Well my friends, it's happened again.
No, not getting chased by the police as I run ballock naked across the border, or getting hammered then waking up to discover that I've bought over 100 games on Steam.
Whats happened? I'm feeling sick, disorientated, confused, detached, self-isolating, even more cynical than normal, memory problems, insomnia, anxiety, and depression... No, I am not on a period, nor am I pregnant!!! ( I hope).
It's finally happened I've burned out. I am mentally and physically exhausted. And as much of a weakling as this makes me feel to say, the stress, exhaustion of recent work and life have quite frankly life has gotten to me.
You can recognise burnout, it has a distinct and horrible feel to it! The feeling of being completely useless, unable to think, and anxiety from the most stupid things. Yesterday, I had anxiety before going for a 6 mile run, a run I do 3 to 5 times a week but yesterday for some reason, I felt like I couldnt take a step out of my front door, I felt like panicking doing something I've done for over 20 years!
This can happen to anyone, from CEOs to Soldiers, from Nurses to Accountants. In the West our work/life balance can be out of whack. We're encouraged to push ourselves beyond what is natural. This is okay for a short period but sometimes this last longer and longer, then becomes the norm as your worklife becomes your entire life!
We're faced with many challenges, bills upon bills, paying for kids to go to school, paying TV license, trying to find work.
Life is hard for everyone, everyone you meet is fighting their own battle. Even though we may know nothing about it. As an observation, I've found work life in the UK to be far more draining and stressful than anywhere else. I work 12 hour days, every day when in the Middle East but am okay, I have a social network there but when back in the UK I find life far more stressful and can even go for days or weeks without speaking socially to anyone.
We can be faced with many hidden pressures beyond the obvious.
I am from a culture where men do not talk about their own feelings. I do not agree with this. Too many good men have had a short life as a result.No matter how tough we think we are, we all have feelings, we all have desires and we all hurt from time to time.
The past five years have been a hell of a journey, with Iraq, the Middle East and doing what I did almost singlehandedly. Funding for these projects has put a huge strain on my life, a choice I took and a choice I must deal with instead of bitching about it.
But, this year has been a bumpy ride, started off with my longterm relationship ending, finding a new home, work contracts unexpectedly being canceled and being let down by false promises.
Slowly I felt it happening, the tightening feeling around the head and throat, the sluggish thoughts, depression and pessimism creeping in. And this week, it hit me in the face like a sledgehammer.
I am sitting here, with a drink by my side and I frankly do not know what to do next. All I can do is try to recover but it will take months, finding paid work will be difficult.
For now, I am of little use until I get back on my feet, forming a cohesive thought is a challenge.
I've decided to delay returning to Turkey until the end of the year. I can barely count to 10, let alone speak another language or two.
In time, I will recover, I will once again stand tall, I will move forward and recover from this blow. Even though for now it is a struggle.
The reason for my article was not to seek sympathy but to show others that burnouts can happen to us all. It's a horrible feeling when you've been pushing the afterburners for too long your engine is going to give up. But it is something that can be addressed, even though you may feel burned out and useless you can get back to being yourself.
If you or anyone you know has any of the problems that I've described then please check out the following links
Psychology Today: https://www.psychologytoday.com/gb/blog/high-octane-women/201311/the-tell-tale-signs-burnout-do-you-have-them
Stress and burnout symptoms:https://www.verywellmind.com/stress-and-burnout-symptoms-and-causes-3144516
For help and advice please check out the following link for help. Never feel ashamed for reaching out to get support!
Until next time my friends, take care, be safe and if you ever see a strange Scottish man playing on a kids car toy thing then it's probably me or some random ax killer!