This time last year I was drowning. I was so stressed and didn’t know that the stress was causing a major health collapse that would take more than a year to recover from.
Recovery from my burnout has happened in a few phases. First, I withdrew to work at home in the first week of November 2014. When that didn’t work, I took a four month sabbatical from work, to remove myself from the responsibility that comes with running a business. When that didn’t work, I resigned and took the remainder of 2015 off entirely in order to recover fully.
Only recently I discovered that I was misdiagnosed and that I could have recovered quicker with more suitable medication. But I have to trust that this was what was supposed to happen for me. I needed a year to figure out a new path and to rest completely in order to do so.
On Sunday I finished writing my first book. That’s perhaps why I have been neglecting my blog a little lately. But I am pleased with what I have delivered and I know that it’s ready for external review. I accept that I’m only in the early stages and that I have a great deal to learn about publishing. I know that I might look back and realise that I made mistakes but that’s just part of the process.
That is also true of my recovery. I look back and realise that I could have been doing many things differently in order to heal faster. But perhaps the time duration of the healing is just right in order for the next opportunity to emerge. Perhaps if I was better quicker I would have jumped into the wrong thing and ended up with bigger health concerns.
I understand fully that I won’t be able to earn a living off my book and probably all my future books. And I’m OK with that. I love writing and my life is enriched by it, whether or not it brings me income. I am confident that the right opportunity will emerge at the right time. The time when I have adequate energy to devote to it, and something that makes me feel energised. I want to do something really useful with my work. I won’t do meaningless work because I’m aware of who Authentic Kathy is and what she needs to survive.
Only in the process of recovery and introspection, have I discovered my strengths and what makes my brain come alive. Never again will I be in a job where it’s a grind and I’m hating it. My income might not be so great but it was pretty low in my own business for five years anyway. Money is not what drives me, meaning drives me.
I use my understanding of myself and my strengths as my rudder. I cross reference it when an opportunity emerges to make sure that it is aligned to what I love and what I’m good at. I steer myself away from negative people who suck the joy out of life. I spend time with people who lift me and who believe in me.
I’m really glad that I didn’t know how long it would take to recover. I’m glad that I’ve learned to lean into it and to take the lessons that are being offered. I still wish I didn’t let it go so far as to get a lifelong illness but that’s what it took. I’m not a quitter and I would never have given up until something dramatic happened.
There is always a down side with strengths. It’s the yin and the yang. I used to think that I was invincible and that motivation and perseverance could conquer everything. But I’ve learned that our health can be fragile and that giving up something harmful is a good thing. I’ve become smarter at figuring out who and what is harmful too.
I am amazed at how fast this year has passed. I’ve spent a year at home and even with the illness, it has been great. I have had a wonderful time investing in myself. I’ve spent a lot of time unravelling what happened and how I became so stressed without realising it. But it was a necessary process and I’m grateful for it. I now feel empowered to enter 2016 knowing who I am and what I need. I don’t think I’ve ever felt as loved and supported as I do now.
I’m confident that my future is bright and that I can achieve all the things that I’d like to with what remains of my life.Follow me: