Depression/burnout and surprising symptoms. Part 1.

Surprising for me at least. Hello and welcome to my blog. I would like to share some surprising  side-effects I experienced during my burnout and depression. I must admit that my thoughts of what a burnout and depression felt like were adjusted quite a bit. Initially, I thought that burnout made you feel tired and depression was just being sad. I was in for a surprise! I was extremely tired and sad but that was not all… my body and mind did some strange things!

In the beginning I had a lot of colds and I discovered that my nose could hurt from the inside. It was so painful to blow my nose and on the other hand I had trouble breathing. I had headaches every day, it felt like the new normal. My eyes felt heavy. My ears did very well, they stayed normal. I had eczema on my legs and a staph infection behind my ears. Luckily this didn’t happen all at once! It came nicely one after the other. I needed to rest but I was busy, I can tell you that!  I should mention that my GP is convinced that none of those are related to burnout.

I had pain and aches over my body. Especially in the shoulder and neck area. At one point I thought I had a tooth ache. Due to lack of self-care I didn’t visit the dentist for 2 years. But then it appeared that I grind my teeth and clench my jaw  at night or during the day when I feel tensed. So actually it’s more like a cramp in my jaw. As I keep on doing this, it does feel like my teeth are hurting. But only on the right side.  So that’s only half of what is possible. My feet did hurt. I spend a lot of time inside and didn’t wear any shoes. So my body needed to adapt from head to toe.

But there is some good news too! I mean, these symptoms, it’s so depressing! I did develop a new talent, that I actually learned to love. I have a brand new, super functioning bullsh*t radar. O what a joy! At first I didn’t really knew how to operate it but now I’m an expert. I do appreciate good advice and I understand that it comes from a place of care but sometimes, most of the times, it’s not for me. I could write an entire new blog on the advice and the charlatans I encountered while experiencing mental health problems. Back to my radar; when I feel the ‘advice’ is not for me, I don’t take it. No guilt there. Some other things I used to worry about, don’t bother me anymore. My landlord can’t fix the heating? Fine, I’ll wait. I bought some extra warm pajamas though. When people are not friendly or just a**holes, fine, it’s their problem. People tell me to exercise. I feel too tired. Fine, I’ll exercise when I feel like it. I can’t do the dishes or do the laundry today? You know what, it’s going to be there tomorrow. That’s a promise. And I also learned that my apartment doesn’t get infested with roaches when I don’t clean it meticulously. I really believed that is what would happen!

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Pau Casals

I have troubles with concentrating and with memory. One day I found my scissors in the fridge. The other day I found a carrot with hairs. I made coffee without a filter. And I can go on and on. Some things are funny, other things are not fun when you try hard to keep it together. Due to lack of concentration and planning skills I couldn’t watch tv or read a book. Worse, I was not able to keep up with bills, grocery shopping and health insurance and all the forms they wanted me to fill in in time. I didn’t know what forms, when to fill them out and who had to fill them out. There is not such a thing as a manual ‘what to do in case of falling apart but try to manage not to add to the financial disaster that is unravelling in front of you’. At some point I just was oblivious to all the forms and appointments I did miss. But when your bank account empties you’ll know.

In addition to the memory loss on the inside of my head, on the outside of my head I started to lose hair. A lot. The bathroom sink told me. I had to unclog the drains a lot more often. I have already fine hair but now you can see my scalp through it. Nice! It made me cry and worry more. When I looked in the mirror I saw the fine lines, the thinning hair and overall the heaviness of life on my face. I see it in pictures. I want to run away from that image. I can’t but I don’t look in the mirror often. I know ‘me’ and I know it’s not really ‘me’ at the moment. My psychiatrist assured me that the hair loss is common when the body and mind are under a lot of tension and that it will restore itself. It only takes time and proper self-care. Note: as I am writing this, there are hairs on the keyboard … why?

You can’t take a day off. In the beginning I expected things to clear up. Slowly yes, I understood that but that slow? So slow that I didn’t notice any recovery at all? I just noticed that I couldn’t do the things I wanted to do. I made plans, yes. I made lists. They only frustrated me. I know they say ‘it takes time’. But I didn’t realize how long that could be. I did try to act ‘normal’ again, to put my troubles aside, to forget about it for a day. Well, the next 2 to 3 days I stayed in bed, even more miserable. When you ‘forget’, the reminder will come. No escaping this one. You have to go through it day by day, hour by hour. Over a year there wasn’t a single day when I didn’t feel bad. When you’re ill, it’s always there. The disease is persistent. That makes it harder sometimes. So I write about it. I try to put my thoughts in this blog to create some space between myself and my thoughts. I does help me a lot. Maybe you, who are reading this, can recognize some things. Maybe you don’t feel so alone. Or maybe you’re just curious. It’s all fine. I’m glad you’re here. Thank you.

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Luke Brugger

I’ll be writing a part 2 of the surprising symptoms tomorrow, so see you then. Thank you again and I wish you a nice day.

6 thoughts on “Depression/burnout and surprising symptoms. Part 1.

    1. I hope so, I really do. The writing helps, it took me 11 months to process some things and now it’s pouring out …. more posts to come I believe. Thank you for reading and responding. Have a nice day/evening!

      Liked by 1 person

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