In one of my posts last week, 10 steps to avoid a mental breakdown I talked about the necessary steps to avoid a breakdown, burnout, or a brick wall! So, let me check my progress so far…
Oh, yea, definitely headed in that direction! The uncontrollable urge to hide in the bed under my covers from the world was a sign, as well as the fact I couldn’t remember answers to the most basics of questions. These are only a few of the signs, the biggest was just an overwhelming sadness, of hopelessness. Difficult to put into words at this point.
2. one must then make a declaration to oneself that they refuse to continue in that direction
I knew that I had to make the decision to speak out, to get help. Unfortunately, I ignored the signs for way too long. I was just sure I could pull myself up and get through it, considering I had done so many times in the past. I did not want to admit that I was incapable of coping, but knew that I was sinking deeper than ever before.
3. one must determine whether one needs to be under the care of a healthcare provider. Medication, therapy and even medical leave maybe helpful or necessary in fighting off the impending breakdown.
Well, check, check, check and check. Visited my doctor, added a different med, on a waiting list to see psychiatrist, and was placed on medical leave. I’ve done counseling before, but the idea of a psychiatrist is a little harsh. And being pulled from work is going to be difficult, because even though my job added to the stress and contributed to my condition, I love my job. I am closely connected to people I work with. This will be a big challenge for me.
4. one must then find a new path to go down, one of loving and taking care of oneself to avoid said breakdown or potential future breakdowns
Ah, an empty check box. This is where I am now. I am trying to determine what will help me to heal, what will help me to grow, what will help me get to the next place I am supposed to be.
To get completely disconnected from my job will be my first challenge, as there is some connections and logistics that have to be handled. After that, then what? For the past 2 years I have worked 70+ hours a week at my job. I told my husband, I feel as if I don’t even know what the regular rhythm and flow of a day is supposed to be. I was ALWAYS working, even when I wasn’t working. Obsessing about what I could do to make the numbers, to meet the goal. I stayed up extremely late, got up early, rarely ate more than once a day, drank countless cups of coffee, and when would I actually have time to exercise? Oh, and my relationships, my family?
Why did I work so much? That is some of what I will have to work through. It was a combination of things- the pressure from the company to perform, the connections that I made with the team that worked under me, the anxiety of feeling like no matter what I did it would never be enough. I think that last one’s a big one, the reason I could not turn it off. That anxiety, coupled with what I felt was a true interpretation of the expectations placed on me by my employer, made rest and relaxation an impossibility.
So, for now, I am learning to take care of me. I am trying to put myself on a schedule. To learn to go to bed at a reasonable time, get up at a reasonable time. To eat 3 meals a day, okay, maybe at least 2 a day for a start. And, I think I’ll read a book, just for fun! I bought Eat, Pray, Love last week. From what I hear it would be a good one for me to start with….
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