Three years ago, I was living a profound lie. A lie that kept me busy and secure. It had been carefully constructed for almost 30 years, stone after stone, with super solid foundations to hold it all together. It was my refuge, my comfort zone, my safety jacket. It never came to me to think I would be able to swim and survive without it. I was literally walking through life on autopilot, seriously disconnected from my feelings. It was that deep sense of disconnect that led me to my burnout.
Here are some of the things I thought to myself – so-called “red flags” that you are out of alignment with your Soul:
- I’m not the same fun-loving, crazy, spontaneous, lively girl I used to be, who loved life and had energy to spare.
- Life feels like a struggle. I feel overwhelmed all the time and the littlest challenge or unexpected news makes me burst into tears.
- I feel like I am someone else at home and at work. Once I get to the office, I put on my mask, do what everyone thinks I’m “good at” (but which I no longer take pleasure doing) and shut off my mind.
- I look at my colleagues and feel like a total alien. Am I the only one who feels like she doesn’t belong here…? The bare thought of “35 more years to go” at this life makes me want to jump out the window to get it over with.
- I feel tired, sluggish and like a brain-dead zombie. When I’m at work, my mind feels foggy, stuck, unable to function, let alone creatively. Sometimes I feel like my brain is going numb and I’m turning dumb.
- How come I have a stressful job, filled with responsibilities and yet, feel utterly bored and underworked? It’s as if my internal light and joy are slowly fading and each day I’m dying a bit more inside.
- I never used to get sick but now I am constantly suffering from something (migraines, chronic inflammation, digestive problems, severe hair loss…)
Unfortunately I am not a good example to follow on how to get back into alignment before it’s too late. Instead of pausing and thinking, my mind kept pushing my body. What I didn’t know, was that our body speaks to us in amazing ways when we are not ready to listen. First, you get small signs (migraines, fatigue, insomnia…). Then; if you did not listen in the first place, the signs gradually increase (inflammation, anxiety, weight loss, numbness…). In my case, I went allthe way to the hospital because of heart arrhythmia. The diagnosis? Stress.
Instead of seeing the signs and respecting my body, I went back to work the day after I got out of hospital. A couple of weeks later I was unable to move my arms as I woke up, had panic attacks for no apparent reason and couldn’t walk 100m down the street without sweating and shaking. There and then I really had no other choice than going on medical leave – for the first time in my life. It took me what seemed like 9 endless months to fully recover from the physical and mental strain I had put myself through.
As I speak to some of my friends and acquaintances today, I realize many are experiencing the premises of what I have gone through. As I share my story, they are always particularly curious about the signs and symptoms I experienced at the time. Starting this blog is one of the means I thought of to help others before it’s too late. My wish is for you to avoid going into that dark cave I was in, because you will gain precious time and spare your health for more productive projects than sleeping, feeling depressed and sleeping some more.
But fear not, because after dusk comes… dawn! And don’t get me wrong, I am not complaining or being negative. On the very contrary: this experience has been my greatest teacher so far. But that’s another story.