I have hit the wall this week. After going 7 months of having 2 jobs, working 60-100hr workweeks, and all the doggy-sitting I have been doing, my brain is finally done.
I ‘crashed’ on Tuesday. I finally was just physically and emotionally exhausted. I needed a recharge. I had some down with some sort of stomach bug, or maybe I was just exhausted, I don’t know. Either way, I stayed home. I should have used this day to rest, but instead, I was too busy worrying about all the work I was missing.
I feel I do this to myself. I say ‘Yes’ to everything. I want to babysit, I want to foster, I want to train, and sign up for classes and go to socials every Saturday. Rarely do I actually not work when I am home. This past weekend, I had a friend come, and I specifically didn’t work. I didn’t schedule training, and it was really fun. We did all kinds of things. Went to social, watched a movie, ate sushi, saw my parents (while I was playing with my 3 year old niece). Then, the Pittie I’m babysitting was dropped off a few hours after I got back from dropping my friend off at the airport.
I have signed up for an obedience course with Napoleon, a therapy-team course so he can be a registered therapy dog, and a canine theriogenology course. I’m excited for all of them, but I have also registered for a 4 day workshop regarding difficult dogs later in the summer. And I also plan to get my Dog Training Certification this year (was July, but it has been postponed since I registered for this other workshop).
I want to relax, I want to be able to STOP. But, it seems my brain keeps going, even when it is exhausted. So, I’m writing my blog, while listening to calming music on Spotify. It is helping, but my brain is still working. It never stops.
This week, I have broken down and cried 3 times, including today. This is normal for me when I ‘hit the wall’. But, in public, no one will ever know this side of me. I put on a smiling mask when I walk out the door and I’m a happy person.
This.Is.Exhausting. Pretending all the time. But, if I act the way I feel, people will feel pity and sorrow, and I will be judged and talked about, and then receive the unwanted type of attention.
Tuesday, I saw a few clients I really like. The family, and the dogs, that is. Both dogs are showing improvement, though one is more of a project. Normally, I would be excited to see both of these clients. When I don’t want to work, this is a pretty big red flag for me. I came home, and sat in my bed, and just turned my phone on and off for a few hours, then went to sleep.
I turn my phone on and off repeatedly for some reason. I don’t know. It just feels like every time the screen is black, I might miss a notification or an email. And I can’t do that, no-I can’t unplug for a few hours after I get home. I know-it sounds crazy. Maybe I’m crazy? But, I can’t unplug.
If my husband takes my phone, and the power is out.. it feels like I am trapped, and then I have a panic attack. It has happened in the past, and I don’t want that to happen again.
It feels like I’m torturing myself on purpose. Am I? Sometimes, it’s easy to be comforted by the familiar feelings of solitude while you are depressed.
I’m just.. on the verge of tears a lot these days.. More so than this time last year, I can be sure of. But.. I can’t stop. Because I have clients counting on me, I have work that needs to be done, animals who need feeding, and a husband who is trying with all his might to help me through this. I can’t stop because of all of that. So, I pick myself up, and start it all over the next day.
B R E A T H E (not making light of how you feel….but, B R E A T H E )
I’m wondering if it might help to plan for a short break. Not stopping. Just taking 2-3 days off. I think your clients will understand if you need some personal time, and the dogs will still be there when you get back. If you start scheduling some down time, then you’ll be in control of the downtime rather than hitting the crash that you’re describing.
During my time as a grad student, I struggled a lot with what you are describing, and went into burnout because I wasn’t able to take control of my downtime, and started crashing and being unable to cope with the workload. There’s always something as a grad student/TA you could/should be doing, so it’s really hard to mentally sketch out those downtimes. It sounds like it may be similar to the pressures you are facing as an independent businesswoman–although of course the kind of work is entirely different.
Just some thoughts. I know sometimes I just need to vent and people offering helpful suggestions can be annoying as hell, but other times it’s been helpful for me to hear someone else’s perspective.
Not annoying at all! I have actually stopped doing trainings on Friday after work. I can’t take any time off of my day job (I have 2 full time jobs), or I can’t do my workshops (these are only offered once a year). Sundays are my down-day, but usually are filled with house work (laundry, dishes, yard work, etc) … At least I’m home for that though.
Oh good! Glad I am not annoying and glad that you have been easing back a bit.