Burnout: let’s taco ’bout it

Ha! I have to admit, I do think I am very clever and hilarious at times. And I take pride in that.

Self-righteousnouss aside, I hope that a light and funny title like the one above will invite you all to read this post about burnout. Because although it can be a difficult and sensitive subject (as are a lot of things I have a tendency to blog about๐Ÿ˜…), it doesn’t have to be painful to talk/blog about.

I am slowly humbling myself and realizing that my struggles don’t define me. That I can both be depressed, and very happy with life. As a new mentor of mine loves to say, it’s “both and”. I think it’s important to learn to live in that grey zone, in that uncomfortable, uncertain zone.

No growth comes from staying in your comfort zone. And yeah, learning to live with uncertainty is not the easiest, at first, but slowly I am learning that it’s so much easier to allow ourselves to be fluid. It’s easier to surrender to the this uncomfortable and challenging process that makes you question every single thing you ever thought you knew. Especially when the alternative is to live in comfortable misery.

Alright, enough philosophical talk ๐Ÿ˜‚ we are here to Taco bout burnout, compassion fatigue, and who is really responsible for all of it.

If you have read my previous posts (and you should๐Ÿ˜‰), by now you will be familiar with my story:

– Diagnosed with depression at the age of 13/14;

– Tumultuous teenage years (which I have yet to extensively blog about, but I will. Eventually);

– Graduated from Ottawa University with a Bachelor of Nursing science in 2013;

– Worked full time as RN in intensive care for barely two years, until I had a panick attack that signaled my overwhelming burnout

– Slowly returned to work in the fall of 2015 with a vengeance to prove that I was not weak, so I simultaneously prepped for a body building competition while also deciding to return to school to become a Primary Healthcare Nurse Practitioner;

– Moved to Kingston in September 2016 to complete my master’s/NP diploma, and struggled to cope with the stress and depression that this transition triggered

– Moved back to Ottawa in September 2018, moved in with my then boyfriend and started working full time as attending NP in a Long Term Care home

– Had a breakdown/spiritual awakening in January 2019 that has lead to a very transformative/challenging year thus far

And here we are now, July 2019.

Again, recovering from a burnout. Or potentially, *still* recovering from the burnout that manifested itself in 2015.

When my ex first mentioned this idea to me, that I potentially never actually healed from my previous burnout, I was downright insulted.

It triggered so much in me. And I didn’t even know it.

How could he accuse me of that!? How could he label me as weak, depressed and, frankly, an idiot!? Who did he think he was? Pff.

My Ego took over and I went into full defense mode. I denied the mear thought that I had potentially been weak enough to have stayed burnt out for the past 4 years of my life. I would not accept that as my reality. I am not weak, I told myself.

Fast forward 3 months, and I am at a yoga retreat where one of the speakers bluntly told us that being burnt out is just a failure to take responsibility for ourselves. Shit.

And then a few days after that (last week), as I spoke to a new life coach on the phone, she compassionately called me out on my bullshit. She said “Burnout once, these things happen. Burnout twice, that’s on you”.

Well shit.

In that moment, I simultaneously felt a deep sense of sadness, and a deep sense of relief and hope.

In that moment, I finally saw, with so much clarity, how I have been the master creator of my own burnout. And there is SO much power in that realization.

I don’t want to discount anyone’s experience of overwhelm, depression, anxiety or burnout. But please, oh please, do yourself a favor, put your Ego aside for a minute, and just maybe consider the idea that the struggles you are facing are not a result of your external circumstances, but rather a reflection of your internal world.

I say this to you, my dear reader, as much as to my Self.

Let this be a gentle and compassionate nudge, to give you the courage to look yourself in the mirror, and see how powerful and mighty you really are.

Burnout is real. Depression is real. Anxiety is real. Mental illness is fucking real.

But that doesn’t mean that you (or I) get to take the back seat, label ourselves as victims or sufferers, and blame everything and everyone around us for our struggles.

I don’t know where I am going with this, I’ve clearly gone on a rant here.

But my point is that burnout will exist, for me and for you, as long as we perceive that we are helpless victims of it.

So what now?

Well, first, I am practicing self compassion, and acknowledging the fact that I have been freaking overwhelmed for the past 4 years of my life, and I need time to recover.

I am choosing to be an active participant in my recovery, by taking joyful responsibility for the part I have played in my burnout.

I am asking for help. Because I don’t know how to help myself, yet.

But I am willing to learn, and I am willing to heal.

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