I know a lot of people don't respect mental illness, they think it's controllable or all in your head, but I know that that's not the reality. I've struggled with mental health issues of some kind for as long as I can remember. I've had suicidal ideations since I was nine years old, I live with severe depression that doesn't even need a reason to bring me to my knees and often crippling anxiety that disregards logic. That's just to start, never mind the post traumatic stress disorder or mild obsessive compulsive behavior.
Lately I've been really struggling with my depression, feeling overwhelmed and dark. It feels like death to a heart. That's the best I can describe it, it's so debilitating and soul crushing, and these strong emotions can come and go with the wind as they don't need reason. These feelings control you like a puppet master pulling all your strings. It's exhausting and humiliating to be so enslaved to your own mind that seems intent upon your demise.
And this is a normal thing for me, a familiarity that I've lived with for most of my life. I'm a professional at dealing with such emotions, meaning only that I know how to survive it, not control it. But no matter how long I've lived with it, it never gets easier. It dictates everything about how you interact with the world, what you do and don't do (mostly don't do because depression never feels like doing anything), and that affects your work and relationships.
Burnout is a very real problem for many people, especially if you live with depression, in fact, I think burnout is a form of depression. I know depression well, and experiencing burnout feels very similar to me. You don't feel like doing anything, you feel almost powerless and at the mercy of your own mind, but you struggle forward because the world continues to spin and doesn't care about your problems. Life goes on and will leave you behind if you let it. Sometimes it's so easy to let it.
I wish I could tell you how to overcome depression and burnout, but I haven't figured that out myself. What I can tell you is that if you experience depression or other mental health symptoms you're not alone. This is extremely serious, it's not all in your head, it's a very real reality for many people, and you don't have to experience it alone, so don't give up, don't face it alone.
The Well Project has a great library of fact sheets, including one on depression, that I encourage you to check out, along with lots of other women who can relate with what you're going through. See the fact sheet here and come interact with us in A Girl Like Me. Share your thoughts and experiences with us in the A Girl Like Me group, and read about ours as well. Depression will isolate you and make you feel like you're all alone in the world, but know that you're not. Find your community, the people who care about you and support you even when you're not at your best. I've found my community here at The Well Project, and we've got lots of room for more.