Why Do I Always Take On Too Much?

It’s a question I ask myself and get asked regularly.

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But if I’m honest, the answer is pretty simple.

I’ve lived with mental illness for most of my life. A few years ago, I also developed a chronic physical illness called Fibromyalgia.

There have been long periods of time where I have been completely incapacitated; unable to so much as take a shower, let alone take part in the “normal” parts of life. No employment, no socialising, no hobbies, no relationships… I couldn’t do anything except fight against the voice in my head that told me to give up and die.

And if I’m really honest, I still have those times. I think I always will, to some extent. But now, they’re shorter, less frequent, and less severe.

Nevertheless, I still struggle with symptoms like debilitating fatigue, chronic pain, anxiety attacks, fluctuating agoraphobia, emotional dysregulation… just to name a few.

Recovery doesn’t always lead to recovered.

So when I find myself in one of my “stable” periods, I absolutely go for it.

I grab every opportunity. I take on projects left, right, and centre. I contribute to this and join in with that. I study, I write, I read – I even (occasionally) leave the house!

I grasp at all the things I can’t do when I’m unwell. I try to cram in all my goals and achievements and successes while I still can, knowing that tomorrow I could find myself back in a slump.

I lose so much time to mental and physical illness. So when I can, I do.

Maybe it sounds like a bad idea. Maybe I am causing myself some stress or making myself feel overwhelmed. I’m sure I drove my CBT therapist up the wall with my refusal to accept “pacing” as an option… But it doesn’t work for everyone, and I’ve got stuff to do.

Sometimes I complain that I’ve taken on too much. I get tired and grumpy and mopey.

But when it comes down to it, I’m just so grateful for these moments where I feel a “normal” person, with “normal” dreams and “normal” goals.

I know I am so fortunate to have these moments.

So I will savour every single one.

Do you have lived experience with mental and/or physical illnesses? How does this affect you and how you approach your goals? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments below…

just please don’t tell me to try pacing!
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  1. As someone who is neurodiverse, I always take on too much! (I feel like I have to so I can compete with people who are neurotypical) As much as I can enjoy quiet time, this often is at odds with my desire to help others and I regularly make myself too busy to manage! Big up everyone who has a balance. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. These are such great points. It would be wonderful to achieve that balance in an ideal world. Your point about competing with neurotypical people is so interesting. That feeling of needing to compete in a world that still regularly falls short of appreciating and utilising the gifts of neurodiversity must add so much pressure to the individual. Thank you for reading and commenting 😊


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