The day I got into the shower and looked down – and realised I had a big problem.

It’s one of those things we usually do quite mindlessly. Without effort. Without ceremony.  Yet on this occasion, stepping into the shower pieced together a chain of events and associative symptoms that has led me to where I am now – sitting here sharing this, a little burnt at the edges.

One night last week, I took my regular evening shower. I stepped in and took the relief of the hot water streaming over me.  I was finding showers particularly comforting lately. Like a big warm hug they not only cleansed me of my day, they made me feel a little loved. A little worthwhile of the precious thing that is my council water.

But on this occasion, something felt weird. Something wasn’t right…

I came out of my drenched-with-water-love state and looked down.

Confused, I gasped!

I stood there – not naked – but ….

What? Why am I wearing my underwear in the shower?

Baffled, I retraced my steps to the shower…  how did I miss removing my final layer of clothing?  Which at this point was waterlogged and getting heavier and heavier.  Much how my heart was feeling when I finally realised… I think I have a bit of a problem here.

Perhaps I was – a little bit tired.

This wasn’t the first time I had experienced underwear-in-the-shower-syndrome. Just over 3 years ago I had my first episode.  I was working for a NGO at the time and it was clear that I was giving just a little more energy than I had available to be able to function as a normal human being at the same time as go to work.  And in this case, a series of nasty mishaps including a yucky car accident (which I’d like to point out was not my fault!) meaning my wheelbarrow pose in yoga has never been the same since…

My GP diagnosed it. Burn out.

Fast forward to today with a trail of awkward mishaps indicating I am doing a pretty good impression of someone who is exhausted (again).

Yep, me and burn out have become good pals.

A good sign I am exhausted? Reaching for high energy foods to keep me going.

A good sign I am exhausted is when I am constantly reaching for high energy foods to keep me going… Yum, but not doing anything other than prolonging the inevitable collapse to come…

A tidal wave of stressors (which have been relentless for what seems like an eternity) have taken their toll – and wham-bam you’ve got a girl who is exhausted. Burnt out and smoldering at the edges.

Light a match and watch her EXPLODE.

KAPOW!!!!!

That’s if she had the energy for a KAPOW. If she was to explode, it would probably more likely sound like a…

…plop…

Know the feeling too?

5 signs you know you have burn out:

  1. You have some sort of shower-incident (as per above)
  2. You go to make a cup of tea and instead of plugging the kettle into the wall, you turn on the gas stove and sit it on top of the flame – old school style. (Because you have had a kettle that has worked like that never.)
  3. You can’t find the milk. It’s in the cupboard. And it smells.
  4. You can’t sleep. But on the odd occasion you can sleep, this so-called period of restful time-out for your body to re-charge is filled with nasty dreams leaving you waking up either in a cold sweat, or crying like a 5-year-old.
  5. Your instagram feed is full of people with lives full of sunshine and rainbows and seemingly limitless time to post photos of their exercise outfits, beach view or latest favourite positive affirmation… And they aren’t at all affirming. In fact, it makes you want to choke the chia seeds out of them.
If I am able to sleep I usually end up having terrible nightmares. I've tried everything to stop them with no luck... so I have recently invested in a Dreamcatcher...  Nightmares be gone!

I’ve tried everything to stop nightmares with no luck… so I have recently invested in a Dreamcatcher… Nightmares be gone!?

And so dear sorellas the take homes of my sad sad story are these:

  • Watch for your own occasions of unfortunate mishaps (ie. Doing anything that doesn’t make too much sense).  If you are feeling the heat – do something about it.  Stop. Figure it out. Change it. Don’t let it get to the point where you are standing in the shower scratching your head.
  • If you think someone else you love dearly is starting to lose it – help them to help themselves. Sometimes we are our own worst enemy so it’s essential our no. 1 fans step up and slap us around a bit to get us going again (in a loving way of course).
  • Finally, be kind to others. You never know what type of day someone is having or what might be going on behind the scenes – so don’t push people’s buttons.

    To the Officeworks girl who I berated for pushing my said buttons – I’m sorry I lost my shit at you (and intentionally very loudly) in front of the 10 other customers queuing for your service.  However it doesn’t change the fact that you aren’t very good at your job and that the customer is always right. Just saying.

sunshine & sprinkles,

anna

Have you had burn out? What were your signs & symptoms and how did you recover? 

9 thoughts on “The day I got into the shower and looked down – and realised I had a big problem.

  1. oh dear – definitely some me time in order Anna. I think as women we always try and do everything and making sure we take the occasional step sideways for some selfish time out – is sanity saving. Usually its my glasses that remain on in the shower 😉

    • Glasses! That’s so funny – but i can imagine very easy to do!

      You are right – and I just don’t know how you mummas do it all and then some with the added time pressure of little ones around your feet as well. I feel hopeless compared to most of my friends with kiddies and what they seem to accomplish!

      How are you feeling by the way? Congratulations – such lovely news for you and your little family 🙂

      • hey Anna, not sure how this facebook stuff works so excuse me for butting in. What beautiful but sad words.
        I too are dealing with some issues..High % of PD sufferers get depressed…I have to deal with a failing body and the frustration and embarrassment that comes with it and a future that will be almost certainly worse………….but
        there are plenty worse off than me
        there’s too many things going well, things to enjoy
        I exercise what I like doing (footy training tonite)
        I let friends & family in and enjoy their generosity and love
        some sayings
        “if you’re going thru hell its best you keep going” churchill
        “doesn’t matter if the glass is 1/2 full or 1/2 empty, just drink it and top it up again” me
        “this world is a tragedy for those that feel and a comedy to those that think” Horace Walpole

        St Kilda finished 3rd last and have a bleak future ….but …………….they belted Freo last Sunday, geez it was good
        cheers beautiful one,
        Kev
        …………..now what do I do to send this bloody thing..click what thing?…i’ll try this

  2. Hi Kev – being new to facebook and blogs you are so far doing very well! Thanks for your message. For some reason I couldn’t reply directly above so I will post separately here…

    You are right – sometimes it helps to think about those that might be worse off than ourselves, to perhaps create some sense of gratefulness – that we are doing pretty ok in comparison…

    But sometimes I also think part of learning and getting stronger is through allowing oursleves to really feel the pain of our position, and then get to a point of acceptance that life can be a bit shitty but we will be ok. And how long this would take one person would be different to another. Only then I guess can you truly appreciate the positives that life can otherwise bring either in the present or the future – like your involvement with footy and friends. If you didn’t feel and understand your pain or sadness, those enjoyable occasions might perhaps be meaningless or something you didn’t look forward to as much?

    Either away, we should all stop being so hard on ourselves I reckon – we should all give ourselves a break! And take more Monday’s off work!

    P.S Love your quote – “doesn’t matter if the glass is 1/2 full or 1/2 empty, just drink it and top it up again”. Would love it even more if the glass contained a nice Riesling!?!

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