Red Leigh Cooper

Red Leigh Cooper

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Burnout and Brain Death

     One of Eric and my favorite show was Malcolm in the Middle.  There was this one episode where Reese, the older brother said he could just turn his brain off.  When Malcolm asked him to stop playing around he said, "No, watch!"  He then proceeds to have a blank stare, mouth open, like he's not registering anything.  That's how I've felt the last month.  Although, I'm not sure I was consciously doing it like Reese.

     I've stopped a lot of activities in my life in the effort to free my life up, know what I'm saying "yes" to, and be better able to say "no" to other things.  I think I may have done this too late because the combination of everything I had been involved with and the acquisition at work, which has been nothing short of frustrating. has left me literally with blank stare and mouth open.

     Here is an example of a night at my house:

     Eric:  "What do you want to do?'

     Me:   "I don't know."

     Eric: (A few minutes later) "So, what do you want to do?"

     Me:  "I really don't know.  Nothing.  I am perfectly fine doing nothing."

     I commence to sit there, staring at the TV, not watching anything in particular....

    ...And I am really, really, fine with that.

     It's a strange place to be in.  I thought maybe it was the feeling of being overwhelmed that I have experienced before, but am quickly starting to realize that it's something way more than that.  There are times that I literally don't want to/can't do anything.  This makes working really hard much less doing anything else easy.  I've been off for four days because we are having some work done to our house.  This is the first time I've felt like doing anything. I knew I needed to write.  I haven't written in a few weeks.  I really, really, just didn't want to do it, much less have any creative thought to be able to put fingers to keyboard.  I've been numb.  Nothing. No thought. I had shut off my brain.

     Dealing with the residual of years of business has got me thinking about how I got here.  Do you know I haven't had an actual vacation, where you get on a plane, go somewhere fun, and come back mind clear in three years?  Three years!  I mean sure, we have reasons like I got a new job, then Eric got a new job, we chose to have work done to the house, trying to reduce debt, etc, etc, but this could be some of the issue.  Never underestimate the importance of a vacation.  I remember one of my friends saying, "Debt reduction be damned! We're going on vacation!"  I need to keep that in my head.  I need to be able to pay for it, but I also need to remember to go.  Every year. No matter what.

     Then there is the whole thing about knowing what you are saying "yes" to so you know what to say "no" to.  I'm getting really good at this lately and it will really help me in the future, but I seriously waiting too long to develop that skill.  I waited way too long to accept that some things I was doing had run their course and give them up.  I did not know myself well enough to know that these were things that were filling the space of the things I didn't recognize that I really wanted to do with my life.  It's really hard giving up those things, especially when there are other people involved who may have hurt feelings. I've been a people pleaser all my life, mostly because nothing was ever good enough for my parents, long story short, and I am surprised how much of that has carried into adulthood.  Learning to do what's best for me, and being okay with that has been difficult. 

     I did come up with a phrase I say over and over again in my head when having to drop something from my life that involves others.  "If they get upset/mad. don't understand because you said, 'no,' then they really weren't your friends to begin with."  Isn't that what we are all afraid of?  Someone won't like us?  Why do we want people who don't like us for who we are as friends?  It's a weird societal issue and I don't think I'm the only one who has suffered from it. I don't know what it is.  Maybe I didn't like myself enough to think others would like me if I didn't "wear the pork chop around my neck to get the dog to like me."  I also think that way of thinking for me is over.  It just happened too late.

    So for now, more resting, no pushing myself, and building my endurance back up.  It may take awhile, but I'm going to give my self that time.  Even going to slow down and methodically perform my tasks at work.  I'm only doing things in my life that nourish my soul right now, and am starting out slow with those as well.  Sure, I'm "busy" with those kind of things until the end of April, but am looking forward to some enriching and inspiring experiences.  I just need to give myself that permission to rest when I need it.  Just float along basically....and stare at the TV...

     ...Oh yeah, almost forgot...Eric and I planned a vacation!  Vegas here I come! Debt reduction be damned...

      Happy Fishing!