“If nothing else comes of this, I hope that it helps 1 other person.” - many people sharing their personal stories
It’s been some time now since I’ve fallen ill, withered away to near-nothing, made some choices and started on my journey back to health. All due to that all-to-common-these-days cause: Burnout. I never would have expected that I would be the one to fall victim to such a formidable foe. But I realise now that I had all the commonly associated causes neatly lined up for a perfect strike out.
A while ago I came to an agreement with my employers about my future. Ever since, I’ve been fairly open about the position I’m in. Not just to my friends and family, who have been with me the whole way, but even to acquaintances. I’ve turned down job offers, referred people to colleagues and created a common ground with one of my former teachers who was quite frazzled at the time (and I’ll bet, not too happy to run into his former student at they shrinks office). All this, simply by being honest. It wasn’t much of a choice. The price of a possibly dented reputation was meaningless compared to the cost that playing pretend would do to my mental health. And surprisingly to me, this always led to understanding and often even shared stories of having experienced the same thing. It appears that my field is littered with burnout experiences.
One thing I hadn’t expected, was that it might help others. I hoped it might, but I was mostly focused on saving myself before I looked at anyone else. This experience so far has led to my dear friend going to a therapist while she was on the verge of a breakdown at my insistence (she’s doing much better now). Another friend who is currently sitting at home, struggling with the beginning of this process, was delighted that I reached out. Happy to have someone to talk to who understands. (And this isn’t someone who talks about things that bother her, éver.) Then just a minute ago a former colleague, whom I know suffered a psychosis some weeks ago contacted me to ask if we could have coffee some time because he was looking for some advice. I don’t even mind. I wish I could have contacted someone who was a bit further along the same path as I was.
Somehow I’ve turned into the go-to person with regards to both-mental-and-work-related breaks.
Isn’t that strange?
I wish I could do more, actively help people. But first I have to take care of myself. And this is nice enough as is.
An unexpected side-result of this proces :)