I’ve been writing a lot about my burnout and what it means for me. Though my symptoms have let up some, there’s a part of me that continues to feel like I just can’t do “it” anymore. For years, my self-esteem and sense of self-worth has been contingent upon how others view me and respond to me. As long as my efforts were recognized, I’d feel good about myself and I’d feel an increase burst in energy to continue outsourcing my value. It created a rollercoaster effect where how I felt depended on who was at work that day. In addition, it forced me to expend more energy trying to gain recognition and esteem from those around me, some of whom are difficult and almost impossible to please. As a result, I’d try even harder, often with little results.
Burning out has forced me to look at my life from a different angle. I’ve had to let go of my previous operation mode. I’ve had to ask myself questions that I didn’t think I needed to ask myself before and listen to the answer. “Why am I doing this?” “Do I still like myself?” “Do I need others to recognize my authority and my worth?” “What matters most to me?” What I realized was that I want to feel good about who I am and what I do, but I don’t want it to depend on how others perceive me or my actions. I don’t think I can function that way anymore nor do I want to. What I do, I want it to be for myself.
Burn out brought me to the point where I’ve had to change or die. I’ve spent the entire weekend just letting go. Letting go of the need to make doctors happy, letting go of the need to keep my coworkers from sizing me up, letting go of trying to appear laid back, calm, and passive. They’re all images, illusions, of a girl who can’t continue going down the same road and survive. And with that I’ve just been focused on doing only what makes me happy and gives me satisfaction, even if the old me might’ve perceived the new me as being lazy, flighty, or impractical.
I can’t do “it” anymore. I can’t continue to make my entire life and sense of self revolve around people and issues that no longer matter to me. It will kill me. I don’t have it to give, nor do I want to give it.