Posted in Burnout, the feels

Being Mindful (or how it helped me to get my groove back after burnout) – Part 1 – the sh*t bit

This week is Mental Health Awareness Week in the UK and its theme this year is Mindfulness.

Sounds like a big old pile of hippy nonsense. It really isn’t.

Should any of the people who make up my small but lovely audience have been wondering what the hell I’ve been doing for the last year, I basically worked far too hard for far too long, then fell over. Like a short blonde brontosaurus falling over a cliff. Unfortunately I couldn’t find a stock image of that, so I’ll just have to let you rely on your imagination.

barney the dinosaur
I couldn’t bring myself to chuck Barney off a cliff

The stupid thing is I could feel it as it crept its insidious way over my entire life. I stopped writing, I was ratty (ok, that’s not too much of a change – I’m genetically predisposed towards impatience), wracked with guilt (all the guilt – parental, spousal, familial, food, exercise, health, work, leisure, sleep, alcohol – you name it). I just stopped enjoying everything and kept on trying to stay on top of the job. So I was at the desk at 6am when Smalls was asleep, at the desk until 10.30pm and at a weekend, always in the mistaken belief that, at one point, I would get on top of it all – and then everything would be okay.

I was a bit wrong. And I couldn’t cook to save my life any more.

Physically I felt more and more “odd”, because apart from the headaches and waking up several times a night, I had a weird fizzing sensation in my brain, which eventually became numbness. I was awash with aches and pains and uppity guts. I would try and do things that required just the teeniest little squirt of adrenalin to complete – simple things like trying to pull out of a junction – and the juice just wasn’t there.

The drawbridges, tunnels and bridges that gave me access to my memories were gradually being drawn up, blocked up or removed. I forgot peoples’ names, tried not to weep on planes and on mute on telephone conferences, lost the ability to read and eventually speaking became problematic, partly because I could never remember the right words for anything. Hilarious when you do a job that relies on effective communication and a lot of talking. Ha ha.

It came to a head after a week off, where, on the first day back, I just fell apart.

Sick face
Yes, that bad

I was one of the lucky ones. My boss had been through it, some of my colleagues had been through it, and I work for a company that has the resources to support my recovery to a certain extent. My boss basically said “Go off sick, you need a proper rest, go see your doctor, get the meds if you have to, your job will still be here when you get back” and for that I am eternally grateful.

Unfortunately I have to break off now, due to the need for sleep (more of that later) but Part 2 will be winging it’s way over soon.

However here’s something I can never get sick of watching….fill your wellies!

Please Take A Moment To Enjoy This Vine Of Michael Gove Falling Over via @lukelewis @buzzfeed

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