A Good Week (and Foreboding Joy) – part 3

I don’t want to jinx it (I don’t think I even believe in that, you know…), but I had a really good week last week, the first ‘good week’ in months.   And that’s VERY good timing because I’m getting a little worried about an upcoming trip my husband is taking for work and my own emotional state of being at this time – am I ready to be at home alone?  So having a good week is a very good thing right now! Empowering. It almost feels like maybe I turned some sort of proverbial corner.

And yet…

Brene Brown talks about foreboding joy, “Joy can feel like a setup.  We wake up in the morning and think, Work is going well. Everyone in the family is healthy. No major crises are happening. The house is still standing. I’m working out and feeling good. Oh $*#@! This is bad. This is really bad. Disaster must be lurking around the corner. Our first thought is Too good to be true. What’s the catch?

It’s the ‘waiting for the other shoe to drop’ idea.  Yes, I had a really good week.  And yes, I’m terrified that it was a fluke and it won’t last.

What constitutes a good week nowadays?  Well, I didn’t have any crying breakdowns. I didn’t have to be rescued from any conversations or group dynamics where my brain just quit working. I didn’t have any days where my stress level seemed out of control or when I felt the anxiety creeping up my shoulders and in to my head.  A ‘good week’ started with a life-giving soul-restoring day at the beach. A good week looked like days that had elements of tasks accomplished, time connecting with friends and family, time to rest, and even time for creativity.  There was a day or two that probably held a little more activity and brain-work than I should have allowed at this time, but the good part is that I recognized that and dealt with it.  I dialed it back, which has definitely NOT been the case in the past.  And, at one point, I even asked myself if I was feeling good because I was doing too much and therefore the adrenaline was kicking in = my drug of choice nowadays.  I was able to evaluate and reflect and that’s a step in the right direction, I think.

I, by no means, think that because I had a good week then I must be all better or healed.  HA! Not by a long shot.  This is a marathon, not a sprint. I had a good week. Period. Just like a week sober is a great thing, but by no means makes you ‘clean’ and healed. And the signs are still there that prove to me that I have a long way to go. Just yesterday, after facilitating a very intense class with very controversial themes, taught in my second language, with some extremely passionate voices at the table literally yelling their opinions at each other… I managed it and felt like I was ‘on’ and back in my teaching and facilitating groove. But the second the class was over, so was I.  I was toast. My brain was done and it just shut down.  And that was that for yesterday.  One good hour of class was all I was capable of.  The rest of the day was necessary recovery time for the physical and mental exhaustion that one passionate hour of discussion created in me.  The one hour felt great – it was great to be in my element and in my groove. But the energy output that one hour took was enormous.

You can’t pour from an empty cup.

Much like my time on the Camino, I’m learning that every day is a new day and every day holds its own challenges, its own hurdles to overcome and its own decisions to be encountered. There are good days and there are tough days, there are days when I feel like I got a long way, and days when I just can’t keep going and have to rest.  The trick is learning to listen to my own mind and my own body and know when to stop and fill my cup.

This is Part Three of a series on my burnout recovery journey to read more:
Part One – The Slow Burn(out)
Part Two – Two Steps forward, One step back

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