I Cannot Even Believe It... Taming My Nemesis?
I can't believe how quickly I came out of that mess.
That mess was composed of trying new medications and being super stressed out of my mind to the point of complete hopelessness and burnout. I finally found one that worked for my anxiety, a good start.
If I had slept every day during this period and just focused on how bad my mental health was (I only did this self-pity thing for a few days), I would not have gotten better this fast. It is about BUILDING more resilience and doing what makes us STRONGER. It sucks that I needed it.
If we feel weak, how do we get STRONGER? By doing what brings us JOY and NOW.
I am not saying that everything that brings us joy has to cost money (gyms, fitness, saunas), but certain things do require an investment and I've always put a large portion of my revenue towards well-being. I suppose I forgot the importance of journaling until this chaotic storm happened though.
I do believe that physical activity helps me mentally process things, as I go through the anxieties of my mind while I work out and I work them through. But I do also believe that there are times when I do have to write things down, and think through them, and there are times when talking to friends or a therapist helps. Self-care is knowing what we need in every moment and being able to self-monitor to be aware of which "type" of self-care is needed at that moment. I'm still getting there because we all have tendencies right?
Exercise is my drug of choice, but sometimes, other forms of self-care help me alongside it.
It sucks that it got that far, but I could not have predicted my reaction to those medications.
I was just trying to make myself better, and I made myself worse.
I did allow myself rest for sure though. Just not to the point of total collapse where I label myself as beyond repair.
I took proactive steps to get better and know that I CAN heal, I built more resilience, reconnected with friends.... and I got REAL introspective at how I allowed myself to get in such a state of burnout in the first place. I’m embarrassed to say this out loud. But I’m also not embarrassed enough to allow my pride to stop me from sharing things that might help other people. If you VIEW yourself as sick, you might get sicker.
If you admit that you might have an illness or that you’re burnt out, and you view yourself as getting better, you might get better. You might not get better, but you are aiming at a goal that is realistic and achievable provided that you do the work.
I’m not saying to be in denial, but I’m also saying that we have to look at our strengths because otherwise, we will fall into a deeper pool of hell.
I handled what I needed to handle, and I will continue to handle whatever I need to do for the inner work, but at the same time, it was very important for me to aim at recovery and not wallow in self-pity for too long.
Some lessons I learned:
• Carving out non-work time is not dispassionate, it is not a sign of weakness... Yes, even if we love what we do, the more we love it, the more we should focus on being optimally healthy... I somehow forget this, so I appreciate the "go to sleep" texts from close friends at 11 PM.
• Just because someone would be a good DJ or someone would be a good rapper, doesn't mean they have to do that, people have to do what makes them happy (whose life is it), while giving back - if possible - as much as possible in a way that makes sense for their health/limits.
• If I can't exercise or blog due to being fatigued, there are other coping skills I can learn.
• I've never admitted to myself before now that I have a track record with burnout, I do need to take it more seriously.
• In the absence of knowing that someone has a mental health concern, it is easy to take things personally when people are having bad days/not as upbeat, etc. While I can sympathize with that - I also believe in all people being able to step back and assess the situation objectively and not take every little thing personally, I will for sure do more to raise awareness about common misunderstandings around my moodiness.
• If you take an extra call or an extra client, that's great, but what happens when that opportunity call messes with your sleep time? What happens when you have to cancel plans with your friends constantly? I slashed a few business streams... may keep going down to "ultra focus." What matters more than impact is the SUSTAINABILITY of said impact.
• Even if I delegate a stream of business or commitment to someone else, it will occupy my mind as I need to “feed” all my “babies”: perfectionists should set hard stops and not take on more, to begin with. It’s the mental load.
• Loving what you do can't prevent burnout, how do you replenish your soul/joy? This is how the burnout recovery time should be spent!
• It is natural for me to want to get better at everything, it is natural for me to want to achieve more, but I didn't realize until now how serious I have to start taking these burnout phases and how much I have to make sure I prevent them. I didn't realize how bad it was until now. It's not the first time, unfortunately. And I didn't leave enough space in my schedule to build resilience in the first place, it's normal to have things happen in our lives, but for me to not even have the space to process things as they happened because I was so overloaded, that's not right. That slowed me down.
• Random emotional processing thrown in... Allowing things to permeate our aura well past their expiration date: we might think this is punishing the wrongdoer, it's actually punishing ourselves by letting it stop us... It is fine to address things, but it is not fine to poison ourselves over again with the memory... Allowing these people to hold us back over and over again, well past the event, is actually killing our joy and potential. If that's what they wanted, it's best to not allow that to happen. Letting things go does it mean letting go of the lesson and the limits. if it wasn't intentional, that's not to let it permeate your aura, if it was not intentional best not to let it permeate your aura. There's actually dignity in not dignifying stupidity with a reaction. And if it wasn't stupidity, is it still worth addressing? Not everything is and not everyone is. I'm slowly learning that. If we are choosing to redirect our paths for something, that's cool, but if we are letting circumstances blow us around like lost leaves, that's not OK.
• It depends on why we're even there to begin with... Fall in love with enabling your mind/soul to be your first line of defence so that any support level externally can fluctuate without you feeling distraught.
