't attend every function of grad school clubs, in my experience. There usually seems to be a small core group of club officers and people who are super motivated (and who usually have few other demands on their time outside of school), along with the occasional person who can't say "no" and gets roped into working on everything. Most people just show up to one or two events. Nobody will think poorly of you if they don't see you until the end-of-semester party - they all know what grad school is like and that other people might not have the same amount of free time or the same priorities as they do.

I feel guilty every time I do something that's not work or school or productive. There's so much stuff to be done.
There's always stuff to be done, and taking care of yourself is one of them. Pick a time during the week that's "yours," during which you just relax and do what you want to do. No schoolwork, no chores, no nothing. It'll help your productivity and your state of mind.

And I feel like everything always gets piled on me. And I'm responsible for everything. And no one is here to help me, tlak to me, or anything. I have to do EVERYTHING by myself.
What is it precisely that's bothering you? Is it just the independent and more rigorous nature of graduate work, which it takes some people time to get used to? Are there things about your job or courses that you don't like? Are people asking you to do things you just don't have time for?

There you go. A big helping of unsolicited advice, and worth every penny you paid for it.

But seriously, you have accomplished a lot already by losing weight, earning your BA, and enrolling in grad school. You're a problem solver and a tough cookie. If grad school is where you want to be, I am sure that you will be able to figure out how to make it work.
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Old 09-11-2013, 09:50 PM   #7  
I think I'm losing it!
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Hang in there! It helps me to write things down and mark those tasks off the list when completed. Remember what a difference a day makes. Tomorrow is another day! I wish we could help. Is there anyone nearby that you can ask for help?
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Old 09-11-2013, 11:10 PM   #8  
Jillian stole my abs!
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Trust me, you are not the only person in the world that feels that way.

While my situation is totally different. I QUIT cleaning our living room. I don't hang out there, my dh hogs the whole room, so, not my problem. I quit cleaning off the end tables, and gathering up his dirty glasses, and tossing the empty Mountain Dew bottles, vacuuming, and so on.

I gotta say, it drove me nuts at first. But! Last night, he finally cleaned up the living room!

You do not need to be super woman, just decide what is really important.

Some times, it's ok to let some things go in favor of more important things.

Take a breath, this won't last forever.

I know you are busy. But, I would block out a bit of time, and really sit down and prioritize!

Health first! You can't do any justice to anything else without that.

Cleaning the apartment, you are not going to live there forever, so I would, other than keeping your own stuff straight, not worry about that.

I understand you need the job, so, some things are just what they are. Is the group you joined really that important? It may seem like it now, but in the long run, what is the value? You might discover, it might not be worth the time.

To sum it up, from my point of view, I have kids older than you, that were both at different times in there lives, in similar situations.

One went to Nebraska State Patrol training, talk about rules! One went to radiology school, 40 hours/week of school and then expected to do 20 hours of interning for the whole 2 years of the program.

None of us can do everything. So we all need to pick and prioritize for where we are at, at the moment.
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Old 09-11-2013, 11:17 PM   #9  
Hi, I'm Lauren! :)
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I feel lots better than I did when I wrote this post, lol. Work has been particularly hectic the past few days; for those that don't know I work at a dept store and we were supposed to have a corporate store visit today, so the whole weekend through yesterday I was spending most of my time in the store prepping for that, which meant 5 days in a row of full 8-9 hour shifts,the last 3 of which literally took my whole day. (1-9, an 11-7 then an 11-8). Needless to say, I was wiped out today and when I went to pull my schoolbook out to read it, I just could not focus and it frustrated me cause I knew I needed to do it but no matter what I did, I could not make myself read that textbook without falling asleep.

And then, we've recently had a bug infestation in my kitchen and I had to take apart my kitchen and spray for that today, on top of other chores, and I'd eaten all but 200 or so of my calories for the day by like 4:00 with the intention of going to workout for an hour to give myself an extra 500 calories for dinner (I eat the workout calories MFP gives me since I only workout 3 times a week -- calorie cycling!) and when I went to take a shower and get ready to go get dinner and go workout so I could come home and do work, I just broke down and sobbed in my tub because I just felt exhausted and I just flat out didn't want to go anywhere or do anything really, but I felt like I HAD to work out so I could eat dinner, and if I didn't work out, I wasn't going to be allowed to eat anything worth a toot for dinner, and I was pissed at myself.

