Too Muchness: When Life Gets to Feeling Overwhelming
Webster’s Dictionary Definition:
The quality or state of being excessive.
Today, we are overwhelmed with vast information, news, and choices such as which model car to purchase, whether it should be electric or gasoline, buy a house or condominium or rent, where to go for vacation, and more. It’s too much for me to list everything in excess today.
Additional examples of the excess many of us face are no longer being able to listen to another person’s comments. The sound of the television feels like it’s an overwhelming noise. There is an impulse to avoid going out to see or talk to anyone because your day has been filled with too much. There is a point in a day where one more problem will ignite, either shouting or crying.
The term too Muchness is an actual term that originated in the Middle Ages or earlier. It is rarely heard today, yet it expresses what many people experience in the modern world.
- It is not pathological,
- It is not a mental illness,
- It is not uncommon,
- It is not incurable.
Too Muchness is a state of feeling overwhelmed by too much or too many:
- Choices to make,
- Conflict and disagreement,
- Anxiety-producing situations that feel uncontrollable,
- Noise as traffic, neighbors, teenagers blasting stereos,
- Stimuli in the environment, in addition to noise,
- Bad news on television, radio, and newspapers
- Reports of gun violence and mass shooting,
- Constant reports of domestic violence and child abuse
- Information about what is good and bad for health,
- Warnings about the end of life on earth,
- Bills to pay, inflation, and unsatisfactory salaries.
For some people, Too Muchness” causes depression and hopelessness, leading to suicidal thoughts.
It is also important to consider that each individual has a different neurological wiring system. Some people are born more able to tolerate stress. Of course, there is a point at which anyone and everyone will experience Too Muchness, also referred to as the “Diathesis-Stress Model” of disease and emotional problems. Here is how it works:
There is a crossing point at which our genetics and the environment combine to cause havoc with our physical and mental health. Each person has a limit to how much stress they can tolerate. Once life’s stressful events accumulate to where the genetic capacity has been reached, the person becomes ill. Because this is determined as much by life events as by genetics, the diathesis point is different for each person. Another way of stating this is that the things that one individual experiences as strain and tension will not be experienced in the same way by someone else
How Are People Affected by Too Muchness?
Stress or Too Muchness affects everyone’s health. One of the major outcomes of Too Muchness is commonly referred to as stress. Stress is the emotional strain or tension resulting from negative or demanding situations.
Consequences of Chronic Stress or Too Muchness:
1. High Blood Pressure
4. Heart disease
5. Somatic symptoms include backaches, headaches, stomach distress, heart palpitations, and shortness of breath.
Psychologically, people are diagnosed with the following:
5. Sleep loss.
Coping with stress calls for plenty of sleep, being involved in pleasurable activities, learning and meditation, getting plenty of exercises, and avoiding the news and television as much as possible. Finally, psychotherapy can help people learn to cope with these complicated life issues.
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3 thoughts on “Too Muchness, When Life Feels Overwhelming”
This is really interesting, Allan. I hadn’t heard of the term ‘too muchness’ before, so was fascinated to read more about it. Strangely enough, my family has a phrase that says ‘much of a muchness.’ This seems to have a slightly different meaning to it. Whereas too muchness means an excess of a, b or c, as you explained, much of a muchness means much the same as or very much alike—two different meanings for two very similar phrases. I hadn’t heard of the Diathesis-Stress Model, either, so I have learned a lot from your post today, as I do from most of your writings. Also, I have a nearly 17-year-old granddaughter with OCD and chronic anxiety. Reading what you have written, I feel reasonably sure she has too muchness. It’s such a shame that she’s affected by this at such a young age.
I hope you don’t mind me leaving my comments on your post rather than by email. I like to be able to look at the post while I’m formulating my reply. It’s a little tricky for me to flick backwards and forwards between your post and my inbox. I hope that’s acceptable to you.
It’s great Ellie