My brain has been all over the show lately, or as I put it to my therapist, I have been ridiculously scatty of late. My brain has just felt like it is obsessing over a million things at once, none of which I can find a solid solution to because they aren’t problems that have a solution per se. They aren’t even problems. They are purely things my brain has decided to ruminate on because I am burnt out and I am less able to combat the irrational thoughts.

Burnout is annoying. There is no one-size-fits-all response to it. You can’t say for definite that a day off from work will help. You can’t say a good night’s sleep, a walk on the beach or a big mediation session will help. Once you’ve gotten to burn out it is very personalised to you and that particular burnout. In my experience, I have found that each burnout may require a different response because chances are, the events that have led up to that burnout are going to be different to the ones that led you there before.

Of course, the key thing is to combat burnout before it gets to that stage. Normally I am okay at this as I am very self-aware at this point. I knew I was heading for burnout. I think a vast majority of people are, at minimum, exhausted by life at the moment. After all, it hasn’t been an easy two years, has it? And that’s without our general lives and stressors. I have been postponing my burnout. I have effectively, been hitting snooze repeatedly for about 4 months now, so I knew it would catch up with me and here we are. The last month has been pretty damn exhausting, in all honesty.

I have been on it at the gym, but even that now has become difficult. My performance in this morning’s class was not up to my usual standard, and it’s important for me not to get frustrated by that as that will not help matters. I had a midweek boost as I carried out a breath-work session and breath-work is just incredible. I felt like a new woman afterwards, but overall, I am still burnt out. Thankfully I have a holiday to look forward to and I am hoping I will come back refreshed and ready to take on the world again. But was there anything I could have done to avoid this burnout in the first place? Quite probably.

When heading towards a burnout, rather than pressing snooze and powering through ‘because everyone is struggling and I have a holiday in (insert time frame here)’, like I have done this time, it’s about sitting down and considering how you’re feeling and asking that feeling what is it that you need? Looking back over the last couple of months, I have had a couple of additional stressors that have added to the burnt out. To an extent, some of them were self-inflicted because I have this habit of being overly critical of myself and my achievements, or rather, my perceived lack of achievement. I haven’t made the progress I had deemed I should have at this point this year. Pandemic? Nah, you still should have achieved more.

For me, being compassionate with myself would have been a good start. Talking truthfully with people about how I feel about certain things would help too. I do talk very openly and honestly with my therapist, after all, he does get paid to listen to my ramblings, but I still find to an extent, I am not fully open with people about my feelings about things in general. I give them the redacted notes about it. The abridged version. My latest therapy session led me to realise why I still do this. Of course, I am not talking about sharing your deepest, darkest thoughts with everyone, but I mean those closest to you, those you trust. I am terrified of being vulnerable.

A fear of vulnerability may seem ridiculous coming from someone who has shared quite a lot via a blog, but again, you just get the reduced versions and of course, I don’t bring everything up. I have always shied away from vulnerability for one reason or another. I was brought up to not share feelings, to not show that “weakness”. Of course, the opposite is true, vulnerability is strength, but my reasons for fear of vulnerability have changed or rather, have evolved as I changed over the last few years.

Speaking with my therapist on one particular topic I was saying I felt I hadn’t progressed enough in this year, we got onto the subject of my fear of vulnerability and it led to an aha moment. I bloody love aha moments, so satisfying, but I digress. I realised that with all the work I’ve done on myself and my mental health, I have finally become the person I knew I truly was. The real me. The True Leah, as my therapist calls her. Before, if someone rejected me in some way, chances are it was because I made them do it. It wasn’t True Leah, it was mentally unwell, sabotaging Leah. She pushed people away to protect me, the True Leah. Now she’s pretty much gone, who is left to protect me? No-one. If I am vulnerable with someone now and they reject me, they are rejecting True Leah, and that is going to hurt more. The task for me now is to trust that I can handle any rejection that may come my way. I’ve been through a lot and I am ridiculously resilient, so I know logically I can do it, it’s just getting my burnt-out brain to believe it too. Mental health and self-development is a marathon, not a sprint. We go on!

This has been longer than my average posts so if you are still here, I thank you and appreciate you. Much love, until next time.

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