When I was 35, I went through the most horrific experience in my life : a burn-out. In the meantime, I have heard numerous people talking about this or going through the exact same state. Yet when it happened to me, I had no clue about what was going on or how to deal with it.
You see, we often forget that we’re in charge of our thoughts. We are really our own worst enemy. The habitual patterns that drive us nuts and drag us down are ultimately our own doing. At the time, I was stuck in a very unhappy marriage. It wasn’t unhappy by intent, but rather by lack of knowledge. I hadn’t learned to live or take care of myself. Now I found myself married to a controlling man with a slight form of autism. I myself as a human being in sé, I did not exist. I was just there to serve and to make the world turn round. Though today I still serve my children and my clients, but I do it with a smile. Because I have learned to enjoy my life and how to take better care of me.
“Oh I’ve heard all this mumbo-jumbo before,” Dorothy interrupts me. “And it all sounds good, except that it’s just words. I never know how to turn this into tangible acts.”
“Okay Dorothy, I hear you. Can you give an example ?” I ask her patiently.
“Well for instance when you hear somebody saying ‘It’s time to take your power back’. What the hell is that supposed to mean ? Am I to go up to someone, slap them in the face and demand they give it back?” Dorothy looks at me defiantly.
“I see.” I reply as my mind races how to explain this to her in simple terms. “What it really means is to take back control of your thoughts to break harmful habits and entrenched patterns.”
“Oh here we go again,” Dorothy answers haughtily. “So now it’s all my fault again ?”
“It is a bit. It takes two to tango.” I am not going to be thrown off track. “We spend a lot of time telling our brains what we can’t or shouldn’t do, and in doing so we create a lot of negative scenarios within our thoughts.”
“Humph,” Dorothy snorts back. “Give me an example of how this ever worked for you ?”
“You remember how I used to get really scared at night ? Always hearing noises or not daring to even step out into my own back yard at night, for fear of someone hiding in the bushes?” I give her my best example here.
“Oh yes, I do remember that. That fear went pretty far. You’d sleep badly, which of course affects your health and your mood.” Dorothy reflected. “Are you telling me you conquered this fear ?”
“I sure did.” I am proud to announce.
“How ?” Dorothy demands to know.
“Several things. For one, I imagined my worst case scenario of who could be hiding in the bushes just waiting to pounce on me.” I start out.
“Who ? Not your ex-husband, surely ? You even had those fears when you were married.” Dorothy looks puzzled.
“Graham.” I tell her.
“Graham ? You were afraid of your own biological father ? But you never even met the guy !” Dorothy exclaims.
“You’re right, I never met him. But from what I heard, he was a real piece of work. And the worst possible person to be hiding in those bushes. Pure evil embodied.” I go on to explain. “Next I turned my fear into anger. For how dare he, Graham, scare me in my own home ? And what did he think ? That I am totally defenceless ? I have three kids to protect, you know. Anyone coming between a female and her young is setting themselves up for a losing battle.”
“What a smart way to remove that incapacitating block!” Dorothy exclaims.
“It is, isn’t it.” I beam rather proudly. “Taking back your power, identifying the thoughts that paralyse you, actually help you realise the person you could be and then become that best version of yourself.”
“Something like a transformation ?” Dorothy asks.
“Yes indeed, a self-guided journey to transform yourself for the better.” I confirm.
“So what happened the day your candle burned out ?” Dorothy wants to know.
“I was living such a drear and monotonous life. I was convinced my wicked lover was going to kidnap me with a bunch of Japanese ninjas, and then hide me away underground as a sex slave forever.” I confess.
“Oh my, that’s bad…” Dorothy sounds dismayed. “How did you get out of that one?”
“I learned to laugh it off.” I reply. “There is great value in humour you know. I told myself I had taken a wrong turn on the motorway and got abducted by aliens. Hahahaaa.”
“No I meant how did you escape from the underground dungeon?” Dorothy insists.
“I didn’t escape, Dorothy dear.” Is all I reply for this time, and I sigh.
What do you think ? Ever experience a burn-out ? Let me know in the comments below.