Wednesday, July 6, 2016

My Story of Burnout || apparently no one is immune

"I lost the desire and ability to keep going. I didn't see why I was going in the first place. No, I saw reasons why I had started, but they no longer had the value they once did."

 

<<PART ONE>> 

 

I'm honestly unsure of how to start this post. I'm unsure because I'm sure of this: so much has been swirling in my mind for so, so long.

It's been over a year. 

It's been over a year since the intense thought-swirling started. It's like having an ocean of thoughts inside your mind, and you--walking on the edge of the water--are being incessantly hit by the waves. They're heavy. They're cold. They keep coming as long as you are by that edge. You somehow have to keep moving forward despite being hit and hit and hit and hit.

Let me go back to about two weeks ago.

I was coming off of a lot. I'd completed my first move-out on my own where I'd finished two semesters of maximum credit loads and maximum basically everything else.

Instead of making sure balance was happening, I jumped directly back into essentially a thirteen credit summer load, a freelance writing position with weekly deadlines, a summer internship with more deadlines on top of my existing commitment of four contributing author positions, one attempt to relaunch an online magazine, various queries to write for additional publications, and research into my biggest dreams.

If that wasn't enough, I'd also planned on finally getting to all that stuff that I've been wanting to do for a long time. Think a massive list of anything from finally reading through my over fifty issues of TIME magazine, watching about 100 saved TED videos, researching ancient philosophy and apologetics, learning various skills, and finally simplifying my almost storage maxed out computer.

Plus, I was going to articulate answers to some of the deepest questions of my life once and for all:

why am I here, what is life actually all about, who am I and what does that matter, who are other people, what is the most efficient way to change the world, what is my deepest passion, how do I actually want to live my life, what is life, why is life, what is happiness, where is meaning, how do I live whole-heartedly, what is whole-heartedly for me, what can I do, how do I keep myself back, how do I change that and go forward, where is forward for me.

I'd been doing all this (more or less) for about two months. It basically felt like I'd been doing it all very inefficiently, and words that my brain decided described my situation were along the lines of self-condemnation, regret, guilt, indecision, doubt, control, frustration, and lack of love.

That last one dared to delve deeper. It reminded me of a very unfortunate facet of my reality.

I was now living (and had been living for a very long time) without love - that state of hesed loyal obedience - and even just enjoyment of life. I was not "loving" (engaging in with all my heart) my life, my God, or other people.

And I'd started to slip. My high-achieving lifestyle was (scarily) approaching a crashing halt faster than I thought. My productivity started to diminish.

I lost the desire and ability to keep going. I didn't see why I was going in the first place. No, I saw reasons why I had started, but they no longer had the value they once did. 

I was actually helping out my sister as she was dogsitting, and they day had been a constant struggle; a constant struggle to try try try to keep myself focused so that I could finally move on and do what I actually wanted.

I saw that why in the world would I keep living in any other way than contented, purposeful, and peaceful because our days are chronically numbered. I saw how I wanted to live but felt incapable to get to that place. My self-reliance wasn't gonna get me out of this one, and I knew it.

I sent a text. "Hey, are you gonna be home when I get back?" My mom replied. She would. I didn't say anymore till I walked in the door.  

I functioned for a little while, then I asked if she would talk with me. My dad was ten minutes away, so we waited for him. Then, we had a ten minute slot (and they ended up giving me fifteen).

I sat on the wooden chair in the recesses of the cool basement while mom was cushioned by her favorite prayer chair and dad situated on the couch's leather.

I opened my mouth, not sure of what would come out but sure that something needed to emerge.

I told of the sea inside my mind. I told of how desire and ability no longer held meaning. I told of the total strength deficit to take any more steps. And I told them of how ridiculous I thought it all to be; how I (of all people) should be past this by now, how I'd been given so many tools in my life and felt the pressure to use them all and guilt at never doing it good enough, how I knew I should be able to function at this capacity.

My leather and prayer cushioned parents placed the possibility before me (one I'd staunchly believe I was incapable of reaching): burnout.  

My parents--they with years of counseling and ministry--stated how it seemed that I was in the beginning stages of it, something they traced back to long, long ago. If something didn't change, I was headed for a full on crash and burn.

We talked some more, and then they had to leave for another appointment.

I wanted a quick fix. I wanted a magic solution that would allow me to jump right back in to it all with ferocity.  
I didn't get that type of magic. I've (actually) been working through it all these past two weeks. It's bringing up that which I've been grappling with for over a year.

This story doesn't end here because my story didn't (and doesn't) end here.

I've found--no, I'm finding--a new way to live. I want to tell the rest of the story, to share it with you.

The story will continue in part two.
© 2016 Deborah Hope Shining

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I definitely don't want this to be a monologue. What are your thoughts? Questions? Ideas?

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