Day Twenty – Burnout

HAWMC2013

Write about burnout. What does it feel like? What are your burnout triggers? What gets you OUT of the pit of despair when nothing is going your way?

I hope one thing comes out of this post about ‘burnout’ or ‘burning out’ and that is LEARNING TO ACCEPT IT AND NOT FIGHT AGAINST IT.

After five months off work and being cooped up in the house or the hospital, I was eager to return to a ‘normal’ life. I knew that my lifestyle had to change and I’d spend the latter end of my time off getting used to my new diet and daily life. I was ready to get back into a routine of going out to work and earning my way again. But as predicted it was tough. Some days were rougher than others and definitely more mentally challenging than I once thought. But as time went on and I was given more hours to work, including more weekend work, I found myself getting more and more fatigued. I’d started off slow enough that this fatigue was unusual for me, even with this new health condition, and I foolishly dismissed it and continued to work. I kept going until I was unable to keep food down and my health interfered with my work. It was time that I took care of myself and took time off work. I was very hesitate to do that, I was afraid of being back at square one again, building up trust and being cut from shifts. I wasn’t very happy at having to take two days off to recover my bout of sickness. It was even more difficult to return to work after having a couple of ‘necessary’ days off work. It was awful. I felt guilty; more about guilt later on this month.

Lesson here, I should have listened to my body. But I thought I was smarter than that. I still some times I think I am. This has happened a couple more times in the last 12 months and luckily they haven’t been big enough bouts of flare up that I’ve needed to be admitted. I’ve been smart enough that I haven’t been stupid enough to let it get that far, but still pretty idiotic to not listen to my body.

Here it is good to note that listening to your body might sound simple and very straight forward – you feel unwell, you don’t do anything to push your body further and cause more problems – but it really isn’t like that at all. There is a lot of weight the pros and cons to whether you can afford the time off, whether a day off will aid your recovery or you need intervention. I’ve been able to gauge the situation pretty well for the most part. But still, I look back at my busy weeks of 2012 and indeed already 2013, and I see so much room for improvement. But the guilt of letting people down rises in my mind and I go into work. I feel sick but not sick enough to warrant a day off work. What would I do instead? It isn’t really that bad…

So, here I stand reiterating the fact that I’ve yet again done the same recently. I’ve accepted hours at work (at almost full time status) and continued to have a busy social schedule along side it. My only day off last week I spent in London (almost 2 hrs there and back travelling on a stuffy cramped train) on my feet, shopping. I went to work every other day. I was exhausted my Sunday and I slept all day. A day wasted because my body was so tired it needed all that extra sleep. All because I didn’t listen to my already tired by Tuesday body and didn’t stop in to do nothing. It feels like such a waste of time to do nothing. I feel the constant localised feeling of wanderlust because I know that when I am really sick I will need to stop all activity to fight my Crohn’s. When in reality, I need my energy to fight my Crohn’s every single day. No matter if I am having what I consider a ‘good’ day, there will be a bad day if not the next day, the one after. A pattern is emerging, that I get three days max with good manageable symptoms and then a gut awful day that makes me curse and hate my bowels. It shouldn’t be like this, but this is my life whilst on Pred waiting for a new treatment plan. I can almost manage it, because I know there will be a time when this won’t be my life, and I hope and pray it’s sooner rather than later.

So, yes, learning when to be cautious is key to burn out. My tips? Take care. However you do that, take care. Big or small. Take care.

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