An email reply arrives.
“No 5:30pm is good. Are you sure you’re okay to come tonight?”
As I begin typing, I sigh. “Yeah, I’ve been looking forward to it all week. I just-”
The tears arise without warning, and the band across my head I only feel when I have a migraine suddenly sparks into life; burning. The sickness in my stomach I’ve been ignoring all day rises and falls with my breath.
I begin to delete my words. Maybe I should say “no.”
Signs and Symptoms
This was four weeks ago. What began as a sick feeling of panic eventually came out as vertigo, dizziness, nausea, crying for no obvious reason, panic attacks with no trigger and head pain. And it lasted nearly three weeks in total.
For all my academic knowledge of mental health theories and brain chemistry, I still seem to be average at reading my body’s signals; still oblivious to how much pressure I can put on myself.
I tend to put my values of honour about my health: If I have said I will do something; then I’ll do it. No matter what the cost. And no matter how many times I attempt to put my body or mind above that; it’s not a high enough value for me.
However, over the last month, I’ve taken days off work, which is a form of breaking my word. That’s a first for me that I’m still not comfortable with.
Creating Days of Space
I’ve had two weekends of relaxation now. I have a couple of pieces of work to focus on ~ both of which I’ve been doing bits of over the past two weeks, so I don’t feel pressured to do them all at once. I found some hour-long videos of music I enjoy and have been allowing myself as much green tea and water as I want.
The work isn’t difficult, just a bit monotonous. Last week was the first weekend I’ve had with no massive deadlines looming. The vertigo and head rushes have calmed, though they were still happening every couple of hours last week – despite not moving, having fresh air, shade, water and time away from my screen.
My thoughts have focused a lot on why it took some serious physical problems to stop me rushing around. I’m reading every day, doing a bit of work at a time and I’ve cut down this week just to one day of work and one day of university.
As anxieties about everything else arise, I am in a space where I can use my systems ~ writing out pros and cons lists, finding support in all scenarios.
From this mental place, I’m able to make a new definition of health and how I want to value my mind and body. I want to get enough sleep, to have a weekend to complete two pieces of work and to rest with books and health food.
The higher I raise that value, the less likely I’ll burn out again, and have to take more time off work.
How highly do you value your mental health?
Do you make time and systems for dealing with burn out?
What signs do you notice when you’re in need of a break?
– Rose –
As phoenix rises from ashes into flame, the alchemist turns lead to gold.
Are you feeling heavy, dull and in need of a smith? Let me help you to shine up and set you alight with your passion again.
The Alchemy Forge is open and fired up for business!