Burnout – And Beyond

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I was 29 years old and had been graduated from dental school for 7 years, I was in the prime of my life or at least I should have been. But instead I had hit a point in life where work seemed too hard, patients were there just to annoy me, my staff didn’t care and were of no help at all and 5pm Friday simply couldn’t come fast enough.

After 5 hard years at University I had been working years of long hours developing my skills, seeing upwards of 40 patients a day, churning out one filling after another on what seemed to be a never ending treadmill of broken teeth and emergency root canals. I had no motivation, zero empathy and a very short emotional fuse, which would see me swinging from hysterical almost maniacal laughter to fits of rage and even tears. I would cry, as I got ready for work and beg my partner to ring my office so I wouldn’t have to go. But go I would, as I knew all those people were relying on me.

I was tired all the time and would frequently get sick with the flu or debilitating colds. My body hurt from head to toe and sleep was always fitful and never restful. I would crash from one cup of coffee to the next, sometimes drinking 15 a day simply to push through, I ate a diet high in carbohydrates and sugars to keep me going and then would let off steam from the day by going for long gruelling runs or bike rides before sinking into the couch in a heap with a beer or wine to help me unwind.

I lived for my holidays but the relief of them was only ever short lived and once back in the drill and fill I would spiral into a funk that seemed all consuming. I couldn’t believe I would have to do this for the rest of my life.

This pattern continued until I was about 34 when my body hit a wall and said no more, I was, I can see now depressed and anxious and even though my life ticked a lot of boxes I was miserable. It was at this time when I decided things needed to change that I had to be in charge of my own wellbeing and emotional state. So out of character I went and saw a counsellor and opened up to her about how I felt, the dark thoughts that would enter my mind and the low, low feeling I had inside where I felt so empty and lost. I remember crying for what seemed like hours and wondering what needed to change and how could I manage myself and my feelings better.

The counsellor explained to me that I was suffering from burnout, a condition where you have reached the edge of your capacity to cope any more, where life appears too hard. Through working with her I started to take better care of myself, exercised more moderately and cut back on my drinking which actually helped me to sleep better.

I also started working with Serge Benhayon of Universal Medicine, having hands on healing sessions and also seeing practitioners for massage and chakra-puncture to support my body. I took more time out for me where I would meditate with the Gentle Breath Meditation and develop a connection to how I was feeling so I could be more honest with myself and seek the help and support I required. Slowly over time I began to feel more like my old self, energised and with a zest for life so much so that now almost 12 years later I have my own very successful practice, a young family and work on many volunteer projects.

These days I still work long hours, in fact I do more than I used to as my typical day starts around 4am with writing or meetings for projects and then to the office from 7.30 in the morning until 6 in the evening. I now am able to sustain this output without the need for coffee, alcohol or sugar, I hardly ever get sick and when I do it is very minor. I sleep deeply and easily, wake feeling refreshed and full of joy at what the day will bring. I feel emotionally stable and hardly ever get anxious or have negative thoughts and actually am so full of new ideas and enthusiasm that my family and my team have trouble keeping up with what’s next.

I feel and look younger now at nearly 46 than I did at 29 and can honestly say that I enjoy my work and relish spending time with my patients and my staff.

These changes did not happen overnight, it took time and perseverance to deal with my unresolved issues and allow my body to recover from the years of neglect and high stress I had put it through.

The difference, however, is not in what I do but how I am inside as I have developed a way of life that supports me to be in tune with myself and hence I feel relaxed and able to cope with life.

The shift for me was to admit things were not right and to seek the support I needed. I was fortunate that the right people appeared in my life at the right time but it was through my dedication to putting my wellbeing and my needs first that I was able to bring myself back from feeling like life was over to it actually being a new start.

 

 

 

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Hiding My Natural Voice

 

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I remember as I child I used to sing all the time, making up little tunes and adding words to go with them. I remember adults commenting to my mother about what a happy child she had. I also look back at how that love of natural expression became crushed when trying out for the school choir around the age of 8, when I was told my voice was too deep to sing with the other girls and I would have to stand at the back and sing the second part with the boys. Whilst this may not sound bad the way it was delivered was so harsh and judgemental that it made me feel crushed and my natural exuberance for singing became something that I started to withhold and keep in check.

About age 11 I auditioned for the school musical at high school and didn’t even get called back to be a part of the chorus and that for me was the end of any attempts to be part of a group singing activity, to the point where even during school assembly I would mouth the words to the hymns but never actually sing them as I didn’t want to be singled out for being off key or out of tune.

I still loved to sing . . . As I a teenager I would have my music blasting and sing along in the privacy and safety of my own room knowing that the music was so loud no one would ever hear my dulcet tones. Or as I got older I would do this in the car or at home when I was in the house alone.

I started playing guitar in my 20’s and even started taking music grades, this way I could indulge my love of music without having to sing. But imagine my horror when during my first music grade the examiner asked me to listen to a note and sing it back to her. Well I plain and simply refused point blank to do it and even got aggressive over it. It cost me 20 marks but there was no way I was going to ‘sing’ especially not in front of a complete stranger!

More recently because I have attended events run by Universal Medicine I have been learning about and exploring expression through voice and music and have watched Chris James sing and work with an audience to encourage them to let go of what stands in the way of them exploring their natural voice. A voice that comes from connecting to yourself and feeling the sound develop and express from your body rather than attaching to how it sounds.

Tentatively and very quietly at first I found myself joining in with a simple ooh and ah, without pushing or trying I found my voice was deep and resonate with a richness that had never come through when singing along to music in my room or my car. It had a delicate quality combined with a power and strength that was so exquisite it moved me to tears, tears of joy and relief for all that I had held back being allowed to express again as it did so naturally when I was a little girl.

And now I love to sing I join in group sings and don’t hold back when Chris James invites us to sing along or when Michael and Miranda Benhayon of Glorious Music perform. I even joined a women’s singing group for a few months where we would sing acapella (without music) and we even gave a performance to around 100 people at a local event. Something I would never have imagined or even been capable of a few years ago.

Now I find myself singing when I walk the dog, on my way to work and even around the office and the supermarket no different to when I was that young girl all full of joy and expression that simply had to get out.

I have been inspired to sing again through the work of Chris James and Glorious Music and now see my deep rich voice as something to celebrate and not to hide. And whilst I may not have perfect pitch I do have a quality when I sing that brings a joy to my heart and puts a smile on my face.