It is OKAY to not be OKAY
Remember this as you feel like everything is breaking around you. In a society fueled by performance and the go go go lifestyle it may seem that any type of slowing down, mentally or physically, is utterly unacceptable. I am here to tell you it is absolutely okay to take time for yourself. So…let me talk to you about burnout for a minute.
Throughout my life, I never knew how to slow down nor did I think I needed to. I was always a high performer and motivation seemed to be never ending with me. Maybe, that’s why when my dad asked me not to work in college, I decided to go get not one, not two, but four jobs all whilst taking 18 units and maintaining a 4.0 GPA and social life. Looking back, I have no idea how I did it. Also looking back, I now see how and why I got physically ill and mentally drained. It is no wonder why a few months after college, I got the most sick I have ever been in my life. It was pretty much the universe’s way of telling me to slow the fuck down and chill the hell out. My burnout looked a lot like feeling lost, becoming severely ill (with black mold poisoning), and having major depressive and anxious symptoms that I am still working with today. Of course, I could say that my illnesses were totally separate from what my burnout was, but I have come to believe that my immune system was not strong enough to fight in the first place because of stress, fatigue, etc. which only then led me to be able to do one thing… REST.
At first the resting was so uncomfortable. It was ironically the most demanding thing I ever had to do. I felt weak, I felt lazy, I was scared, and I just wanted to be “normal” again. I felt like my 20s were running away from me and I would never be able to get them back. I would longingly look at old photos and think of all the good memories I used to have. I would look at other people’s photos and want to do what they were doing. I would do absolutely nothing for days at a time and just wish to do something productive. But I couldn’t, and life did not want that for me at that time. I was trying to rush my recovery and almost run away from every thought and feeling I had during that very dark, very isolating time. I would wish for my pain to go away so I could return back to my old self. The thing was though, I was never supposed to go back to being my old self and that in and of itself is/ was a tough pill to swallow.
Through all of this, I learned that you cannot rush your healing process. And every single person’s “process” looks a little bit different. Ultimately, you cannot judge yourself for what you are going through and as awful as it sounds, sometimes leaning into the most uncomfortable moments is what makes us grow the most. So, please, if you are really going through “it” (if you are, then you know what “it” means and how painful “it” can be) then please just be kind to yourself. Even when that dark cloud rolls in and it starts to pour and you don’t ever know if you will see even just a sliver of light again, remind yourself of how strong you are. That even you, are going through all of this to grow and to evolve into exactly who you are supposed to be. And lastly, just remember you are loved because even on the days where you feel alone, there is someone else feeling that same way which in turn, makes you NEVER alone. You can do it and you will be okay. With love,