Who knows? It feels like things built up one after the other. Computers and phones breaking one by one. Needing to move house. Sorting out medical problems one by one has taken their toll.
Portraying myself as a professional – website design, business cards etc – is something I learned from reading entrepreneurial books. Put your best foot forward – pretend/ MASKING – you are a highly productive business, instead of a woman on the disability pension who just wants dignity and is struggling to earn her own money.
Needing to move house and sorting out medical problems one by one has taken their toll as well.
Why it’s ok
· I know WHAT I’m dealing with – what is happening in my mind and body.
· I know to lie down, even if I can’t nap, but just rest my body.
· My two support workers talk on my behalf when I cannot. There have been a few times when they encourage and walk me through calming down, but in the end, I need them to speak when I cannot. These workers do this.
· I make very simple meals to freeze. Recently I started getting meals delivered through the NDIS. It’s a co-payment system.
· Living in a capital city like Brisbane – I have opportunities to buy groceries, clothes, anything I need. Last time – in Rockhampton, and later a small country town, every shopping trip would be a journey. Waiting for the taxi or hours for a bus to get home was another type of torture.
No support vs Understanding Support Workers
Speaking of shopping, this week, a support worker bought a sandwich from a café for me – using my card. From previous experience, and as she said when she handed it over, the server was “too much for me”. Last time he continuously asked questions and I walked out, utterly overwhelmed and frustrated.
She went grocery shopping for me while I waited outside. The fact that I didn’t have to go through bombardment of things I wanted to buy, even though I had a list, watching out for people to try not to bump into, and the confusion of changing isles, meant that my hyper heart beat didn’t transform into frustration and confusion. Being able to be patient is lovely on a shopping day.
Emotional Intelligence won’t fix circumstances
If your physical environment is destructive, including live-in relationships, no amount of emotional intelligence will solve your mental turmoil. Not for long anyway. A few hours, a few days, maybe even a few weeks.
If you live with a person who has opposing values to you, which causes distress (cognitive dissidence), you must get out of there when you know they will not change. Some flatmates, people, including myself, are defiant about how we do things. If you don’t lay down the truth “You are being disrespectful and invading my boundaries” and leave, you will continue cycles of frustration, being astounded at their actions, heart to hearts, yelling your needs, calm, and them repeating actions that destroy your well-being/ soul.
I recently stood up for my values – someone who is habitually and defiantly late. I googled what to do to manage these people. I recognised that this person is never going to change and doesn’t want to. I could leave the house, get a much needed chore done, walk off some energy, and talk through an intermediary.
Previously, I would have ‘practised emotional intelligence’ and only focused on my reactions – what I can do to change. This time, I texted “Don’t bother knocking. Be on time if you want respect” and took a taxi outta there.
The respect I felt for myself was reinforced. Standing up for my well-being was far more important than trying any way to make the situation ok for now.
Trigger warning: Skip a paragraph to “To recap”
Physically shaking with shock and at triggers have increased dramatically.
I feel unsafe. Stuck. On alert. Starting Trauma counselling this year showed me how these feelings are triggered, and ways to manage or get rid of my triggers.
At my intake interview at a rape counselling service, a support worker who accompanied me told the lady about one experience “I couldn’t believe what she was telling me. What they put her through was horrific”.
The six unit place I am living in is decrepit. This is a physical thing in my environment.
The electricity wiring is “unsafe” and “dangerous” according to two electrician companies. It’s turning to winter now. Each winter I worry about the house burning down. The outside lead paint is peeling profusely. The plumbing – both sinks and sewerage often back up, the floorboards move and squeak when they are walked on. The walls are bending outwards, the roof is full of possum nests, urine, and poo. Each unit leaks inside when it rains. The tap water is undrinkable. It tastes like bore-water.
Unsafe. Stuck. On alert. These have come and gone since childhood.
So yeah, why is burnout back? Probably exhaustion from high expectations on myself, on alert, being not able to write with three computers and three phones breaking in the past two years, unsafe housing and the admin of moving, and instability by support organisations and workers until about 10 months ago.
Thank god for compassionate people. Whether you are a front-line service worker, or just try to be nice. You truly do keep the world spinning.