The story of a burn out

Since October when I last posted, I have had some major struggles. 

I always pride myself on being strong and independent. I rarely ask for help, nor do I like to burden people with my inner battles. I would much rather take on the world than add any form of stress to another person. Bury the pain, bury the struggle.  It’s just how I’m programmed. Getting me to talk about how I feel is like pulling teeth. Some find it problematic but I don’t and I guess that’s the problem. 

I made it through the remaining summer like a breeze, even though  I took up drinking again and back tracked my progress to a degree. I never hit my physique goal.. Yet again. I caused it and I started to really let myself have it. “You know drinking On the weekends completely destroys the work you do Monday through Friday ” I know that there’s no way I can have my goals, reach them, while binge drinking and eating during the weekend. That was the beginning of my downward spiral. Bulking season began and I made some serious strength gains and I felt good when I worked out because the weights belonged to me. I also cared very little about the weight I had gained, almost 165 lbs. holy crap!

Things really started going south when my already stressful job with its incredibly long hours increased due to a doctor suddenly being fired. The work load and stress level of the owner increased, which meant that it did for us as well. Work became a major anxiety. Our lives outside of work had zero importance and as long as there was money being made so we were forced to stay at work. I guess when people see money being made that stop seeing the humans bleeding, crying and struggling behind it. To make matters worse I jumped on a personal training opportunity that took up the remaining time I had after work. I loved the three clients I had, they made me feel like an awesome trainer. We really bonded. I did it for them. I wasn’t going to cancel a session because I was tired. After the first week my boss quit and I was left to fend for myself.. I wanted to work there to be mentored but now it’s all on me and I felt lost. I mean I know what I’m doing but I began to second guess myself.  I pushed through, got my clients results and always supported them. After about a month the first company was bought by my home gym and I was working for them. Sounded great. I was again excited. I was made to believe it was going to be what I had hoped from the beginning a training company would be. WRONG. Sure it was better because I had a boss but again I felt alone and I was hanging on by a thread. Dammit though, my clients needed me and even though they didn’t know it I needed them. I spent my own money to give them books where I wrote workouts. I was so proud to have them. In the midst of all this I was still traveling every weekend to my long distance boy friends house with my dogs in tow. I kept pushing because I couldn’t fail, not at this. Personal training had been my dream. I spread myself so thin and I thought I would be ok.  My full time job problems had escalated and I was fighting with my old training company to even pay me. Every day I was going through the routines. Work, eat, work, lift, barely sleep and repeat.. At what point do you draw a line with how poorly you’re treated? When do you stop allowing your job to suck the joy out of everything you do?  When do you know enough is enough? For me it took having a breakdown and almost ending my relationship to see what was causing the most stress in my life. 

I was in traffic in the middle of Houston, I had just visited with friends from out of town. I was desperately trying to make it home so I could lift on my day off before the evening crowds. I wanted to go to bed early that night. It was my first day in a while that I didn’t have to train anyone but there I was, sweating my butt off in the middle of Houston’s traffic. I started to feel anxious, emotional and my thoughts started racing. This list in my head repeating my finances, chores, tasks for the weekend, everything I had to do in the near future. I couldn’t make it stop. So I did what anyone would do I guess, I started yell-crying. I wanted to yell and be angry but I couldn’t do it without crying, which made me more upset. I made it home but couldn’t make the thoughts stop. I laid down, stood up, paced, nothing helped me. So I began texting my boyfriend, thinking he would make me feel better but man was I wrong!! Immediately after texting him I could feel him becoming anxiety for me. I was focused on our distance, having to travel with the dogs(my boss hates them to come to work with me)meal prepping and traveling with tons of food. I’m not sure what I was wanting him to say but probably something along the lines of “it’ll be ok, just come and live with me” after all we had been dating well over a year with no problems. I think he hit me with some truth and told me it wasn’t that bad and then he did the big mistake “are your hormones acting up” “is this period stuff”. That did me in. In my head it was over. I asked him what he wanted in a relationship and where he saw this going. Then I told him that if he was ok with just having a “part time” girlfriend that I couldn’t do it for even another couple of months. Let me add to this and say we don’t really talk about big stuff like moving in or making it more than long distance. So this was a bomb exploding and basically made the future talk happen. Which was awkward and we both aren’t good talkers. Long story short.. I finally felt better after he agreed that moving in was in the future. I felt like a weight was lifted and I didn’t feel so anxious. I slept it on it and woke up feeling weird. I couldn’t believe that I almost ended a relationship with the perfect man for me. I really got to thinking now. What is causing me stress and what can I work on changing? Obviously I have two jobs but one is actually paying the bills, the other isn’t even paying. The second is to gain experience and I’m doing something I love but I don’t love it anymore. So why is that? Well, it was the wrong time and place for me to be a trainer. I called and quit that day and felt amazing. I was so sad to be leaving my clients but I made a lasting good impression on all three and they all understood exactly why I had to quit. I finished out the remaining sessions I had scheduled. What was one more week of not getting paid, in order to make a good lasting impression on them. Rather than walk out and leave them on their own. I still speak to them on occasion to this day. 
So, ok. Mental breakdown. Check. Still have a boyfriend. Double check. Moving forward to more recently. 

