Yes! I finally had a burnout..!

I woke up to my alarm one gray morning. With an aching in my head I struggled to get out of bed. The pain in my chest and throat had now become chronic and I was exhausted! I felt like there was nothing left in me to give. Tears came streaming down my face and I realized it would be impossible to go to work. I didn’t really understand what was wrong. I wasn’t depressed but still there were so many emotions that seemed to come from nowhere. Lately my brain had been behaving like an old buffering computer who has too much saved information. Like there was no more room to take anything in or store. It was impossible to focus, as if my gray matter was a lump of porridge. Every little effort felt like trying to climb Mount Everest. Only opening my inbox made the pain in my chest unbearable!

Calling in sick that morning I had no idea that this was just the beginning of a healing journey that would take more than a year…

 When the doctor told me that I had a burnout I was shocked. Me?! A burnout?? I’m the one who’s always serene and gives advice to others on how to handle their stress! Now I found myself withdrawing from everybody. My heart who had always been open and filled with love and compassion had closed down. I felt useless and tried to force myself to get active, but my body seemed to say “Stop! Enough! I’ve gone on strike!”.

This didn’t happen because I had worked too hard – except for the job I had in France during my summer vacations where I was responsible for executing the duties that normally three people do – It was because I wasn’t where I was supposed to be. My intuition had been trying to get my attention and wake me up for so long, but I never slowed down to listen. My body had shown me signs that something wasn’t right. I woke up every night after having slept four hours, thoughts spinning in my head, impossible to go back to sleep. I spent a lot of time listening to uplifting webinars on personal growth, but still feeling totally stuck. Like I had thick goo up to my nose and a dense fog that obstructed me from seeing which direction to take to move forward. On several occasions the past year and a half I’d had this weird feeling in my chest, like there was a heavy weight on it. Like I couldn’t get enough oxygen even though I felt calm and breathing fine. With time it had got worse, and the voice of my intuition seemed to become louder. Going to work started to feel like shambling to prison. I felt trapped with a ball and chain around my ankle. But the voice of fear, my ego, had kept me going anyway saying “What are you gonna do otherwise? This is what you’ve been studying for! You’re safe here, you have a salary!”.

 As the months passed, little by little I got my strength back and my body and brain had healed enough for me to see my family and friends more often. I then realized that this tough period in my life had also offered me a gift. Because it had forced me to stop and spend time alone with my thoughts and feelings which taught me so much about myself, who I am and what I really want in life. And as the goo got more fluid and the fog started to clear away, I could finally see what direction to take and move forward step by step. It was like the old me had died there and a new stronger and wiser me was being born. Then one day something mind-boggling happened! I stumbled upon a TED talk about what it’s like being Highly Sensitive and it was like everything fell into place…

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