Hey. How are you doing these days?
I want to talk about a mental health thing. I want to talk about it because its where I’m at, and I am confident there are plenty of you out there, especially military spouses, single parents, students, and others, who are also experiencing the same thing.
Some very well known athletes have recently brought to light how hard it can be to pay attention to our well being. Our well being speaks to us. Naomi Osaka listened. Simone Biles listened. Do you listen? They listened, and yet they were still harshly and openly judged for it by too many, from all walks of life. Suddenly these nay-sayers were both professional athletic coaches and psychiatrists, all from the comfort of their own squishy recliners.
The specific thing I want to talk about is burn out. The idea of burn out was described in the 1970s by a psychologist named Herbert Freudenberger. It is mainly characterized by exhaustion, alienation from activities and reduced performance. Originally described as a result of stress in the workplace, it has been expanded to describe a general condition of being negatively affected by accumulated stress.
I AM BURNED OUT. (Or am I burnt out? I dunno.)
I am tired of solo parenting.
I am tired of taxiing.
I am tired of coordinating multiple schedules.
I am tired of laundry, unloading the dishwasher, cleaning up ants off the floor due to messy eaters, tending sick kiddos, potty training the puppy, gardening while avoiding mosquitos and fearing spiders.
I am tired of reading depressing news, mentally reconciling racism, anti-maskers, anti-vaxxers, demonstrations turning into riots, election conspiracy theories, school board meetings turning into assaults, and understanding my transition to some new and different political views.
I am tired of feeling compelled to do things I don’t want to do, feeling judged, being pushed past my boundaries, feeling taken for granted and unappreciated, and getting so damn little help.
I. Am. Exhausted.
The symptoms of burn out describe me daily. Drained, emotionally exhausted, low energy, cynical and numb about my work environment (home), negative, listless and uncreative.
So, I am trying to listen to my well being. It is so hard for me, to put my own needs first. I am years-trained as a military spouse, so frequently performing as a solo parent, to put others first. I am in therapy and marriage counseling. I take anti-anxiety medication, which I recently have changed because it wasn’t able to calm my stress induced heart palpitations. I have significantly reduced my alcohol intake. I am focusing on healthier food choices. I would totally exercise for the endorphins rush, but remember…I. Am. Exhausted.
And, I am soaking up as much time as possible with my bestie, who suffers many of the same caretaking, codependent, over-giving troubles as me. We talk all the time. We point out each other’s successes, no matter how small. We kindly support each other through difficulties when we choose not to see the obvious. We help each other grow. And we take care of each other.
If you are feeling like me, please do some self care. You deserve it! You are worth it! Start seeing a therapist. Do yoga. Call up a confidante. Meditate. Buy or pick yourself some flowers. Make some tea. Consider seeing a doctor about medication. There is NO SHAME in it. We work HARD. It is normal to get to a point where you begin to struggle when the stress doesn’t ease up.
I echo what these athletes are saying…”It’s OK to not be OK”.
And remember, I see you. Take care of you.
Cheers and love,