There's been so much going on in my world lately: finishing Study Period One for this year, starting Study Period Two, my dad going in and out of hospital a couple of times (he is fine now, just in case you were worried!), and me catching the cold of doom, to name a few. And the result of all that is that I feel super burnt out now. For a few days I didn't really want to do anything and I couldn't encourage interest in much outside of lying in bed staring at Castle reruns and maybe eating some food. (I still got myself out of bed on these occasions and tried to do things anyway, but it did feel a little hollow.)
It took Xin repeatedly telling me that I seemed a bit burnt out, and my realising that he had complimented me on things, or someone had said something to me, and I just kept forgetting that these things had happened. I would say something and then Xin would ask 'do you remember me saying that to you this morning?' and I would be like 'no...'. My brain had taken a holiday for a few days, taking me memory along with it. (Again, just in case you were worrying, it wasn't anything major, just little things here and there. I seem to be fine now.)
For those that have met with burnout before, you probably know this creature. It really makes it hard to do anything and, for those of us with already compromised immune systems, it can actually make you quite unwell. My cold has yet to go away completely and it has been around for about a two weeks now. This led to a lot of time with me just idly thinking about things, and I realised that what I was thinking was a little troublesome.
You see, recently it has come to light that Centrelink want me to apply for five jobs a fortnight to show my commitment to getting employed, so that I will keep getting paid. Putting all my issues with this aside, let's just say that that has brought up a lot of stuff for me. It has made me start thinking that maybe I am not as sick as I think I am (old problem) and that I should be going out and getting a job (another old problem that hasn't been around for a little while).
This led me to thinking about what I actually wanted to do with my life, and how come I hadn't been writing in so long, and what right did I have to choose a job when so many people just pushed through and worked jobs that they hated. And ERRHGHGHGHGHGH. You may be familiar.
Over the last couple of days I have been chatting with Xin and my dad about these things, just talking about them without any sort of doom and gloom or fear, and what I have realised (again) is this: people rarely occupy just one role. In fact, I think that is pretty much impossible. If I start trying to define myself by the fact that I am currently unemployed, then I will exist solely around that definition, and I will welcome depression back in with open arms. It would represent a complete dismissal of everything else I am: book reviewer, writer, blogger, student. Not to mention daughter, sister, fiance and friend. It also works to dismiss the things that I still deal with when it comes to my health, and the fact that I decided to study online this year to try and take the pressure off a little bit.
With that in mind, I am going to keep dreaming about what sort of jobs I would like to have, but I am also not going to take my other roles for granted. Studying at uni is actually a lot more work than some would think, particularly for me, and I would rather finish that this year than get a job and try and work as well as study until I burn out and have to take time off before completing my degree.
This means I may have to continue to relearn lessons that I thought I already knew, and I may have to talk to those close to me over and over about different things, but I am going to try and do what's right by me during that time.
May you always see how complex and wonderful you are, and not define yourself by one single role.Work is what you do, not who you are. Love to all who read.