I’ll go ahead and add some good news in here before continuing down my slump path. I’ve been sober for six months and will not look back. It’s also four months into cutting season and I’m down to 17% body fat and weighing around 147 lbs, my lowest ever!! 

I began staying with Justin more often, instead of just the weekends I would have a mid week sleepover when my schedule allowed. Things were better and I felt ok again, even though my full time job kept getting worse and my training started to slack. I still was just happy to be finally getting to spend every night with my human. After a few months and baby steps I had officially moved in.  Things will now be perfect, right?! 

Wrong. What?! You’re all thinking that I must be crazy. I have one job, I don’t have to travel with my meals or dogs and best of all I’m cuddling my dream man every night. I am unbelievably grateful for that but with Ive come to learn that with all good things, comes at least one bad. 

A lot is similar to my normal routine. I have the same forty five minutes to an hour drive, except I get to use a toll way now. I have a membership to the LA fitness we had already been using. We still prep on Sunday. Things that have changed, the drive to and from work now costs twelve dollars a day, I have to go home to let dogs out before I drive fifteen more minutes to the gym. They seem minor but these little changes have had a huge impact on me. Hours have been cut at work so I’m not getting my forty hours and I’m paying a lot to drive every day. By the time I get home to let the dogs out I’ve lost my motivation and then I look at chores and tasks that need to get done and it frustrates me. I end up saying I need to stay home tonight to do x,y, z. I’ve taken a week off during this transition and I didn’t even feel bad. I don’t beat myself up when I think of skipping the gym. I’m just too tired to care anymore. I have struggled every day of my life. I’m a fighter but all my mental and physical energy is going towards work and my financial crisis. I was so excited to move I didn’t take into consideration that the toll way costs money every day and that isn’t my only way to work. I didn’t think that I’d ever be so tired from work that I would be falling asleep at the wheel. When my boyfriend and I talk he just says “just get up and do it” “don’t skip” as easy as it sounds to say, I don’t think he’s felt what a burn out feels like. I’ve been grasping to every last bit of passion I have for lifting but it’s almost not enough these days. It’s a chore, one of the million things I have to do in a day. I hate that this has become that for me. I feel like I’m letting those who look up to me down. I also haven’t spoken openly about how bad I’ve been struggling. Every day I force myself out of bed, to a job and career I’m burnt out on. I spend money to get there and back that I don’t have. Only to turn around and go to a gym that I don’t like, with crappy clientele and over crowing. I have no life outside of that. I’ve made myself a recluse, I’m happier alone where I don’t have to pretend. I don’t have to put on the fake face and make people see what they want to see. That sounds awful. It is awful. I’m trying so hard to keep up, to get up and to stay up but I just keep getting knocked down. I haven’t given up completely on my goals. Let me just make that very clear. I’m just in a slump. I’m hoping that good things are about to happen. Not because I think they’re going to fall in my lap but because I’m making things happen. One stupid baby step at a time. I don’t want pitty or anyone’s sorrow. 

I share how I feel because I know I’m not alone out there. Maybe by reading this one person will get their motivation back.  Maybe others will not hold me to such unrealistic expectations. I am human. 

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