Burnout is Starting Over and Finally Finding the Truth

Loving the ADHD devil – DAY 16

I am starting to feel extremely grateful for my breakdown, or burnout, more and more each day. I have had a good week till now and although I’m far from doing the many things I used to do in one day, although my energy levels are far from normal, I believe that good things are starting to arise. My burnout is not just preventing me from living my old life, instead, it gives me a chance to start a new one!

I started to image what would have happened to me if I wouldn’t have met my boyfriend, if I wouldn’t have gone on a holiday or if I wouldn’t have started to get more social. I’m pretty sure that if these things wouldn’t have occurred, I would have still been able to continue my old life, or at least the parts of it that did not change due to the COVID-19 crisis. I would have kept working and exercising, I would have remained vegan and I would have spend all my free time taking care of my family.

This sounds like a live I should be living. I mean, if this would still be my life, nothing would seem to be wrong with me. But is this imaginary perfect life would have continued, I would have never been able to be happy or feel joy. Life would have continued to be a flat line, representing a normal that did not fit the real me. If my breakdown wouldn’t have happened, I would have continued the lie I was living.

A chance to stop the lie

I am starting to see my breakdown as an opportunity, as chance to change myself into a better person that will live a much richer life. The first few months have been hard, everything I thought I knew disappeared abruptly, but once I started to accept that I basically just needed a reset, things became much better, and I started to recognize how hard I needed a change in life and in myself.

Going through a burnout is not a bad thing, it is instead a way of our bodies telling us that we are not doing the things in life that are good for us, a way to make us realize that we are living according to the wrong values and that the time has come to discover what is really important. A burnout is a sign of our bodies telling us that we are out of memory, that we are using more than we have and we need to rearrange the things that we spend out memory (or energy) on.

Blue screen of death

My reset button got activated when I started to feel joy in my life, something I didn’t allow myself to feel for decades. I believe that in this moment, my subconsciousness suddenly realized I needed more of this new feeling of joy. But everything inside me, all my values, we’re preventing me from this feeling, resulting in a big crash.

The way I used to live my life didn’t allow space for my new discovered feeling, there wasn’t a way to live according to my old values and at the same time experience joy. I couldn’t find a way to combine my new value with my old ones and I started doubting everything I had believed in till that point. As a result of all this trying and all this doubt, I got stuck, unable to figure out what to do, and what followed was my blue screen of death, my need to reset.

What happens right after this moment is extremely scary, it is the period in which everything is turned off, the time that you are turned off. For some people exhaustion might be the main feeling in this phase, and you’ll find yourself just sleeping for days. For me it was the week in which I couldn’t do anything besides crying, producing a constant stream of tears without any clear reason was the only thing I was capable of for days when I was turned off.

Everything got lost

After being off for a while, the restart begins. For a minute (or a couple of days in real time), you believe that you just have to wait until you can log in and continue with what you were doing before your crash, like nothing happened and everything will quickly return to normal. But once startup is completed you will find out it’s not that simple. I had couldn’t log in, I didn’t have anything to continue with, everything that had been there before got erased.

The discovery that everything I had was gone took a lot of energy from me. It was hard to the emptiness that had surrounded me and instead of trying to create something new, I was desperately searching for my old stuff for weeks, without any result.

A fresh start

But after a while I found myself able to give in to my situation. I stopped trying to go back to what I had lost and instead started to recognize the all consuming emptiness as an opportunity for a new start. I started to rediscover myself and whenever I would be confronted with something from the past I would even reevaluate the relevance of this part of my life, only allowing the things that I truly felt comfortable with. My burnout have me the chance to reset myself completely, the opportunity to create new values and principles that fit me much better than the old ones.

Even today, while I still don’t have enough energy to do more than two hours of “must” activities, I feel how much better I feel compared to before my crash. I certainly do much less than I’m supposed to do but I feel good with it. I started to value my days with how I feel, I no longer measure a good day with my performances. I let go of my old expectations of having to be useful all the time and instead I’m truly listening to myself, my true self, and I value making her feel good.

Space for the truth

The fact that I’m now able to give in to exhaustion, listen to my feelings and accept my mistakes is due to my burnout. My old values of performance and taking care of other people would have never given me the feelings of belonging and understanding I experience today. Without my reset, without a fresh start, I wouldn’t have had room to discover these new things, my old values would have simply remained inside me, using all the energy and space required for my new discoveries.

I am grateful for my breakdown, I am even grateful for the darkness that marked the start of it. I am grateful for how I feel today, how I don’t let myself be bothered by my little amount of energy, nor by what I’m supposed to do. Instead, I am able to be happy with the person I am and this new kind of happiness, that comes with peace and joy, is the best thing I’ve felt in a long time. I had a great life but I always lived in a kind of bubble, unable to really be part of anything or even myself. Like I was inside this snowball thingy (snow globe?) that looks nice from the outside but as actually no connection or interaction with the real world.

Break free!

My burnout gave me the opportunity to break out of my bubble and finally find a way into the real world. It made me realize that I deserve more than just a glimpse of life. I do deserve to be a real part of everything, a real person. I do deserve love and joy but I’m also allowed to feel sadness and pain. I deserve to be as human as everyone else and most importantly, I deserve to be free.

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