It’s perhaps telling that it took me until switching off my laptop last Friday, and finally stopping thinking about work as continuously as I had been doing, to realize just how exhausted I actually was.
I knew something was wrong, of course; I knew that I was struggling to meet deadlines and juggle the various bits of work that were hanging over my head across the last week or two, and I knew that this blog was suffering even more — after all, it’s the easiest thing to put to one side when I’m trying to make sure that I’m taking care of the various bits of business that are actually, you know, business.
Despite what old GI Joe cartoons claimed, though, knowing isn’t really half the battle — even though I was all too aware that everything wasn’t really going as it normally did, and that I was finding it harder to actually do what traditionally came easier, if not easily, my thought process pretty much stopped there: I got to the edge of “something’s probably wrong” and never managed to progress to “I wonder what it is?”
Instead, I just pushed myself through the days by force of will as much as anything else, making sure that I was doing at least the bare minimum and hoping that things would get better magically, somehow. Maybe I was just having an off day. Maybe I was just having, like, a couple of weeks of off days. That’s not impossible, right?
Weirdly, it was the most obvious leap of logic that put everything into focus for me last week: for pet-related reasons, I’d been sleeping like shit for three or four nights by that point, and as I finished work for that day, I thought to myself, I’m really tired. And then I thought, wait, what if I’m not just sleepy tired, but actually, really and properly exhausted tired? What if I’m burned out and need a break?
That broke a mental dam, somehow, and I almost immediately started feeling better — it was as if just naming the problem was the start of recovering from it. A weekend of doing as little as possible (but sleeping well for the first time in weeks, honestly) later, and things seem like maybe they’re on an upswing again. It’s not the rest that I need, not yet, but maybe it’s a start. Maybe that’s enough for now.