Write about burnout. What does it feel like? What are your burnout triggers?
Burnout is when I believe I can ‘push through the pain’ when it is acute because I cannot miss work which leads to a severe increase in insomnia, which leads to longer and more acute migraines, which leads to sleep deprivation… and then status migraines where I am barely sleeping or not sleeping at all and dehydration at times because I can get very ill very fast with severe IBS-D that comes with migraine. It feels like desperation. Like being between a rock and a hard place. Can’t call in sick… can’t function through the pain. It is a slippery slope into hell. That happens over and over and over again. There is no such thing as ‘catching up on your sleep’ and no pain reduction when you have no functioning migraine preventative and unable to treat the daily migraines since you can only use a triptan three days out of seven. Triggers are everything that triggers migraines and working full time so you cannot reduce the migraines in any way… like taking a triptan at work and keeping on working, such that all the things that aggravate the migraine rather make the triptan only ‘sort of work’ and then it comes right back soon after, which means that triptan was useless and wasted wasn’t it? So one day rolls into another and soon the migraine lasts more than one day. Worst trigger being lack of sleep because a untreated migraine, which would be quite a few, can cause my already bad insomnia to be quite severe and the lack of sleep means I wake up with that migraine still raging… and down the rabbit hole I go.
Until I miss work. And have to deal with that guilt and stress that causes. That is chronic migraine hell when you work and it just never ends. And you are just expect to handle it… and not miss work. And not go crazy. Which inevitably leads to… the pit of despair…
What gets you OUT of the pit of despair when nothing is going your way?
I admit for the last couple of years I have lived in the pit of despair when it comes to chronic migraines just because I was having some extreme difficulties coping with work, pain levels, insomnia and mood. Work is like this intense onslaught of sensory overload and this constant struggle to think through the pain and mask the pain. So when at home I needed alone time to recuperate. Well, I was not really functioning at that point anyway so it was more like I needed something to just distract me from the pain, which is how I get myself out of the pit of despair. Not thinking about the pain. Thinking about it… very bad idea. I can’t stress that enough because I could think myself into such bad despair… nothing like being in acute pain on a Wednesday and wondering how the hell you are going to make it to Friday. So distractions are the way to go.
1) I read a lot. A lot a lot. People think that is weird with migraines and migraines with the insane amount of visual auras I get… but only enough I can read in the very fast skimming fashion I do for fiction in very dim lighting that is indirect and most people would find uncomfortable to read in. And I find it the perfect escapism and one I have indulged in since I was a kid. Not one I will give up on. And when the pain is so intense I cannot read that is very depressing because those days I can’t do anything but lay there and just exist.
2) Creative writing. I write fantasy fiction ebooks and I suppose it is like the ultimate escapism because I create the world and the story and can just dive right in there. Only issue of course is the vast amount of transposed letters and aphasia typos and so forth I need to edit and then edit again and then edit again. But the actual creation process I love. and again… it is a distraction, it points my mind away from thoughts I don’t want to be thinking amount and immerses it into a passion I love.
3) Social media- all the blogging and tumbling and facebook paging and tweeting and facebook groups keep me connected and this is a very good thing for me. I need to get my frustrations out there. I need to understand I am not alone. I am a hermit and I am too isolated so I need to keep the connections I have. Plus when I am in a lot of pain and something is stressing me out or frustrating me a great deal it feels better to get it out rather than hold it in.
4) Just relaxing and listening to some really good music. Not thinking anything at all. Not depressing music. Sometimes dance music and busting out some goofy dance moves. Sometimes just laying on my back and listening to something mellow. Sometimes meditating. Music can be a wonderful tool to shut my mind the hell up, which is a good thing.
5) Yoga and or walking: a little exercise not a lot but a little can make me feel good. Grounds me a bit. And again stops the mind from thinking for a little bit.
6) Therapy: Because I have been having some problems I have decided to see a psychologist regularly to help with additional coping methods for the pain I cannot reduce. I think it is a good idea for anyone with a great deal of chronic pain… we don’t always have all the answers when it comes to coping strategies and why not have someone to help us out with some new ones?
7) When all else fails… sleep. Sometimes I cannot distract myself from the pain. I am unable to do anything. And this is difficult. Sometimes a good nap will help not only with the pain but make me feel a little better and get me through the day.