Welcome to the Health Activist Writer’s Month Challenge brought together by WEGO Health – a social network for all health activists. Again, I am participating in the annual Writer’s Month Challenge in which I will be writing about my health activism and health condition based upon prompts given.
Today’s prompt is as follows:
Write about burnout. What does it feel like? What are your burnout triggers?
Ah, burnout! I am finding that I am experiencing burnout more and more frequently. For me burnout feels like overwhelming fatigue seeping from my every pore. So fatigued, that even raising a finger feels like the utmost effort. On the very bad days when my ‘burnouts’ occur; my legs become extremely weak; resulting in me unable to stand let alone walk. The dizziness and vertigo can also be very bad on my ‘burnout’ days; leaving me in bed for all of the day wrapped up in a blanket with only the TV for company. Also spend time sleeping; or at least trying to sleep as the dizziness can be so intense that it often stops me from doing so.
Triggers are harder to discuss. Life is unpredictable; and my condition is no different. Burnouts can appear out of the blue; like an uninvited guest. And burnouts are very much an unwanted guest. As time goes on however, I have noticed certain factors in my life that can exacerbate symptoms; meaning a burnout is more likely to occur and these can include such things such as:
- Overdoing things – if I take on too much or do too many chores or have undertaken too many activities on a given day
- If I stand for too long – my weak legs really do not like me standing for too long as it often leads them to give way
- Flashing strobe lights
- Stress – let’s be honest everyone can relate to this one!
- If I’m tired
So, a burnout leaves me weak, fatigued, leaves my world spinning and basically leaving me unable to function. On the worst burnout day, whilst both my parents were working, I was left alone and was so weak, I was even unable to leave my bed to get myself a drink. As I was alone for several hours it also left me dehydrated. Obviously, as I am unable to get out of bed; I am therefore confined to my bedroom, and this can be exponentially lonely – no one to talk to, just me and my television. And when there is nothing decent on to watch on the television, I am just left alone with my thoughts and misery.
However, instead of concentrating on the miseries of burnouts associated with chronic illness, I thought I would share all the little things that make me feel better when these occur:
- I would be last without my iPad! There are many applications that I have downloaded that helps me pass the time. For example, I have Netflix downloaded so I am able to watch some films or television dramas when I am confined to my bed. Alternatively, I have some of the TV catch up applications such as the BBC iplayer and Demand 5 so that I am able to catch-up on the programmes that I have missed throughout the week. Then there is a jigsaw game that I love and keeps me entertained for hours. As well as keeping me entertained, I am also able to access Facebook and Twitter so that I able to keep-up to date on all the goings on and even talk to someone when I am feeling lonely or low
- My dog Honey! Pets are amazing and sensing when we are feeling fragile and unwell, and Honey makes sure that I have plenty of hugs and kisses when I have a burnout. If I am on my own however, she will often be found lying by my bedroom door, keeping an eye out and generally protecting me
- And when I am having a bad day there is always my ‘comfort box’ filled with everything that gives me comfort and joy! On my bad days I get it out and just smile at all the little bits and pieces in there! I have a certificate of my sponsor dog from ‘Dogs for the Disabled’; DVD’s of Grey’s Anatomy and my favourite feel-good comedy film ‘The Proposal’; a couple of cute little bears from the ‘Me to You’ range as well as a present from a great friend of mine (a gorgeous butterfly brooch)
- I have a gorgeous print by a local artists sitting on my windowsill (still need to put it up on a wall!). The artist incorporates beautiful and uplifting quotes within her art work and the one I purchased features a butterfly with the words ‘Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over it became a butterfly” – it’s a beautiful reminder as to the importance of positive thinking as well as giving me hope of a better tomorrow