Social media is a platform where anyone can express themselves in any way they want. You can portray a perfect life with perfect pictures without anyone knowing how you are feeling in real life. I have been painting such a picture, posting my blog articles and pictures on social media regularly while in real life, I have been struggling with a burnout and a starting depression for months. It all started exactly one year ago, when the love of my life Elliot passed away suddenly. I haven’t recovered ever since and gotten worse emotionally over time. I have been very silent in my personal surrounding as well so I wanted to update you all with this post to let you know how I really am doing now.
The year 2017 has been the worst year that I ever had in my life. My furbaby Elliot passed away suddenly (which you can read more about in detail here) and because of this loss, I was crying every night for 6 months straight. I have lost a few people in my life, but nothing was the same as losing him. It felt like a part of myself was missing. I had so many suicidal thoughts, thinking about every single way in detail how to kill myself in a non-painful way. I always have thought that human life has no meaning (I still do) and I never cared if I would die young or old, because death is something that we all have to go through someday, it is inevitable. Thankfully, there is something inside the human mechanism that prevents you from hurting yourself, the fear of the unknown is the only reason why I never committed suicide.
One day, I just stopped crying because I didn’t feel anything anymore. No sadness, no happiness, nothing. I could always pretend to laugh and smile while in fact, there was no emotion behind it. I was glad in some way, because it was better than feeling sad all the time. Just when I thought I was slowly coping with the loss of Elliot, I got terrible news from my mother in October last year. She was diagnosed with Multiple Myeloma, which is a form of cancer.
My childhood has been quite different than with an average person. My dad was visually impaired turning completely blind over time, my brother has a form of Autism and my mother never really had the motivation to fully integrate into the Dutch system, always letting my father arrange things because she was too self aware to speak Dutch properly. A lot of things fell into my hands at a very young age and I needed to help with a lot of grown-up things. I had a certain responsibility my entire life and when my mom got sick, she wasn’t able to take care of my dad and brother so the responsibility all came down to me. With a 5 day/week job, having Multiple Sclerosis (read my story on MS here) and living an hour drive away. I couldn’t handle it. My world crumbled, I wasn’t able to do anything anymore but lie in bed feeling broken. My dad had to live with me and my boyfriend temporarily so I didn’t have time for myself either.
The situation caused me to have a burnout and I wasn’t able to focus on my work, which made it worse because I felt guilty that a personal situation effected my job. The most normal things became a daily struggle. I was anxious to go outside and if I managed to be outside, doing something like visiting a store felt like I just have run an entire marathon. I was so frustrated with my own body but everything was just too much for me during that period. I also didn’t feel like doing anything. My day just consisted of lying in bed and staring in the distance on the couch, because I just didn’t want to do anything enjoyable. When I had better days, I took pictures and write articles for a blog on automatic-pilot. What was most devastating to me is that I had a new MS attack again, probably triggered due to the stress after not having one for 2,5 years.
I decided that I couldn’t continue like that anymore and sought help via a mental coach, who helped me a lot to cope with the current situation. I slowly learned how to create boundaries in what I could do for my parents and brother without completely consuming myself in the process and that some things were just not my responsibility anymore.
Now, I’m slowly getting back to my regular life again. At first, I was very anxious to go back to work again but after the first visit, it felt easier every time. I’m currently working three days per week for a few hours, which is okay but is still very tiring. The sessions with my mental coach has ended and she highly recommended me to visit the doctor so I can get a reference to discuss my issues further with a psychologist.
Overall, I’m still not okay and have a long way to go, but I’m getting better step-by-step. If you feel like you are in a situation that you feel that you can’t get out of, I would highly suggest to reach out and get help. I should’ve done that way sooner. I’m someone who is quite stubborn and thought that talking to someone would never help, because I thought I knew myself enough already. I’m also an introvert and I don’t like to talk to anyone generally, moving aside my problems and keep myself busy so I don’t need to be confronted with it. I can tell you, it helped me so much with handling a lot of situations mentally. I’m still not able to process the loss of Elliot properly but I do hope with more therapy, I can one day say that truly I’m happy again.
If you made it through the end, thank you for reading my story. I really appreciate every comment made on my blog and social media. I read every single one of them and I am thankful every time to see them. My blog and followers also helped me with stability to keep me going. I really can’t thank you enough for that.