So. I managed to drive myself into a state of complete exhaustion – again. I was so sure I had it all under control, that I had finally figured out how to avoid that… I even wrote about it .
When I finally accepted that I’d done it again, I was crusched. Not just by the fatigue, but also because of the feeling of failure. “Can’t I even handle working 20 hours a week? What kind of useless person am I?”
I thought I had it all down, but I had missed a big piece of the puzzle. I’ve been Prioritizing life , but somehow I was still putting “work” kind of outside the equation. As if work was in a category all by it self, not an integrated part of my life. I told myself that my priorities were: 1.me (my health, physical and psycological), 2.family and friends, 3.my home. But in reality I prioritized work first, then the rest! And so when I realised that there was a very stressful time at work coming up, I put everything else at hold and focused on saving my energy for work. Just as I’ve always done. And with the exact same result – complete exhaustion, burn out, fatigue syndrome or whatever name you give it.
Albert Einstein is quoted saying: “The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, but expecting different results”… So I guess that was what I was, slightly insane.
Now that I´m getting back on my feet, my overwhelming feeling is gratitude. This breakdown was necessary to show me what I that I was missing this huge part of the equation. And hopefully this new insight will help me to avoid doing the same thing again.
It also showed my employer that I was being overloaded with work, and my boss has relieved me of some of my tasks. This is the first time I’ve had a boss that actually realised that my workload might be a part of triggering my fatigue syndrome – and that too is a great source of gratitude. As well as living in a country where I get payed by the state while I recover, and my employer is required by law both to keep my job for me and adapt my work so that I can work within my limitations when I get back.
I’ve been working most of the summer, just a few hours per week at first and then slowly increasing the hours per week. And now I’m back to my 20 hours a week again. I fell well, and really think that this time may be the final time of burnout.
But I also know that life is unpredictable, and that there might come a day when circumstances overwhelm me again. All I can do is do my best to keep myself healthy – sleep well, eat good, move my body, relax and enjoy life. Hopefully that will help keep me away from collapses for a long, long time!