Health

After all the great feedback on the previous post on Burnout, and Randy Fay's excellent talk (video included) and blog posts.

A few things that I can say for sure:

Randy Fay is doing a session at DrupalCon on Burnout:

We have an incredible group of people who invest deeply in our common project. Some significant portion of this group is near burnout at any given time, and we've lost important contributors, some famously, as a result of this.

The more general problem is: How can we help our contributors to manage their work so they don't get so close to burnout? How can we help people find (or regain) balance while dealing with the technical and social problems of contributing to our great project?

Proposed solution:
- Begin a concentrated initiative to grow and keep our contributors, and to keep them happy.
- Make this a goal a key project responsibility.

He just posted a blog post, on defining burnout and signs of it, this week as well.

 

The Backstory

(Note: Some of this first half will be redundant if you're a regular reader.) Somewhere in the midst of being cooped up at home sick for weeks on end this spring, something in me clicked. I stopped caring about not being able to do it all. I don't know if it's so much giving in, or self preservation, or just not needing to beat myself up for things I can't change. Maybe it was survival instinct, or maybe it was being forced to accept the reality of my energy and wellness levels. I'm sure a question my counselor asked me a while back got this all circulating in the back of my mind: "What would happen if you didn't do everything that you want, what then?" My answer at the time: "I feel like if I had to give up doing all these things, that I would cease to exist."

What's that? Oh yes, that is the smell of sweet, sweet VICTORY!!! 

Photo Booth

And just like that it's over. It's a small miracle that I actually made it to San Francisco for DrupalCon SF.  As I mentioned before, I caught the flu just over a week and a half before I was supposed to leave for the conference, and was SOOOOO sick. I got a fever, then the worst cough I think I've had since I was a kid.  My mom saved my ass and came out and stayed with me for a week, I hardly left my bed the entire time. She went back to Saskatoon about three days before I was supposed to leave for SF, but I was still pretty sick, and was about 5 days into a week of having lost my voice. Making the con did NOT look promising.

2010-03-09 16.11.30

Dear Life: CUT ME A FUCKING BREAK. SRSLY.

The last 10 days have played out as such:

My stomach had semi stabilized for a couple weeks or so after six weeks of massive IBS flareup (a couple of which I was pretty well incapacitated) after getting a stomach virus in early February. When Easter long weekend rolled around (a week ago) and I was itching to get out of my apartment, and out of the city, the only last minute weekend accomplices that were available were a good friend (Amye) and cousin (Colleen) down in Oregon. So I said heck, and booked a next day flight down and a hotel room for my cousin and I, feeling strong enough for at least a weekend of lounging around with some of my favourite people.

I'm better than I was a couple weeks ago, but I am not well. Not yet. And the last two weeks, I pushed too hard, and now I'm feeling a bit worse again. It's so hard not to jump back in full on, into life.

 

I went to counseling this week for the first time in a while, I said I'd been struggling with a lot since getting really sick last month. Mainly, I am terrible about asking for help. And I am terrible at not pushing myself too hard once I start feeling better. I don't want to miss out on things, and I don't want to let people down.

My counselor asked me, so what? What is your greatest fear if you just stopped doing everything, and rested... And in all honesty, the only thing that came to mind, is if I stop doing everything I want and need to do, that I would feel like I don't exist. BAM. Biggest fear in life right there. Scares the bejeezus out of me even thinking about things like that.

Years ago when I was doing my undergrad at SFU, one of the doctors at the walk-in clinic there recommended a book to me called When the Body Says No. I went out and bought this book, and after flipping through it felt really offended at the recommendation. The book is about the physiological effects of stress, mainly in relation to how undealt with stress can result in chronic illnesses, auto-immune diseases, cancer, etc. I though the doctor was implying that I wasn't handling stress well, and it was making me sick. And whatever elements of truth that may have had, I found it incredibly offensive, largely because she didn't propose any solutions as far as what could help decrease the severity of my chronic health problems. So I put the book away on my shelf, and there it has sat for the past several years...yet surviving many book culls (for the sake of bookshelf sustainability).

So about that sick. I said Tuesday that things were pretty bad, but Wednesday they got worse. I ended up at the doctor's again, as it had gotten so bad that I was feeling too lightheaded to really do anything. That was the most scared I've been for my health in as long as I can remember. I got a really good doctor (surprisingly) at the walk in clinic Wednesday evening and he figured that my intestines had become pretty inflamed as a result of the virus I'd had, and that's why I wasn't really digesting anything properly anymore, and also why I had become so tired/weak.

And my head may as well be too.

I am officially failing at my intentions for 2010 the past few days. I have been feeling super frustrated and anxious, and generally out of sorts. Being that nothing in particular has triggered this, I am pretty inclined to associate it with not having felt too well again for the last couple weeks. I just don't recover well from any disturbances in the force, and it can take me weeks if not longer to get back to "normal" (whatever that is) after something goes off balance.

After randomly getting a really bad rash the week before, and then having a bad IBS flareup, I am feeling pretty run down emotionally and physically. And yet, the world keeps racing along, so I never feel like I can really stop and rest to a point where I actually feel rested. Just enough to keep trucking along and not totally fall apart.

Intestine Socks!

My gosh, I don't know if things are actually really crazy right now, or if I'm just burnt out and tired of my stomach giving me grief.  Whatever is going on, I know I have been feeling super stressed and scattered, and crazy exhausted.  Sucks, cause I use all my energy up on work and then spend my Friday nights watching The Wedge (aka. one of the two only good shows left on MuchMusic - the other is Going Coastal) and knitting.  Granted, there are worse things in the world, but I'd frankly rather be out hanging with some lovely people!

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