Ophélia

For this fourth issue we met Ophélia, a young lady who recently went through a burn-out. She agreed to share her experience and thoughts with us. What appealed to us while talking with her is how positive and faithful she is. It is truly inspiring to meet someone like this who can see a burn-out has an opportunity to know better yourself and to grow. May her story give you comfort and inspiration.

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-Who are you?

My name is Ophélia, and I am a 26 years old woman who is born and raised in The Netherlands. I have a fulltime job and in my free time I love to spend time with my boyfriend, friends and family, I also love to dance and do photography.

-When did you understand you had a burn-out?

My burn-out wasn’t just there all of a sudden. Due to many factors combined together, the burn-out started to develop till it reaches the point that I knew something was going on. Yet I didn’t know what exactly was going on. A few months before I had to call in sick, I noticed that I was extremely tired every day. When I got home from work I made dinner and ate, and after that I felt asleep right away. It was only 6 or 7 pm. I also couldn’t handle very well many incentives at the same time. It got me stressed out and I would react moody and impatiently and I would snarl to other people. One time I even ran away to my bedroom with the lights shut down, trying to calm myself down.

I was so stressed out for days I asked for a week off at work because I felt like I needed to give my body and mind some rest. That week didn’t help at all. Even though I did almost nothing, I just couldn’t find my rest. The day after this week off I went to work and after work I went for grocery shopping. In the supermarkt I totally panicked and freaked out. I started crying desperately as I went home. I slept very bad that night and all I could do was crying and the days after too. Yet I still went to work, doing my best to get it together and not burst out in tears. When I felt I couldn’t hold my tears I would ran to the bathroom, with hope no one would noticed it. The next day I spoke to a co-worker who was recovering from a burn-out. I told her how I felt, still not knowing I was having a burn-out. She told me to go to the doctor. So I did it and the doctor told me that I was having a burn-out. She explained to me what it is and it made sense to me because I had those symptoms.

-How did you explain to your entourage what you were going through?

I told my entourage what happend the days and weeks before I went to the doctor. And that the doctor told me I was having a burn-out. I also explained to them how I felt and what was going on with me, physically and mentally. Of course I didn’t know everything at the beginning. So I explained the things I did understood and also the things I didn’t understood.

-What helped you to recover?

First of all, I never, never, never stopped believing that it was going to be okay and that I would get through this and become a better version of me. Of course it was a hard time, and not all days were an easy one. I cried a lot, I was very tired and couldn’t do much activities per day. But I never stopped believing in myself.

I accepted burn-out, I stood open for professional help from a psychologist, and I tried to not force myself to be better “just like that”. It takes time to get into a burn-out, and it also takes time to recover from it.

And even though there are still some days I feel a little bit insecure, I am so proud of the woman I am today.

What also helped me a lot was the help and support from my boyfriend, friends and family. They were very understanding.

Also I spoke with people in my environment who also had a burn-out. I found it nice to speak with people who dealt with it because to me it felt like I wasn’t the only one who had to overcome a burn-out and who had to suffer from it. By speaking with them I also learned that it is a very personal journey, and everyone has to deal with it in an other way. But overall, people who dealt with a burn-out will completely understand how you’re feeling. And that is the nice thing about sharing each other experiences.

-How do you feel now?

Now I am feeling good. Sometimes I feel a bit small when my insecurity is taking over. But there are only rare moments now and then. Overall I feel strong, happy and at peace. I feel proud of myself for all the things I have learned from this stage in life.

-What did you learn from yourself thanks to your burn-out?

I learned that I needed to love and respect myself much more, and that I do matter! I learned that my feelings, thoughts and opinions matter, that I don’t have to put myself down to try to make another person happy. That my time and space are also valuable, that I don’t have to carry the world. I felt so responsible for my job and the people around me that I sometimes could lost myself in it. Through therapy I learned how to deal with this and how to have a healthy balance in my responsibility towards others.

-Do you have tips for people who are dealing with it now?

First of all accept that your body and your whole system is out of control and that it takes time to get back on track. Love yourself and respect yourself, so you are able to respect the proces you’re in. Please never stop believing that it’s going to be okay and that you will get through this. Look at this phase in your life as a gift. A gift so you can (re)discover yourself and grow in the best version of you.

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As she mentioned it, Ophélia is also a photographer. You can see her joyful photographies on her Instagram account . Enjoy:-)

Photography Charmaine

 

 

Ana

If you are familiar with Amsterdam’s cultural scene you might already know Ana, aka Amsterdive. Ana is typically a slash lady, she writes/acts/teaches Yoga and knows where good coffee is. What you might not know is that she had a burn-out. In this interview you will learn more about her own experience and insights. Enjoy!

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Who are you?
Ana. 33. Portuguese roots, Amsterdammer at heart. I’m an actress / writer / blogger hybrid.
When did you understand that you were having a burn-out?
When I had a panic episode at work.
What helped and helps you?
I was already a fan of yoga before the burn-out. Then I added meditation into my dailylife, which has been playing a crucial role in my recovery. I also try to pay more attention to the quality of what I eat. More nutritious whole foods that support my psychological well-being, less junk that drags me down. The book “The Happiness Trap” (Dr Russ Harris) was a great recent discovery. Other than this, therapy and loved ones 🙂
What did you learn about yourself thanks to your burn-out?
A burn-out is a huge moment of confrontation with yourself. We live in a time where the pressure to perform and succeed in all fronts of one’s life is unbelievably high. Therefore, I was also one of those who used to set very high bars to herself. First of all, I have learned about my limitations and I have learned to accept and respect them. This is an ongoing and very challenging process. I had to let go of some work-related expectations. I also had to let go of the urge to always ‘be in control’. Furthermore, I have realized that my self-esteem was very dependent on my ‘performance’ and on ‘what I do’. As long as I could keep on going, keep on doing stuff, keep up with all the projects and people in my life, I was good. My current goal is to feel I am good enough even when I’m not racing. Even when I am doing nothing. Good enough, darling 😉
Could you share three tips?
1st: Definitely, therapy. If you find the right professional to help you, that is. It is very important that one feels a good empathy click with their therapist. If you don’t, drop it, do some research, and find another one.
2nd: Ask for help. Let go of control. Surrender. Let your loved ones in, allow them to take care of you while you need. This is actually an opportunity for you to get closer to them and build stronger bonds. Let yourself be supported: no one should have to go through this alone.
3rd: Mindfulness. Find a couple of pleasurable activities that connect you to the present moment and get you out of the couch (and off your pc, for that matter). The goal is that you get a bit active, but relax at the same time. For me, yoga + meditation really work. For you it can be a walk in the park, gardening, painting or some other long lost ‘meditative’ hobby of yours.
If you want to know more about Ana, her creative journey and be up to date with the Amsterdam’s cultural agenda, you can find her on Instagram and Facebook
Credits photography Dana Marin Amsterdamian