When I Realized I Overworked Myself to Distract From Depression


I would like to say that my workaholic tendencies stem from watching my father work as much as he did during my upbringing, that as a child I was a sponge and what I witnessed was then ingrained in me and I was bred this way. Sure, I can place the onus on my upbringing and that lens was shaped to see life from this perspective. I can then say it is because of the world I live in — this narrowed view that we must “do” more, and when busy equates to success, resting is no option.

Fast track 30 years later and I have learned to take ownership of my actions, behaviors, and my life. Realizing now my addiction to keeping busy was only a distraction from the inner turmoil and dark pit of depression that was often too comfortable to sit in. So I resided to working as much as possible to cut the probability of crawling into my darkness.

Not surprisingly, the work I did was never satisfying. It leached the life from my soul and dampened my spirit to the point that I lost touch with what fulfilled me. Looking back, it astounds me how I did it. The resilience to keep going despite the dragging weight of depression on your back and the anxiety choking at your chest. You just keep going. For someone like me, who kept piling on the tasks, you begin to understand that when you do stop, everything will hit you like a car crash. From knowing this, you do not stop. You lack the appreciation of rest. And you quickly believe you are unworthy and undeserving of anything more.

The reality though, is there comes a point in your life when you do wake up. It’s as if the universe is nudging at you, reminding you there can be more to life than this. You catch a glimpse of what a nourishing and fulfilling life can look like. Once you feel this, nothing will ever be the same again. This feeling begins its rise to the surface and sits there patiently waiting underneath your skin, but the pressure to be released into the world is palpable.

The warrior within you stands up and says this is enough.

You are enough. You are worthy of more than this.

So I humbly accepted that I played the role in working myself to the point of illness. I will not point the finger at my father or my upbringing or the fast-paced world I was born into. Hell no. This is a story of a woman taking ownership and taking back control of her life. I am a woman who has lived dark days where the depression has carved deep lines into places where no one can see. Instead of the shame I riddled myself with in the past, I now see that as courage.

I have vowed to take space and step away from working too much. To sit and converse with depression and anxiety, to embrace those parts so familiar to me. To ask. To understand. To question. The vulnerability in creating space after years of distraction is just as difficult as the first time I walked into my well of depression. The intimacy of learning about yourself, really honoring all parts of you, shadowy, awful pieces you may feel shame about, it’s beautiful. And I believe when we create space in our life, the universe will rush in and gift us with profound change.

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Thinkstock photo by fizkes

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