Burn out. Burned out. Going through chunks of the day forcing myself to focus, wondering what in the hell I am doing. I feel like I keep pushing with all my body weight but I only get an inch further after hours and hours of exertion. My body isn’t fighting what I need it to fight for several months now. Reason: Stress.
When I start to get burned out I try to find answers and solutions, I try to find where I am putting too much in and getting very little out, I try to find where I could work smarter, not harder. I look outside, at jobs (because I often have more than one), relationships, monetary obligations. I find things to blame and then investigate, is that the truth? Or is that just easier to be frustrated with than whatever the truth is.
I was feeling incredibly burned out this past
week month, like don’t-get-me-out-of-bed-but-wait-I-can’t-sleep-anyway kind of burned out. I’ve tapped my resources, I’m coming up just a little over empty. I thought I knew what it was, I poked and prodded at the situation in my mind, I felt justified and fed up. It couldn’t possibly be something in me, look at all that I was doing, making doctors appointments that I had long put off, getting my medications in line, starting probiotics, seeking people in similar situations, finding different options than the dreaded tinder, making plans, reading books, gaining knowledge…it had to be this one thing, right? It just had to be.
And then I was forced to face what I felt so justified against, my scapegoat, the thing I thought was leeching my energy.
I may have been at least partially wrong.
I spent the weekend after asking myself questions, trying to figure out what’s really going on and what I want to be asking for. I had more information, but still not many answers. I made sure to take some more time out, got a shift covered so I could go to a dance class I have been wondering about. I agreed to a date, I allowed myself to look for some clothes to add to my limited wardrobe. I added a little bit of fun.
The dance class was amazing, I went into the date with little expectation (necessary when dealing with dating apps) and was wonderfully surprised, made cinnamon rolls for some fellow workers, and still, after those good things, I found myself burned out again yesterday.
I was having a long conversation with a friend covering many topics I don’t like investigating, a conversation that, to me, highlighted all my broken parts, all the areas I don’t feel sufficient. He was trying to be helpful and offer suggestions and all I could say is, “I’ve already thought of that” and “I’ve done/tried that too.” I was irritable and sad, burned out on myself and how much there seemed to be left to fix. I felt like I’ve been working on changing the way I think for years now, that I’ve been trying to train my brain and wrestle it into submission since I first started battling angst at around 14.
The wrestling, the submission, that’s the burn out. The thinking I need to be fixed and there’s just so much to do…
It needs to stop.
I left my face-in-hand burn out posture and got in my car to go from one job to the next and I thought about the words I was using to describe myself. I had to be “fixed” in order to be happy. How awful is it to feel constantly broken, in need of tweeks and tape.
I’ve been able to pretend from time to time that I don’t think that I need to be fixed anymore, that I am enough, as is, demon/baggage/perfectionism gone. I’ve kept this up for months at a time, usually when I move somewhere new. Byeeee excess baggage, you can stay in whatever city I left. But that’s just another wrestle. The “you are lazy” plays alongside the “you aren’t fulfilling your potential” tape softly in the background, so soft that I don’t even realize it’s there until I find myself staring at a computer screen, forcing myself to work while holding back tears I don’t understand.
I’m tired. I want to work with myself, not against myself. I don’t know how people let themselves off the hook. I’ve tried, I’ve read affirmations, I’ve said affirmations out loud, I’ve talked to people who think I’m pretty
decent wonderful, I’ve thought I was pretty decent awesome for hours at a time. But it still in the back ground it softly plays, “time to do some more fixing if you want xyz”.
Despite the burn out I soldier on. My work gets done, I laugh and cry and keep going through the motions. I look for new things to try. Reasons, explanations, and probably quick fixes.
I’ve sat on this post for a while, I don’t want people who are just getting to know me, or who don’t know me at all to think that this is all there is. On the other hand I do want to write my truth, I don’t like pretending that everything is sunshine and roses when it’s really a little gray and tumultuous, and also, I hope that it’s helpful for other people in 20’s wondering if they are alone in their burn out.
I don’t get to hid behind/escape with alcohol and bar crawls, fancy food and laying out in the sun, my body basically forbids it. I’ve decided that this is prevention for a mid life crisis, that when I really figure out my voice, my needs and wants, and get through the cyclical burnout, that I’ll have made a really incredible foundation for the rest of my life. No red corvette needed.
I need to decide what works for me, and stick to that. Is that a start? Can we call it something other than a fix?