A new condition has recently been discovered in which the sufferer breaks down in a most unusual way. Generally brought on by oodles-to-do and perfectionism, the patient simply ceases functioning as a reasonable adult.
Symptoms include to-do lists littered about the house, piles of materials for unfinished projects, anxiety when speaking to people whose phone calls and emails have not been returned, and lots of time frittered away on useless pursuits. One alarming aspect of this condition is the tendency for the patient to add several new major projects to her to-do list daily, regardless of the fact that there is not enough time for her to accomplish those already on her list.
The patient finds it difficult to sleep, consumes too much caffeine, and asks for forgiveness regularly. She also is prone to making ridiculous faces.
Curiously, the patient tends to neglect first the things she cares about most. Thankfully this does not include people.
A recent study undertaken in my very own home has shown that this condition is self-replicating. The less the patient does to manage her spinning-out-of-control life, the more overwhelmed she becomes. During the study the patient was heard to say "The state of my house is directly correlated to the state of my mind. And where are my keys?"
A telling moment in the study was when it was discovered that the patient planned to hand-knit five hats, one flower, one pair of socks and a washcloth. In six days. One of which was Christmas.
The only way to cure Overwhelmed Paralysis Syndrome is to make a clean break. In dire cases the patient must relocate, even if temporarily.
I am happy to report that in the case of the study undertaken in my home, a six day vacation was more than enough to reset the patient's brain. Post-vacation she reported the following:
"I am so glad we went away. If we had stayed home I would have continued to work, yet feel like I was accomplishing nothing. When we came back I felt like myself again, like I could think. I felt motivated and ready to get things back in order and back to normal."
Due to the fragile nature of the patient's condition and her ongoing recovery, no one pointed out that there is no such thing as "normal." And no one laughed at her too-big hand-knitted hat, too-small hand-knitted hat or very lacy hand-knitted washcloth.