The concept of overworking in society (at least in my immediate vicinity) is being painted in praising light. And since third grade, I’ve been prone to overloading myself.
Once the stressload was down, I always fell ill. It’s been a clear pattern for years, as if my organism released an iron grip on itself. So mental rest equaled physical illness to me.
Come a time where I moved out, age 19, multiple factors of stress, feelings of extreme isolation and unsettled tensions with my family. In only a few months it swung me into the worst depression episode I have ever had. My days passed in a emotional cycle of self pity, anger, blankness and crying fits. I could not speak to anyone on the phone without bursting into tears afterwards. And what did I say at school? (I still had some savings since I quit work.)
That I have a fever and am physically ill. I used illness as a short and easy way to settle people’s minds about me. No one will expect things from you nor will question the validity. Even if they did understand, claiming physically ill was simple. Easy. And I was not in a position of long-winded communication then.
Most if ever found out about my depression after I started coming out of it. Luckily I haven’t had any downfalls of such extreme ever since.
But I have had overloaded myself countlessly. My whole family are overworkers. My partner is very prone to overworking. I pushed myself too far, gave my all in a field and failed, breaking down most of my self-belief. I took half a year to rest. Just work my easy gift-wrapping job, given I had quit university for the very same project I failed at.
The dissonance and pressure to get a higher education externally grew. I found something I liked in vocational school and said to my partner “You’re all lucky I find interest in subject, otherwise I wouldn’t go.”
By now I am finding it all extremely difficult to mentally balance. Feeling like this busy state of 12-hour obligations without time for my hobbies is eternal, I am partially afraid to put loads of energy into one thing again, even if I’m rationally encouraging myself. It’s a raw paranoia that the effort might go to waste or backfire if I solely focus on it.
All in all, I got used to the simple life, having a nice but not prestigious job and nearly having all the time I wish for side-projects. Now I’m constantly balancing on not mentally overloading myself by making expectations into a Big Bad Wolf, which I am very prone to.
(As Mr.Mackey said in SP: tFbW game, “F*** you , expectations!”)
Right now, this is is my second rest day. I have low blood pressure so if I spend the majority of the day lying down, I will feel very woozy and weak if I work in the evenings. I told my partner I want a rest day and told him I am not feeling well. I think he understood despite my wooziness that the real reason is overstressing.
There is a constant guilt in the back of my mind for avoiding overload, especially since I’ve had interventions to go bigger on life than that comfort zone I spent half a year in. Since most in my vicinity overwork themselves to the bone and it’s considered almost normal, I’ve rested under the guise of physically not feeling well.
Why I am confessing this and writing this is to a) get my thoughts out and b) to stop using physical wellbeing as a shield, to be honest with myself and with others.
Even if overworking is common, it is not normal (as in my native language ‘normal’ is synonymous to ‘okay’). I have no idea where my balance between productivity and rest lay without it sliding into laziness, but I sure as hell am figuring it out.
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