HAWMC Day 20 – Burn, Baby, Burn…

HAWMC Day 20


Wego Health month challenge continues with a subject near and dear to my heart: burnout. I’m supposed to talk about how it feels, what my “burnout triggers” are, and what I do to get out of that mindset. 

Sisyphus by Franz Stuck
Sisyphus by Franz Stuck

Sisyphus. Poor guy, doomed for eternity, grunting and groaning, rolling that huge boulder up a hill only to reach the top and watch it slip right back down. His one job, his only task, and he can’t ever get it right. Ever.

Do you think he stopped at the bottom sometimes, put his hand on the cursed rock, and say: “Naaahhhh. Not feeling like it today. Maybe I’ll sit hang out here for a while.”?

I am Sisyphus.


There have been times in my life when I just sat, looking up at the summit, and said: “Screw it. I’m tired. Every day, blood and shots and mathematical equations and food and judgement and…” I worried so much about getting it wrong that I felt like I could never get it right, so I’d give up.

My burnout triggers? Easy. Being injured. Being sick. A bunch of really bad lows. A bunch of really bad highs. Stress from work. Stress from relationships. Stress over money. Cold weather. Breathing.

I’m telling you that the triggers are always around us. We all have issues. But sometimes it just pigpiles on and I can’t get out of my own way. The cognitive behavioral therapy self-talks start to sound fake and cheesy. The coping mechanisms break down with overuse. I get frustrated. Tired. Depressed. And the fire that is normally lit under me fizzles and sputters and then grows cold.

I stop testing as often. Ignore how I feel. Eat what I want. Indulge. I couch my excuses with smirks and rolls of my eyes, flashing a “YOLO” hand gesture at the concerned people around me. (Or sometimes, another hand gesture altogether.) I get flippant about my health, because I feel like nothing I do ever makes it right. I’d like to kick that gargantuan ball of granite that is my illness off a cliff, not up a hill.

There is never an epiphany. I don’t suddenly see the error of my ways, throw off my mantle of despair and cheerfully whistle my way to the apex. No Greek god smites me for not pushing my rock, either.

It just stops sucking as much. Or hurting less. I’m not sure which, but the realization that ignoring my diabetes won’t make it go away (I’ve tried that route. Trust me. It doesn’t.). Denying it exists doesn’t work. I can be angry at the disease, but not with myself, and taking it out on me is counterproductive. The spark of anger begins to smolder and smoke. I only have one body that needs me to fuel it for a long time to come. And that rock isn’t going anywhere. I don’t have to like it, but I do have a choice.

I choose to push it up again.

Something ignites inside me and the stone is not quite so heavy. The tune may change tomorrow. For now, the hill is still there, but this time, I dance up it, singing “Burn, baby, burn, disco inferno...”* as I go.


* Click the link. You get to see a little Saturday Night Fever action…


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