Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach
Back in October 2006, I had my first panic attack. My chest tightened on the way to work. I thought I was having a heart attack.
I was in a job I hated in a company I loved. The conflict ate at me every day. Stress wore me down but I dragged myself to put in more hours and keep going. I was after a promotion and nothing was going to stop me.
My days began with caffeine and the news. On an adrenaline high, I began working on the train to the office. Working 14 hour days, commuting 3 hours, fitting in daily living and sleep into the remaining 7 hours.
There is a huge difference between working 14 hour days in a job you hate or feel forced into as opposed to one that fulfills you and you perform joyously.
I lost my social life, my joy, my connection to friends and family. But I kept going. Even when I felt drained.
My weekends became additional days of work and soon all my days blurred together.
My body and mind sent alarm signals. Insomnia set in.
When I did sleep, it was never restful. I ate cookies to comfort myself at night then went to bed late ashamed of gobbling down the cookies. I made terrible food choices during the day too and justified them with stories of how hard I was working.
I slowly began to unravel. I was short circuiting emotionally and soon fell down a big black hole into burnout. The panic attack on the train was the first time I stopped to take notice.
Burnout was a horrible place to end up. I couldn’t think clearly or make a meaningful sentence. I wondered why people around me couldn’t understand much of what I said.
I lost my health, job, time, freedom, joy, identity and sense of purpose. That’s a lot of loss.
I grieved for a long time for the perfection I sought and never achieved, for the health I pushed aside in favor of the adrenalin that kept me going. It was a very dark and painful time, and I would never wish this on anyone.
I clawed my way back because somewhere deep inside me, there was a flicker of knowing that I was meant for something better and I had to find it.
I recovered from my burnout and regained my sense of personal power and confidence slowly over a period of a decade.
Marelda Rodrigues, FMCHC, CNMT, of Move Beyond Grief, is a Grief Massage Therapist, Certified NeuroMuscular Therapist, Functional Medicine Certified Health Coach, author, speaker, traveler and culinary enthusiast, with over 20 years of experience in the health and wellness space.
Through her grief wellness coaching programs, Marelda helps clients maintain the food and lifestyle habits vital to staying healthy while adapting to and moving through grief, loss, anxiety and high stress. She provides them with the space, tools and resources to live their best lives while honoring their loss and finding their sense of self.
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