So I came on here. And I was still upset and crying and my roommate happened to come in and I let everything out on her, and we talked and I felt much better. I made a plan to take my next day off tomorrow to get up, go work out, and then use the rest of the day to do my reading in the library while I'm awake and focused and energized from my workout. She said she was gonna make an effort to do more around the apartment, which made me feel better, and I ended up just eating a bowl of cereal and actually finished the second part of a 2-part assignment that's due next week.

I'll be okay, I think I was mostly just burnt out from everything. Next week hopefully won't be so hectic since the visit is over and my work schedule will go back to normal so things will hopefully be a little easier to manage.

I do feel like though that I really do stress and freak out over stuff that's so not important and I can't even control it sometimes, it seems like. Like I freak out like I did in the shower more often than I care to. I don't know why I take everything so seriously. I am one of those people that has trouble saying no, and I have trouble with pleasing everyone, including myself. I've been seriously considering getting a therapist to help me sort out my head because I can't get comfortable at all, with my mind or my body. It's really frustrating.
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Old 09-11-2013, 11:35 PM   #10  
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I have a great saying...."I can't commit to that (whatever they are asking you to say yes to) because I have another appointment/commitment/etc." And I state that very matter-of-factly just like I would say "Im sorry, I can't lead that event because I have a doctor's appointment".....but I DONT HAVE TO SAY what my "commitment" etc is....I've excused myself from overly long work meetings by saying that I have someplace else to be (meaning the gym lol but if you say it right, no one actually ASKS where you're going)

also if I was in that position, time management would be critical...I would drop the volunteer library stuff until you have more time and I would drop the club stuff...the priorities right now seem to be work and school courses
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Old 09-12-2013, 09:30 AM   #11  
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Mimsy - well, hon. you felt overwhelmed because you WERE overwhelmed [see how that works??? that work schedule was probably the last straw].

And trust me i feel your pain as well [grad school, fulltime job, long commute, living alone, some health issues that leave me exhausted] - and you've gotten huge amounts of great advice, especially the prioritize stuff. and i'm going to add a couple of thoughts.

Think about the 80/20 rule - it applies to EVERYTHING. Some of the stuff we do has little impact on getting stuff accomplished, but other stuff has a
HUGE impact. Focus on doing the HUGE impact stuff first. So, if it's about the cleaning, and you vaccuumed two days ago, chances are cleaning the bathroom would have the biggest impact when you have a few minutes.

And, of course, as theox said above, focus your grad school efforts on those topics/projects/issues that will have the biggest impact on your career, and not on the little stuff.

The other part of the 80/20 rule is that if you do what you should 80% of the time, you can fluff off the other 20%. So, if you've been on track with your food and exercise for, say, a solid week, ONE MEAL of slightly more calories won't hurt you.

this means, of course, that you can't let that one meal lead you to think that you might as well throw in the towel. it only means that it's ONE MEAL.

gotta say, I think you're doing great....
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Old 09-12-2013, 09:41 AM   #12  
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I'd get 10 trash cans and hampers and place them around the room, and whatever trash went on the tables/floor would go in them. Eat off paper plates. Clean only during school breaks.

Grad school is only 2 years long. Why do you need to go to the library. I'd be doing my lessons in my PJs laying in bed.

Exercise? Research has shown that exercise really doesn't do much for weight loss anyway. Take up an exercise program after you graduate.

Yeah-- the room mate has to do something occasionally-- but I understand her position. If she is rarely home, then she did not make any messes.
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Old 09-12-2013, 10:21 AM   #13  
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Mimsy - talking to someone might be a good idea. You have a lot of stuff going on, but how you perceive/react to what's going on is a separate ball of wax, and sometimes, stress can push us into pernicious reactive patterns that sort of spiral on top of each other. And getting out of that can be difficult, but really worth consciously working on.

From someone who's been there, and also struggles with saying no -- when you have too many balls in the air and you reach warning-sign levels, you HAVE to find a way to put one or two down. The answer is NOT "figure out how to keep going and keep the same number of balls in the air." Failure to heed this can sometimes lead to dropping every single last ball. :/
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Old 09-12-2013, 10:35 AM   #14  
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You've gotten a lot of wonderful advice/support. I just want to add that you might try taking some Valerian Root to help you relax. Just a thought.
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Old 09-12-2013, 11:22 AM   #15  
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Originally Posted by mimsyborogoves View Post
And then I feel like I'm just overreacting and I should be able to handle everything I have to do because everyone else has things they have to do and they seem to handle it fine.
I just wanted to say that I feel like this ALL THE TIME. Why do some people effortlessly do 100X more than me? Why do I so often feel like "just living" is a whole lot of effort? I guess it's all about personalities. Some people thrive on busyness and chaos; other people just don't.

You're not alone.
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