This weekend I felt the itch to blog, to share something with you here, kind and gentle reader. I was working on my Something Good post for Monday, reading a post Austin Kleon had made about this being a Leap Year and February having 29 days, suggesting a 29-day challenge. I thought to myself, “Hey, I’ve been writing a lot but not sharing on my blog, maybe I should do this challenge even though I’m starting a day late.” After I finished working on my other post, I created another, a Day of Rest one. As I stared at the blank screen thinking about how to start, I felt dizzy, had to grab the sides of my desk to steady myself. In that moment I realized I needed to rest, not write about it.
Before I go any further, I need to be clear about my privilege. It allowed me to retire, it allows me to do the things I need to do right now to heal, it allows me to take a step back and reevaluate and take things slow, it allows me choices. I am fully aware as I write about the ways in which I am struggling, I also have access to so much support, a safety net that others just don’t.
When I quit my CSU job, I had a very clear plan of what I wanted to do next. I’ve spent the past 10+ years making a plan and creating a foundation. I left room for the specific details to shift if necessary, but I had a very clear idea, a specific mission. I knew I’d need a bit of time to regroup and recover once I actually stopped working at CSU, but I thought I’d take the summer off like usual and start in the fall. That isn’t what happened at all.
I had no idea until I stopped how truly burnt out I was. And even when I identified it as “burnout” I didn’t realize how deep it ran, how serious it was, or how long it was going to take to heal. I had absolutely nothing on reserve, no resilience. I was like a dried out, overstretched rubber band about to snap. I was numb and tired, and when I wasn’t I was filled with rage and grief. To say I’d “hit a wall” was a super accurate description of how I felt, hit it at 100 miles an hour after getting run over by a truck.
In the simplest terms, my plan was to teach and write. And yet, the kind of teaching I do requires holding space for people working on big stuff, which requires me to be my most stable, sane version of myself. As an introverted hsp, on a regular day when I’m at my strongest and most flexible, it takes a lot of energy (and then recovery) to do so, and right now, I just don’t have it to spare. My writing, particularly anything I write about my lived experience, requires that I revisit and re-experience some painful, hard things, and that also requires stability, sanity, and energy.
I experience fatigue, anxiety, and depression from various sources; perimenopause, burnout, S.A.D., complex-ptsd, Hashimoto’s, and being hsp, (add to this list things happening with people I love and in the larger world that provide real and direct reasons to be anxious, sad, and tired); and on most days, I’m not at capacity to teach or write certain things. My efforts focus instead on coping and healing — rest, therapy, self-care, etc. — honoring where I’m at and what I need. I am teaching one regular weekly yoga class with a small group of regulars, writing and reading a lot, and on some days I am able to cross something off my larger to-do list that moves me one tiny step closer to showing up more directly.
That being said, thank you for still being here. Thank you for continuing to share this space with me, for showing up and offering your support. Thank you for not giving up, for doing the healing you need to do, for honoring what you need and want, for helping when you can, for continuing to try. Your presence and efforts encourage me, and I’m so grateful.
I really appreciate this post, Jill. You are a bit ahead of me on what I think will be a very similar journey. I know that, in the past, when I’ve been in situations that were unhealthy for me, I didn’t fully understand/feel the extent of the damage until I was out of them. I am coming to a potential transition point, and I’ve been looking hard at the experiences and thoughts of those who have gone before me. Like you, I have been relatively privileged (and am still so). But also like you, I’ve got some stuff–life stuff and body stuff. I can’t wait to see how it all unfolds for you. Sharing the story here is generous of you.
It’s so easy when we are in it to push past fully processing things, but as soon as you stop, it’s right there waiting for you — that’s the good news and the bad. ❤