I’ve been burnt out or approaching burn out probably for at least three years. I’ve been through a long series of really hard things. I knew things were coming to a head when I started having more and more trouble concentrating.
But the thing that made alarms go off, and made me call my doctor and find a new therapist, was the anger. Every day, two or three times a day or more, something would send me into a rage. Small things, and not just a ‘rant and it’s over’ kind of anger. Real, step away and cool down, take a breath before you say something stupid anger.
I knew on the Monday it was all coming crashing down, I made an appointment with the doctor and she gave me a note for stress leave on Wednesday and on Friday, my last day working, I had what I consider to be a full breakdown. I was done.
The signs I should have been paying more attention to along the way?
Irritability, low self-esteem, fearfulness, withdrawing from family and friends, losing interest in activities…
And then the worse it gets, you get insomnia, trouble concentrating, fatigue, changes in appetite…
All these bright red flags that I kept shoving to the side, and now I’m on my third week of leave and I feel completely useless as a human being.
Week one was hard, because it felt wrong to even be taking the time – I should be doing things, I should know how to fix this, I need to get better. I should be working on myself. Week two was more stressful because I felt like I had failed the week one challenge. I felt no better.
People keep saying I need time to heal, but how do I do that and what am I healing from? A thousand small events over a number of years. A building ferocity.
Week three I have felt absolutely drained and useless. I have no strength, I have nothing to offer. I wake up late with a headache, I try to sit up for a while and then I have to go and lie down again. I forget to eat. I want to spent my days reading but I don’t. I want to bake or cook for my family, but I don’t. I don’t *do* anything.
I’ve watched some tennis.
The best part is you feel as though you’re alienating everyone!
And the stress doesn’t stop just because you’re trying to take time away from it. The world is still turning, the US Supreme Court is still making horrendous rulings. Things that I care about are in the news, and people I care about are at risk, and I can’t just turn my brain off.