Yesterday I took a last minute day off, and it was one of the best decisions I’ve made in a long while.
This year has been a really tough one – it’s been full of death and despair, and that’s before I bring any of my pain, diagnoses and struggles into the picture. During this time, I have been heavily reliant on work and this blog to distance myself from the things that have been going on, and to give me a routine to keep myself going. I didn’t have an option to curl up on the sofa and not get back up, because I had a job to get on with, I had a blog to write, and I packed my social life so full with events that I didn’t have a spare second to think (you also had to ask me to do something 3 months in advance!) But there is only so long you can keep this up for, and in the past two weeks I managed to reach my breaking point.
I was staying at work until 9pm some nights, and starting my days at 7am. I wasn’t sleeping well at night. I was keeping myself so busy that I managed to burn myself out. The added stress of everything that has recently been going on and the differed grief that I didn’t let myself feel earlier this year snowballed, and the stress from work (that would usually be more than manageable) all got too much. I ended up crying during a catch up with my manager when asked how things were going, and it was he who suggested I take a day off this week, and just have some time to myself to recuperate.
After I received my diagnosis of endometriosis and adenomyosis in August, I thought things would improve. Finally having an answer for my pain should have put my mind at rest, but this was not the case. My anxiety and depression (which I thought I had under control) came back with a vengeance. And I starting forcing myself into isolation, I pulled away from friends and socialising and even colleagues at lunch time.
At my post-op follow up, I received the news of my rather shitty odds of conception. And while at 24 it isn’t my immediate priority, it was still very difficult to hear and get my head around. It felt (and still does) like every post I saw on social media was people announcing a pregnancy, or showing pictures of their babies, or talking about their lives with babies and so on. I just didn’t feel like I could get a break from being hounded by everyone with their babies, and it is constantly on my mind – every time my mind had a spare second to think (which is why I pushed myself so hard to keep my mind busy). I found myself wanting to isolate myself from friends with babies, because it was like opening the wound up again and rubbing more salt in it. I just couldn’t bear the thought of it, but I haven’t actually admitted this to any of them.
Sometimes it just takes someone else to point out that you need a break, or you need a day for yourself to make you realise that you do. We are all so good at helping others, at recognising when someone else needs help, or a break, but we make ourselves push through when we would advise others to quit or rest. As human beings, were typically bad at taking our own advice, but it is so important to rest when your body and mind need it. You’re no good to anyone if you’re about to burn out.
My rest day involved having an early night and a long lie in, brunch and a lovely catch up with a friend (which quickly turned into far too many mulled wines), and then relaxing at home watching Grey’s Anatomy on the sofa and cooking a Shepherd’s Pie. When I got back to work today, I felt so much better (although I would definitely have preferred to be at home having a lie in). Just taking that time for myself, and letting myself rest did me a world of good.
So, if you are struggling, or pushing through and you feel like you’re heading towards breaking point, then let this be your reminder to look after yourself. Take a day for yourself. Self care matters, and that should come first – before any pre-arranged social commitments, or work schedules, because you’re no use to anyone if you get yourself into that state.
I will be continuing to put myself first and practice more self care (after yesterday was so helpful), and I will be scaling back my social commitments dramatically, I will be taking myself out of situations that make me feel uncomfortable and I will be making sure that I really look after myself.