I was chatting to a friend the other night about my journey to burnout. It was one of those evenings when you just chat and chat about the deep, important stuff. Something, we both agreed that happens infrequently in our busy adult days and very frequently in that extraordinarily, magically disorientating first year at uni when you get the chance to re-event yourself.
Anyway, we swapped stories in a very satisfying way. And then I paused with a verge of shame at having revealed so much pain in such a light-hearted way – and noticed there was a question hanging in the air. How on earth had things got that bad? How had I not noticed the pressure I was under and done something about it? How could somebody like me, smart, loved and with a ton of relevant knowledge, allow myself to get to the point that I had no option but to quit my job?
And then I remembered the slowly boiling frog analogy. I did notice the pressure and I did act rationally to do something about it – but it was never enough. For me, I eventually had to leap out of the boiling water and rest, utterly exhausted, overwhelmed and confused.
Now I don’t cry every day and I wake up in the morning without the heaviness of dread in my chest. Now as I learn to breath again, I am grateful that I am learning a new way of being, learning to take so much better care of myself.