Thursday, September 19, 2013

Emotional and Mental Burnout

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I have never been one of those peeps that shy away from talking about the hard stuff of life. In fact, I embrace it. I believe this is how change and growth comes about. Just ask my bestie (you know who you are). In the short 6 years we have known each other we have covered every imaginable topic you can think of. Seriously...

I have felt for a while now I needed to address this topic publicly but I have been afraid. Very afraid. I don't want those who live near me to judge me, I don't want to be treated like I am broken, but I do want to say it out loud because I am learning I am not the only one in my boat. But let's face it... who wants to publicly state their current weakness (admit it, they are always changing)? 

I believe most of us have a very desperate desire to connect with others, to be accepted for who we are, but feel that being accepted might mean that our flaws aren't part of the acceptance package. And with that train of thought, we don't talk about the hard stuff. We try to fold it into a pretty little package, where it is neat and tidy, and of course always makes sense. And then POP! There goes the imaginary bubble on that one. And to add to this, we always hear about the remarkable outcome of stressful situations, but we don't hear about the time spent in the trenches before the sun starts to shine again.

I am just gonna say it: I am struggling. I have arrived in crazy land! I am not handling things the way I once did, I keep telling myself it's okay and life will start to get better -but it isn't. I used to be one of those people who could roll with the punches and I took life one crisis at a time. But not now. Not as of late. 

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The other week, during a spat with my husband (I know, I am probably the only one who does that, right? Ha!) I began to feel things I had never felt before. My chest became really tight, my pulse was racing, I could barely swallow, and I began to feel something more than anger. What do they call it? Rage maybe? I also felt like I wanted to cry, and about 30 seconds later it was gone and I became...numb. After we decided to take a break from making our individual points, I felt beyond restless. Like I couldn't sit still, but I couldn't focus either. It was like I was uncomfortable in my own skin. I then began to feel exhausted! Also, in the last 3 months, I have become a yeller. I never was before. I could talk calmly yet sternly, but not yell. I have become irrational too. What IS this crazy making?...

It was an Anxiety attack.

They were a result of Situational Anxiety & Trauma Responses. That is what they call it. These responses are your body's normal response to abnormal situations/behaviors that happen repeatedly.

Let's recap my last year:
  • August: Car Accident.We were hit by a semi truck at 55 mph. I fractured L2, and crushed my knees into the dash board.
  • October: Dad diagnosed with leukemia. But it was okay, he had the "good" kind.
  • November: Dad given 4 weeks to live.
  • December: Waiting for dad to die...
  • January: Debilitating knee pain begins. Can't physically do what I want.
  • February: Relational issues heighten with my husband. Beginning to recognize his childhood has become a huge problem.
  • March: Knee surgery. Major complications. That happens when you are allergic to propylene stitches and the doc uses them anyways. I was on crutches for 4 weeks. I was told I would never run again. Ever. I was training for a marathon at the time of the accident.
  • April: My dad, outliving his timeline by 4 months, leaves this life.
  • May: Move my mom from Layton to West Jordan. Well I didn't, because I couldn't help with the state of my knee. But I did feel the stress of not being able to help.
  • June: Todd and I began and intensive therapy program to deal with the issues of childhood and what they have added (or taken away) from our marriage.
  • July-present: Knee has become a huge issue. I feel like I have lost all sense of whatever control I once had. And I am going to counseling once a week.

Did you know, when you start talking about your issues it actually stimulates growth of neurons and synaptic connections between neurons. What does that mean you ask? It means your brain processes the hurt, loss, grief, and all over crappy state of being you are in and then you feel it even more.  All sense of control is gone. My house is a mess. I feel like I am barely qualified to be a parent at times. All because my senses feel overstimulated half the time. That my friends, is craptastic.

So, what am I doing about it now? Taking it one day at a time. Have you ever thought about that. NO! Of course not. Because we are all planners in some way or another.We think about tomorrow and the next day and the next. So taking it one day at a time to most people is a saying. But for me, it is reality.

I am taking it one day at a time...

Occasionally by the hour...

And sometimes by the minute...

And you can't save the good days up so you can deal with the bad either. It is like the story of the Children of Israel lost in the wilderness (Old Testament) and they depended upon the Lord to give them manna. You know, they woke up and found it outside the doors of their tents? And if they tried to save the manna, it became rotten. Yeah, I get it now. I have to trust that God will provide for me.... Every. Single. Day.


miss kristen said...

I love you so. much. Thank you for sharing. This helped me by reading this. And if you need anything just ask. I know it's the Vander Linden in us to just tough it out, but I'm serious. Anything you need.

Brianna said...

Its so lonely and hard to feel like you are going crazy and out of control of everything in your life. Burnout is the exact word for it. How often do we take care of ourselves? How do we reframe our minds to not feel selfish when we practice self care? All I know is, I feel what you are feeling, and its nice to know I'm not the only one. Thank you for your vulnerability in posting this. *hugs*

April Schmidt said...

Miss Kristen, I love you too. It is definitely not something people enjoy talking about and I am hoping this post takes the shame away from what some of us feel. Thank you so much for your support!

Brianna, it is way to true. As women we tend to care fro everyone but ourselves. I will soon be addressing this subject too!Thanks for your comments