What Do You Do When You’ve Hit That Burnout Stage?

Before you read on, I don’t have the answer to this question so if you’re feeling the same way; you have my deepest sympathies. It’s a new experience for me and not one I want to repeat anytime soon. Though look at any of the replies to my latest tweets and you’ll see that there are solutions, there are ways to kick you out of that state, but then it’s sometimes easier to say and read then do.

I have gone and done that silly thing of throwing myself at everything and anything with full speed with this huge burning bright golden fire, apparently, I think I was trying to prove to myself that I could be a superwoman, one that can say yes to everything. Well somewhere down the line, that speed slowed down to a jog and then the fire started to fade and instead of facing this issue, I ignored it and continued on until I got to the point where the speed has gone backwards, and that fire has completely gone and I just do not know how to relight it.

My productivity died a death with that fire. Suddenly the tiniest of tasks that I was once able to achieve is now a huge thing which will leave me in a cold sweat as I try to figure out how to complete it — staring into space fearing the consequence of doing something wrong. Making mistakes and just not thinking straight, hearing one thing and then not hearing another. Simply forgetting to do something – like I know I’m meant to do it, but I don’t, does that even make sense to anyone but me? That initiative I once had? I’ve got a missing poster up for it as it seems to have vanished along with everything else. I started to notice this a couple of weeks ago and instead of telling anyone, what did I do? I just tried to carry on. With the tasks mounting up and the feelings getting worse, I kept it to myself.

It’s not that I can’t do what is in front of me, I am perfectly capable of completing whatever is thrown at me and doing it was a sass, one which has me patting myself on the back but I’ll still always be my biggest critic, pushing myself harder and wanting to do better, there is nothing wrong with this and this isn’t the attitude that got me to this point of living off an empty cannister, it was merely the fact that I have not looked after myself mentally or physically.

Physically I am often in discomfort, and this is down to the food I eat, I’m meant to be keeping a food diary, but I am terrible at keeping up with that just like I am with this blog. I am stubborn when it comes to food; I want to eat it all – despite the suffering it causes me. I know this isn’t the attitude to have, but food has always been my number one love, I don’t want anyone turning around and saying I need to change my diet. I also fear there is another reason for this sudden discomfort, the fear of bad news from the doctor has me avoiding him, I KNOW this is one thing I know I shouldn’t ignore, but I do. This type of attitude is something I would be horrified to hear of from anyone else, so why am I like this with myself.

When it came about that I was secretary of the PTA; I should have come straight back and said my apologies, that I could no longer do this. I stated my interest in joining months ago, back when Dylan started school, and I thought it would be great to give something but to a school which does a fantastic job with educating Oli & Charlotte. But I should have realised the situation has changed and that I wouldn’t have the time to do this. It’s another WhatsApp group on top of what at times feels like a zillion groups, another notification on the phone amongst a zillion other notifications.

Cork

That’s also another issue I struggle with, switching off. I spent a weekend detoxing myself from all things digital, ran away to a cottage by the sea and turned the phone to aeroplane mode. It was a plaster, a temporary one but then it still did the world of good, and it’s something that should be done more often. The weekends are full of housework, kids parties, socialising with friends – it is not a break; it is not a time to relax. Weekends are probably more stressful than the working week. Like trying to choose a present for a 6-year-old girl? Give me anything else over that, any day.

I did not realise how much the man was struggling when I wasn’t around, he’s developed carpal tunnel syndrome, and as someone who relies on his hands for his job (baker), this means he is now off work. He has been saying he’s OK only he’s not OK; it took me actually being home and watching his hand be in agony and how he’s in pain over not being able to do the job he loves and how he knows this will affect our financials. I think this is what finally broke me; he didn’t want to let me go; he needed me around. Even if just for the day, but then I don’t think either of realised how me stopping to listen, to be there would break the flood banks and cause me to break as well.

He explained how he tried to lift Dylan but couldn’t, and this caused him physical and emotional pain. How silly of me to not realise that he has now become that full-time carer – the role that I was so quick to escape from after several years. I think this is my biggest upset right now that I didn’t see his struggle. This has put a strain on our marriage, one that has always been rocky but then looking at the statistics, something like 80% of special needs parents marriages end in divorce, at least we’ve not hit that point yet. We have a son who relies on our care 24/7, he’s finally at school, a battle that I’ve probably still not got over, but we have the rest of the day with him, the comedown after school, the weekends. Something I always say I should blog about but never do, sometimes it’s easier to ignore these things but then who does that help?

I can’t say asking for help has been my most substantial aspect in life. With the way I’m feeling now, I’ve glad I’ve done it now, that I have admitted to struggling as much that pains me to say out aloud. And it really does, I actually think admitting defeat to my mind and body has me feeling even more terrible and this is something I need to deal with. I have had a couple of friends check in with me each day since that fire went out, this is what you need when you feel this way, you can’t have anything more added to the pile when you’re already fragile. Yesterday was a good day. I grounded myself, got fresh air, picked Charlotte up from school and did homework with her, something I’ve not done in a while, and it made me smile. It made her smile to see me waiting for her at that school gate.

I thought I would wake up today ready to take on the world, but somehow I feel worse than I did yesterday. I actually think I’m coming down with something which really isn’t great timing when I have the world to face.

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