• Even if it’s not fair, if we confront/love/embrace the hand that we are dealt, whether that is our mind, our body, another type of challenge we have, it is very possible to reach mastery much faster. Upending our life everytime there’s a challenge is not the solution.
• It is an impossible standard to expect everyone to have the same values as you, as long as there is mutual respect for basic lines, then there is no issue. It's not OK to expect everyone to live the way that you live and vice versa.
• The fact that I’m even saying this out loud right now is weird... While there is an extent to which action-based preparation is key for navigating challenges with ease... Action above a base threshold stops us from recharging enough to manage challenges as they arise.
• Is it not more important to turn wounds into wisdom as fast as possible especially if the odds are against you? If the odds are not in your favour, why risk weakening yourself by you not using your innate wisdom to be in your favour? Be on your side, at the very least.
• When you build a business that fits YOU and anything else you have going on alongside it, the Universe will support that structure, energy is to be leveraged without whining about time constraints.
• How does anything good come from desperation or anxiousness? So clear some time daily for thinking/processing/planning/breathing.
• Even if the provocation appears intentional, non-reactivity is being the bigger person out of self-preservation of your energy/time, not because they deserve it, but because we no longer dignify intentional or un-intentional stupidity with a reaction.
• Aside from resilience, I think what got me up from rock bottom level burnout is my life’s vision. Without a purpose, I don’t think I would have cared that much about healing. Having systems and resources also helped.
• Adapting to life, yes, but when you have health conditions, sleep is not an adaptable flexible option - that’s fixed, that’s basic, and I don’t care how boring my sleep schedule makes me see . As is exercise. Non-negotiable. Like or leave it.
• The existence of anxiety and ADHD is a non-issue as these can be blessings when harnessed/embraced but when nutrition, sleep, and exercise slip up... that’s when fatigue can hit. No amount of medication counters a need for these things as a base.
• The ADHD brain and exercise: a match made in heaven. Are we addicted to exercise or is it a passion? Let people view it as they please. Let's do what makes us happy, shall we? What may seem laborious to someone else may be leisurely to you, do what brings you the most joy, life is too short to be trapped by the boxes of others. The day of the week doesn’t determine my dedication to my health especially in burnout recovery mode.
• If you have certain things you need to do daily/weekly in order to function aka health benchmarks (admittedly, this takes up time) and someone in your life takes that personally because they want more from you than you can give... the door is where they should be heading. I don't care to explain ADHD/anxiety in 2022.
• Boundaries only destroy fake and controlling relationships.
• On saving emotional energy... Whether it is “hate from the gate” from someone’s first interaction with you or anyone trying to make you forget your worth... because your light bothers them... Remember your purpose is bigger than the steps it will take to get there. Be true to your purpose regardless.
• People who have dealt with major adversity early in life may be looked at as “traumatized” by the wrong people, but the right ones will see our grit as a tremendous advantage as we can make hard situations look easy. We can gut it out and we gave immense grit.
• Our anxiety / ADHD doesn't mean we experience less of life, it just means we manage it differently. Present commitments and obligations over what "might" pay off later - we have no control over that and that's a heavy manipulation tactic by many who may try to recruit us to their cause. When you know your plan and vision - you will automatically know what is in alignment and not every "opportunity" is an actual opportunity.
• Doing everything is lethal, more lethal than a possibly missed opportunity because missing opportunities (viable or not) doesn’t burn people out. Mental health over impact, self-worth over validation.
• An hour a day to block out the rest of the world and focus on yourself is not a lot of time. It is feasible when all aspects of your schedule are under control.
• The most brilliant thing about doing multiple things is me being forced to make things efficient from the get-go/be extremely decisive when it comes to which opportunities I take on for the business or not. It is automating from the start - as I never could afford the time wastage.
• It doesn't matter the "potential" of an "opportunity" if it detracts from integrity / excellence in honouring current commitments. It is imperative to treat current commitments with respect whether or not they're short or long term.
• Neurotransmitters aren’t activated by talk therapy or meditating... that is not physiologically possible. Movement triggers neuroplasticity = why many ppl with a combo of anxiety/adhd need fitness like they need oxygen. Fitness + all other coping skills, but fitness being # 1.
• We can love what we do, we can love our business, we can love our work, we can love everything right? But if it’s work or money related, we may take it seriously sometimes... So we need time for play. We cannot pour from an empty cup! We cannot run a business if we do not fill our own cup first. Putting on our oxygen mask FIRST is part of our job description. Fun is not "getting in the way" of our goals, it supports our goals. A joyful outlook PAVES the way. Feeling GOOD expedites creative problem solving.
I am out here trying to change my beliefs and I have massive goals, so I cannot afford to allow my mind to weigh me down.
I'll leave you with this thought-provoking quote on this already post...
“I refuse to accept other people’s ideas of happiness for me. As if there’s a ‘one size fits all’ standard for happiness.” – Kanye West
Thank you for taking the time to share this journey with me by reading about my nonsense. If I can inspire anyone to not use any diagnosis as a life-ender... rather... as a possibility of what your strengths are, I did my job on this planet.