Burn-out: Looking back
02 March 2020
This is the second of a serie blogs which will tell the story of Carin Jansen. Carin will write about her experiences with being burned-out. In the first blog Carin gave an insight on how her burn-out started. In this blog, Carin will give you an overview of the signs of her burn-out.
To be honest, this part is difficult to write. Currently, I am in a good place. Nevertheless, writing about the worst part of my life remains difficult. When I was halfway through the story, I decided not to list every little detail which resulted in a depression and burn-out. The aim of this blog was to help others understand that a burnout is not scary, and especially not a sign of weakness at all but it became a summary of the things that bothered me.
Let’s look back at the signs leading up to the point where I realised something had to change. Even though there is no real starting point of a burn-out, there are a few things I would like to shed some light on. I was living a fairly happy life. A partner, a good job, a roof over my head and three adorable cats. The apartment was a bit small and not my choice, I moved in with my partner, but selling it to buy a new house was near impossible. It had been on the market for several years and most of my stuff was stored in the basement. My body was not really healthy either. I have had problems with my back for years and nobody seemed to know why. When I finally found something that worked, I was really happy; no more pain. And then I had an accident. I was learning to get my motorcycle license when I fell off my bike. Bruised ribs, mild concussion and a broken self-esteem.
During the two years, I have worked for my last employer. I have had a lot of ups and downs. Every time I thought the direction I decided to take was the right one, something bad happened. One of my cats died suddenly, the second one got really sick and died after a few months. The third one lost her marbles which resulted in dementia and a lot of noise during the nights, keeping us awake for a very long time. Our apartment was hard to sell, so I began fixing up the place to feel more at home. That resulted in a lot of struggle with my partner, so I stopped.
However, I stayed positive, worked hard and fought for my beliefs and way of life. At work there were two juniors starting at the company and I was asked to mentor them. Fine. With all my enthusiasm, I began to train and coach them. I tried to work it out according to the guidelines I was given. In the meantime, a large study involving many different sites and patients was picking up in the Netherlands. I was juggling a few balls up in the air. However, I did not mind. I had a high sense of responsibility to get things done in time. I was good at my job and loved using my creative brain and my communicative and supportive skills to solve the issues the study was bringing. The study teams at the different sites were very happy with all the support they were getting from me, even though study management was not.
There were a few changes in management, and I was struggling to be heard. I had too much on my plate, but since I was hired as a senior I ‘should be able to work it out.’ When I only received notices of being late with reports and deadlines, and no mentioning of all the good I was doing, I started to feel more and more worthless and out of place. No matter what I tried; therapy, life coach, work coach, time management courses, nothing seemed to work. I found myself working until midnight to meet deadlines. Tried to do more things I liked to stay positive. However, my heart was racing, my body was shaking, and I felt really bad almost every day. There seemed no end to my search for a happy life.
Thus, when I bumped my head, as written in the first blog, and called in sick, I was forced to do nothing and to be alone with my feelings and thoughts. I was worthless. I could not keep up with the expectations at work, I let my cats die, could not build a nice home for me and my partner… I could not even get out of bed anymore. I fought so hard, worked my ass off to keep up with the expectations. Maybe, just maybe… I was not on the right path for me…
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Stay tuned for Carin’s third blog!