It’s been a while since I’ve posted and life has been pretty hectic. There has been some “slippage” in my progress and this week I realised my pre-burnout habits were harder to lose than I’d thought. Damn it.
Over the last few days I experienced some of my old panic and anxiety symptoms, and began to feel really negative. It was the worst I’ve felt since about last January. This wasn’t good and it was made worse because I felt annoyed about having these feelings and as if all my progress had just been erased in the blink of an eye. My sleep has suffered and I have gone back to feeling unhealthy and down on myself. My chatterbox has been running riot saying I knew your progress would be short-lived and You are destined to stay in your place, stressed and unhealthy. Worst of all, when unpicking what’s in my mind I realise I have been having subconscious thoughts of “I don’t really deserve to be happy”. I know from experience that this is a dangerous spiral of thinking which it is important to manage now before it gets worse. The good thing is I have spotted it early this time, so something is working.
So, to manage this I have taken another look at the original reasons why I experienced burnout in the first place:
- taking on responsibility for “everything”
- not believing I can rely on anyone else
- attempting to retain “control” by doing it all by myself
- carrying on regardless of signs of burnout
Over the last 6 months I have done a lot of work on selfcare and listening to and looking after my needs. Stopping work for my sabbatical enabled me to have the time to do this and took the emphasis off work. However, I realised this week that my listening ear has switched off!
Even though I am back at work now and have been trying to do things differently there, I have inadvertently been burning out in my home and personal life instead and returning to old habits. Example – we have finally moved home (yay!) but the admin and organisation of this was something that completely took over during the weeks beforehand. Chasing solicitors, managing paperwork, moving practicalities, unpacking and getting the new place perfect were chores I took on with gusto as if I was on a mission to the summit of Everest. This was alongside work and wedding planning – all things which should be enjoyable and exciting and which can overwhelm me if I’m not careful.
What I’ve done is once again taken on full responsibility for managing everything and just charged ahead without stopping to ask for help, to delegate, or to seek support. It has been a subconscious way of operating which isn’t even a conscious decision , but it’s just how I roll!
In my therapy I have looked at where this comes from (the early childhood experience of being let down by my primary carers and the awful pain of realising I could not rely on other people) and why it has continued (easier to avoid pain happening again by removing the possibility of being let down by others – do it myself)!
However, as I move to my new home and embark on my new life as a wife (shock face) it’s important that I really do learn to be vulnerable and share the load with my life partner, as well as asking for help from colleagues and friends. Luckily for me my life partner is ready and willing to support me anyway he can, it’s just that the poor bloke never gets a look in!
I am going to keep going with the work to boost my sense of self worth – yes I am worthy of happiness! I also really need to listen to what I need and I am using my inner child meditation time to find the answers. Also on a practical level I just need to take the pressure off anyway I can – ask for help, delegate to colleagues, and know that it doesn’t really matter if the spare room is still full of packing boxes when the mother in law comes round!