One of my blogs that still makes me proud is: “The road to recovery from a depression or burn-out“. This 12 June 2015 blog is some 2 years after my 2013 burn-out started. I think it’s safe to say that a recovery takes some 18 months in case of a severe burn-out. I am using the word recovery although I’m not sure if that word is appropriate.
To some extent, I sense that a burn-out will always follow you like a cloud. On “summer” days that cloud is nearly absent. On “autumn” days, it looks like a dark cloud that may start raining. Hence, I am not sure if recovery is an appropriate word. I do know that I do not want to experience this feeling ever again. A former colleague once told me that this knowledge is also a safety net. I feel his perception is correct. I sincerely doubt that I will ever let the pressure mount so much again.
In 2013, I assumed I could handle the pressure of an interim CFO assignment spiraling out of control. I assumed this pressure was just work related. I did not take into account the pressure from other sources. With hindsight I think, feel and believe that I was resisting change in my life. The stronger you are, the more you fight back, and the more pressure is required to enforce this change. Now I am convinced that a burn-out can happen to anyone. Life just needs to continue adding pressure.
My burn-out was an accident waiting to happen, necessary and also overdue. It has changed my life and also my way of living. Earning lots of money, buying stuff that I don’t need (consumerism), and meeting people are much less important to me. Learning, growing and understanding have become my new goals in life. I think, feel and believe that my overall life has changed for the better as the pros outweigh the cons.
The cloud, which is always following me, darkens when negativity enters my life. Such negativity may come from people, news reports, and TV shows. I have stopped watching TV shows that I appreciated before, like House of Cards and series that involve crime and/or violence. I now watch less TV and preferably comedy related.
Perhaps my biggest change is that I minimise socialising with people. I used to be a listener and kept my own opinions to myself. Now I am the opposite. I don’t want to listen to people complaining or using small talk. Today, I use this forum to broadcast my opinions and offering solutions rather than nagging about anyone and anything.
I think, feel and believe that our nagging is a result of our point of reference. We tend to compare our situation with the best examples rather than the worst. Consequently, we will always be dissatisfied. One trip to Africa may change your outlook on life forever. Whenever I feel like pitying myself then I remember my 2012/13 visits to Kenya and my peace of mind returns.
I am worried about the divisiveness and polarization that is ruling our Western societies for some 10 years now. It is getting more and more likely that it will bring chaos, disorder and a new equilibrium; see part 1 and part 2 of my related blogs. Perhaps my blogs represent my way of cloudbusting: in my own life, hopefully in yours, and possibly even in society at large.
But every time it rains,
You’re here in my head,
Like the sun coming out–
Ooh, I just know that something good is going to happen.
And I don’t know when,
But just saying it could even make it happen.