I have finally found words to explain why I need this sabbatical, and that in itself is a relief. Not that anybody has even once suggested that I don’t need to take a step back from a job that has left me burnt out after 3 years… But still, I feel guilty, I feel incompetent, and worst of all, I feel like I’m half-insane and will never be able to work again.
But a random blog post about stress inhibiting performance caught my eye and suddenly the almost incessant anxiety and anger which I feel at work started to emerge as an actual pattern:
Melodramatic thinking and mental chatter form a feedback loop with stress triggers. If you’re psyched out about something, your body will release stress hormones. When you feel the effect of the stress hormones, you have a constant, nagging reminder that you don’t feel right, which further psyches you out. These types of loops, over the long term, correlate with neurotic and depressive tendencies.
Toughening-up only happens when the body has periods of non-stress in which to recover. During those periods, the primitive brain re-appraises situations, and moderates its future reactions. If you – like me – are susceptible to a lot of mental chatter and melodramatic thinking, your body will receive a constant stream of stress hormones, and experience a long-term, weakened state as a result.
I have a feeling that the Friday when my not-yet-boyfriend James and I slipped out of work early to drink beer and pink moscato in the park and drunkenly decided that we should, like, just quit our jobs and go to France and, yeah for reals we should do this… that was probably one of the best decisions I ever made. I can’t wait to break this cycle of anxiety and stress, and to smooth down the edges of my frazzled nerves….
In the interim, I can’t believe it’s nearly 4am and I am awake, aching and stressing with every bone in my body. Breathe, Rosie… 64 hours to go…