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!
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.
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.