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Burnt out. Monday October 27, 2014

Last July, I burnt out. I could not sleep. I could not eat. I could not think. I went to the doctor. He signed me off work for two weeks, then one week, then another two weeks. It was not getting better. Migraines had started. My hands were shaking. Medication was making my mind blurry. At the beginning of August, I met with a counsellor who advised taking at least six months off. I resisted a lot: how could I the high achiever, the perfectionist, resign from a job that so many of my colleagues wanted? I handed in my resignation, which I could barely write. I thought that I was a failure.

In August, I found myself at a sunny place, surrounded by loved ones. They took me to the beach almost every day. They fed me good food. I stopped taking sleeping medication. I went completely off caffeine. I minimised sugar as much as I could. I started writing a gratitude list every day. Then I started writing a list of beautiful things every day. I barely had the energy even to compose a list. At one point, I remembered my counsellor's advice about reading a book entitled Finding Peace in a Frantic World by Dr Mark Williams.

At the start of September, the book arrived. It was an eight week mindfulness programme. I promised myself that I would follow it through. Around that time, I discovered Moodscope and I started recording my mood. I read your posts silently and kept recording each day. I started practicing yoga again. And I followed some of your advice: eating dark chocolate and putting together a treasure box. My concentration levels improved as much as I could watch films again. I started watching children's films: the Wizard of Oz, the Sound of Music, Mary Poppins.

October. My Moodscope scores have been improving. Mindfulness has brought me peace of mind. My migraines are gone. My hands are no longer shaking. I can now read and write with ease. My attention span is good enough. I can now sleep. This is the final week of the mindfulness programme. On Sunday, I am moving countries. A new job, a new house, new people. The other day I watched a TED video of someone giving advice how to come out of a closet. Well, this is me coming out of mine, with tears and a smile while writing this.

May you all be healthy, safe and happy.

With all my love

A Moodscope member.

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Anonymous Mon, Oct 27th 2014 @ 5:59am

Alexia! What an achievement! And what a brilliant read. Rest assured, there will be many others reading silently and taking your inspirational words as their starting point. Fantastic work and all the best for your move. You know we come with you right? :-)
Love from the room above the garage x.

Anonymous Mon, Oct 27th 2014 @ 6:25am

Ahh Alexia, I'm right with RATG. This really touched me. Such a timely reminder for me of the importance of being a friend to myself. I wish you all the best with you move. Keep up the good work. Suzy

Anonymous Mon, Oct 27th 2014 @ 6:30am

Thank you alexia, what a lovely blog. And absolutely a reminder to do the things that make us feel good and are positive. Very inspiring for a Monday morning. Best of luck with your move. Amy x

Di Murphey Mon, Oct 27th 2014 @ 6:42am

Dearest Alexia ~
Your post is a very generous shared learning and a reminder to the rest of us that small things matter a great deal and can have huge effects on our bodies.

It is rewarding to read of your accomplishments and your attitude toward them. It is my hope that this will continue with your brave move.

I wish you simple gifts of love and light, nights of stars, and animals/humans to love.
Di Murphey

Anonymous Mon, Oct 27th 2014 @ 7:06am

My Alexia what arefreshing inspirational post to wake up to on a dreary dark Monday morning.I can relate to such much that you have written.And your experience and words are such a motivational boost.Wishing you all the very best for your new start in life.

Hopeful One Mon, Oct 27th 2014 @ 7:14am

Congratulations on your achievement in recognising the situation,arresting the free fall and planning the climb out from the bottom of the cliff where you found yourself and for sharing and inspiring us with your experience.
May you be happy in your new job and surroundings
May you go in peace.

With all my love.

Anonymous Mon, Oct 27th 2014 @ 7:20am

Thank you, Alexia. That was a lovely read. It rang a lot of bells : my partner and I have both been there! Hell , at the time, but coming through it is like winning a well deserved medal! You will never be the same person again, you will be a better one. though, in all probability, with increased empathy for those fellow sufferers who burn out. No? Xxx

Anonymous Mon, Oct 27th 2014 @ 9:16am

It must have been difficult to walk away from a good job. I commend you for setting your limits and starting anew. It is wonderful that you were surrounded by positive and supportive people when you made the change in your life. After reading your story, I decided to purchase Dr. Williams book. The part about decreasing the amount of sugar in your diet is a great idea.

heather Mon, Oct 27th 2014 @ 11:14am

What a wonderful inspirational story. A marvellous achievement and I am sure we are all wishing you all the very best for the future. May I mention the Healing Power of Music (which we all know about) and is the theme on BBC Radio 2 currently. There was a wonderful episode on Good Morning Sunday (7.30 am) I caught it all this week because the clocks went back ! and another tonight at 10.30pm. Thank you for sharing all your experiences with us Alexia - you are inspirational.

Anonymous Mon, Oct 27th 2014 @ 1:43pm

Wow, well done and congratulations Alexia. You are so brave to have given up your job, helped yourself to get better with what sounds like a fabulous book...(Christmas list is getting longer!), and on top of it all, you are moving and not just moving house, but moving country too...we'll be along for the ride if you want to share, and will be here cheering you onwards and upwards! All the love in the world to you and yours, Karen xoxox

Anonymous Mon, Oct 27th 2014 @ 2:20pm happy for you and coming "out of the closet"....Burn out can be as bad as any other mental illness...and like all others takes time to refresh and regroup...sounds like you are well on your way...God Bless DaveB

Anonymous Mon, Oct 27th 2014 @ 3:19pm

A great read, a brave write, and an inspiration (over-used word but true) to someone (me) who's been sitting waiting fearing for too long. Very best of luck for the future. You deserve it.

Anonymous Mon, Oct 27th 2014 @ 3:27pm

Your post chimed with my own experience during 2007, though my recovery took longer as there were major physical challenges too. In 2008, I moved to a new home in a different country and try to be grateful each day for what I can still enjoy. Maintaining those good habits such as Moodscope, yoga practice
and low sugar / caffeine / alcohol can be a challenge, alongside new wonders and distractions, so good luck with your relocation Alexia.

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