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