Posted by: clearspaces60 | May 13, 2014


April 24th 5:45 pm


Overwhelmed. How many of us have a love/hate relationship with this word, more so the feeling. I am feeling somewhat overwhelmed in this moment as my writers group is a little more than an hour from now and although I have journaled during the past month and thrown a few ideas on the page, nothing has come together and in the case of journaling or Morning Pages that could be way too personal or downright frightening to my audience. Until I turn it into fiction, some of my murderous thoughts are mine alone.

Overwhelm is defined as 1) to pour down upon and cover over or bury beneath 2) to make helpless, as with greater force or deep emotion; overcome; overpower or 3) to overthrow or over turn. Just for the heck of it, I looked up whelm, 1) to turn (as a dish or vessel) upside down usually to cover something: cover or engulf completely with usually disastrous effect 2) to overcome in thought or feeling : overwhelm <whelmed with a rush of joy. Then I thought about underwhelm, it means 1) ironic allusion to overwhelm and 2) fail to make a good impression or have a significant impact on. Where is this leading, I do not know. I have retrieved some of this information from my wonderful Webster’s College Dictionary which has all kinds of cool symbols and etymology that I have never taken the time to learn so I could be presenting even more interesting facts and figure. I have also looked up some things on and online dictionary to which the following question was posed-What made you want to look up whelm? Please tell us where you read or heard it (including the quote, if possible). I wish I had enough time and was a better writer so that I could show you and not tell you just how ironic, hilarious and befitting this felt.

Well Merriam-Webster On Line Dictionary, here is what is happening, the clock is ticking and I am searching for answers, words, something to put on paper to read to a group of people who have come to look to me as a facilitator of a writer’s group. And now you want to know what made me want to look up Whelm and where I read or hear it. How about why I am feeling it? Why I am feeling overwhelmed and yet creating something underwhelming all at the same time. Do you have the definition of that?

According to my computer I have written 425 words, that is something, one thing, a thing. I think this word “overwhelm” is grossly overused these days, everyone seems to be overwhelmed with something. “ I am so overwhelmed I cannot even think about it all.” “Oh I can’t talk about that now, I am too overwhelmed.” “”I’m too overwhelmed to even breathe.”

Recently I have started seeing the word “overwhelm” used as noun, for example “when you feel the overwhelm” or “when you are dealing with the overwhelm” and wonder if this is helpful or creating a crutch. Not only can you feel overwhelmed, you can now use the overwhelm itself as a reason or excuse for not taking action. There are many states of this overused word, of course you are truly overwhelmed when something life changing occurs a birth, a death, a wedding, a diagnosis, moving into a new home, an injury, a new job or other major event. But when it comes to our paperwork, our kitchen drawers, our desks, our closets, our garages, I think we need a word that doesn’t hold so much power over us, one that does not paralyze us, one that does not take over, I am not sure what it is, maybe something new needs to be dreamed up, like I am “slightly whelmed”.


  1. “I can’t even” is this years saying. People are so overwhelmed, they can’t even finish a sentence explaining what overwhelms them! Just breathe…


    • That is so true!! You want to scream “Finish your thought”!!


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