I feel fine, I am fine
I repeat it like a mantra, ad nauseum “I feel fine, I am fine”
I learn to take a deep breath before I ask questions that could cause a snap. “I feel fine, I am fine.”
I learn to look for signs and details nobody else sees. “I feel fine, I am fine.” I learn to understand that the pain and anger isn’t about me. “I feel fine, I am fine.”
I learn to work late, forget to grab breakfast, eat dinner after midnight…if I eat at all. “I feel fine, I am fine.” I learn to hold it longer, sleep less, and take less breaks. “I feel fine, I am fine.”
I learn to stare down the barrel of a crisis, redirect and diffuse it, and not blink once. Even when it hurts me. “I feel fine, I am fine.”
I learn to stay even-keel in the middle of the most chaotic and stressful moments in history. “I feel fine, I am fine.”
My body begins to force me to take breaks, illness and ailment return again and again.
I begin to forget things, make increasingly larger mistakes, minor injuries increase.
I begin to make decisions that don’t take anyone else into account, I just need to get things done and if no one else will make that call… I do.
I find myself spinning out about little things, trying to regain my balance I pull others into my chaos hoping they will still me but instead they spin up too. I feel validated this way, it’s easier to ignore how out of control I am so I keep going.
Everything begin to feel so personal, like everyone is trying to get me. I push away and close everyone off, it is easier that way. Nobody else gets hurt. “I feel fine, I am fine.”
Everything becomes heavy. It takes the strength of an army to get me from one point to another, even into bed at night.
And then…when I am alone with my thoughts…I know that I do not feel fine and am not fine. I am not fine at all.
Sooner or later something had to give. I am still recovering.
My journey through the phases of burning out working in juvenile justice and child welfare is not one I typically share in this way, usually I don’t share much in the way of how it really was and sometimes still is for me. I hold it close to the vest sometimes because in spite of all the other things I have been through in my lifetime, this is a space where healing is actively happening.
Today I am sharing this because I have had so many conversations with folks these last few weeks who are where I have been. They are in the same space and they are hurting themselves and others. And it is painful to see.
You are worthy of the same care you offer to others, my friends. Please know that.
I firmly believe that tending to your self is critical and supporting folks in this is part of my purpose. For you and I, as human beings who are worthy of care, and also for everyone around us too. I cannot show up for others with my best self if I am not showing up for me as my best self. None of us can.
A couple years ago I published a workbook of many of the practices I use in coaching around this very thing because there were so many people reaching out to me that I didn’t have capacity to support. I wasn’t ever going to do that, and then someone I hold dear called me out on it…holding the things I learned so close no one else could benefit from them doesn’t set well in my spirit.
This leads me to the second reason I am sharing about this.
Right now, the workbook I wrote is listed at a major discount on Amazon. For those of you who have been contemplating taking your staff through it, have thought about going through it with a group of friends, or just wanted to purchase but haven’t had the budget to do so, this is your opportunity.
Take the chance on you, now is your time.
It Takes Work: Burning Out, Recovering, and Beginning to Grow https://www.amazon.com/Takes-Work-Burning-Recovering-Beginning/dp/1707832293/ref=sr_1_1?crid=1ACGKSMG42EI7&keywords=it+takes+work+%2B+mrs+rachel+pointer&qid=1657708891&sprefix=it+takes+work+%2B+mrs+rachel+pointer%2Caps%2C86&sr=8-1