“…But who takes care of you?
Part 2: “Now I take care of me, too.”
In part one of this article, I detailed my experience with professional burnout. In this second part, I describe the importance of self-care and the physiological mechanisms that underlie what was happening, with the goal of teaching anyone who is experiencing something similar to take it seriously. Stress creates very real, and dangerous, physical changes.
The physical symptoms that I described in part one of this article were a warning sign that my body was not functioning in a healthy way, and the stress of my job was creating a severe hormonal imbalance. Consequently, I could not handle even the smallest uptick in my stress levels. I was already “functioning” beyond my capabilities, so when a small stressor, e.g. going out with my friends, came along, I was physically and mentally unable to do it. The thought of getting dressed up, interacting with others for an extended period of time, and going to bed later than I had planned, was unbearable. Unfortunately, for someone suffering from anxiety and depression, social interaction is not only helpful, it is a necessity for recovery.