This is Part 2 of a six-week series where I’m sharing a little bit more about my “story”. I get asked lots about how I got to do what I do, so it’s my way of sharing some of that with you. Click through on the Blog to read the other posts in the series.
Where was I? Oh yes, the cracks starting to appear.
So when I think back to this time when work was at a peak period (lots of critical projects coming to a head), I was studying part-time (I even had to dust off some old stats books that I thought I’d never touch again), and trying to be a good partner, daughter, sister, friend and even rock up at the gym when I could…
What I remember is coming home crying every day.
(Luckily my partner was confused enough to not think it was him that was making me unhappy!).
I felt overwhelmed with all the things that I had going on.
I kept blocking off entire weekends to study, then I’d feel like I was missing out on everything else in my life.
I did feel a sense of importance and significance. I enjoyed what I was studying, I could see how it was going to help me take the next step in my life. It made me feel relevant. But it also made me prioritise it over everything else.
I’d have these “episodes” where it would feel like there was an army of teeny tiny people stabbing my stomach from the inside.
Sometimes I’d be crippled over in pain and lie awake at night. Or at times I’d even have to throw up in the bathroom at work.
I kept telling myself it must have been something I ate. Or perhaps it was related to a weekend of bad food choices. Or it was just I was feeling off.
You see even though I was “busy” I wasn’t exactly saying no to things.
I was still booking the holidays and seeing friends and trying to cook good meals (okay so my partner probably will tell you he did most of the cooking at this time).
Point is, at the time I completely believed I “had it all together”.
I didn’t think there was anything to be worried about other than “just finish your studies”.
I had this magical feeling that once I’d completed my masters, the next chapter of my life would be ready to unfold.
I was laser-beam focused on doing that thing. Everything else could wait.
When my boss suggested I apply for his job (he was retiring) I remember brushing it off thinking he must be crazy.
But there was also this nagging feeling that I knew I didn’t want that.
I couldn’t see myself in his role, no matter how flattering it was that he believed I could do it.
Then the headaches started. And they didn’t stop.
For months I couldn’t remember a day when I did not have a headache. Some days to the extent where nothing could make them go away. I’d take ibuprofen and paracetamol, I’d drink all the water, I’d take a day off work,
I’d try and sleep. I did all the things and yet the pounding would not stop.
I got a prescription for something stronger. I tried to explain to the doctor that nothing was working (even the stronger prescription).
But still, in some wild way, I didn’t actually think anything was that bad or that I couldn’t handle it.
Despite the fact I was coming home crying every day and couldn’t shake this persistent headache.
Around about this time I’d started amping up what I’d now call my own self-care.
I’d go to more massages, or book in for acupuncture. Or go see a colour therapist (no idea what it was it just sounded cool at the time).
I’d always been interested in trying all these different types of self-help, self-care modalities and so it wasn’t really unusual that I’d be continuing to try things.
During my uni years when I’d get myself burnt out, it was pretty natural to rock up to my naturopath, get dosed up on some herbal tonics, a few massages and feel like I was “back on track”.
In short, I felt like I had it all sorted. Everything was okay. I was managing. And once my studies were over, everything would feel incredible. It’d be a new lease of life, and then I could start planning what next.
But that wasn’t entirely the case…
More on that next week. 😉