Congratulations to myself for choosing me. Happy anniversary. I cannot believe it has been a year.
Mentally, I’ve been trying to compose this post for the last several months. September was when I was really compelled to start putting my thoughts to pen and paper, well in this case it was keyboard and interwebs.
End of August through the first half of October is and has been my most favorite time of year. It is the beauty of summer still trying to hang on whilst the season is starting to migrate to more crisp days. It is the beauty of the living as the inevitable inches forward. However, this year it doesn’t feel like we had a fall what-so-ever. But… this most favored time of year came and it struck me, how narrowly I escaped my own darkness front the previous year. It made me grateful, and totally heartbroken for last years self.
This year has been a year of self discovery and shedding unhealthy patterns. Yet, figuring out the me beneath the traumas that burnout entails. Burn-out is no joke, it is an unfortunate thing. The worst part, is you look okay on the outside, while you are crumbling or trying to keep keep all the broke pieces of yourself together with Scotch Tape- it might look like you’re still together but the tape isn’t holding and all those pieces are starting to disintegrate.
Things that I have learned about myself during this journey:
1.) When dealing with burnout, being in large crowds was almost impossible for about 6 months +, going to the grocery store at weird times is really a benefit for myself, so I don’t have to run into people asking “what happened, why did you change jobs?” Also, it is still an issue occasionally if stress is elevated.
2.) The questions- oh and let me tell you, everyone has an opinion of you on what they think you need to do, and or be or act, or reach out to certain people. It is all chatter, it is annoying, it is infuriating when you get put on the spot while you’re trying to not sound like someone trying to hold yourself together.
3.) Nervous system damage… it flipping sucks. When your body is constantly in a state of fight or flight… you think when you quit or change courses, everything will be okay, and you can breathe. Nope. It doesn’t work that way. Your body has a crap ton of pent up trauma you’ve shoved, tucked and pushed down in day to day life, and when it rears its evil, evil head, it can come in all shapes and forms. For me, it was realizing I was holding my breath all the time, clenching my jaw, TMJ, facial tremors, and spasms, numbness in face, neck ears, and VERY vivid nightmares.
4.) Find what can help you complete the stress cycle + self care, IE working out, going on a walks, whatever you can do to get your heart rate pumping (in a healthy way). Take bubble baths, long showers with essential oils- it might all seem frivolous, but in reality- if you’re dealing with burnout, you haven’t been taking care of yourself, you’ve been taking care of other people and other peoples needs/worries. Let go of the burdens, and embrace the you that you’ve ignored.
5.) Even though it is over, trauma is tricky- and can hold on/rear its ugly head when you least expect it. Going with the flow, and speaking kindly to yourself with grace is incredibly important. I’ve been in counseling since January of this year to help process it all. For me the perfect combo is counseling + working out/playing out in the yard or being outside. Every human is different, but that is what I believe has been the turning point for me.
It is hard, it is unfair that we live in a world that forces people to stay at a fast pace, but also, it is unfair for employers to put employees in, uncomfortable and often immoral/awkward situations. I look at myself last year, the me who was cagey, about ready to explode, and my heart hurts for that human. It should have never gotten to that point. I should have stepped away a lot sooner before then. I am thankful I am still here, even when I feel broken. The velvety darkness still walks and waits inside me, I don’t know if the trauma will ever fully leave or if I will grow as a human being to handle more tricky situations.
For now, happy anniversary to myself, and may the next year of growth flourish into someone who is confident once again and can tackle daily life. Theme song for this year: “I’m Still Standing – Elton John”