I’ve been enjoying going to monthly workshops with Calligraphy SA. I’m not madly into lettering but I love ink and paper and I like to explore new styles and tools. Today I used a dip pen for the first time (I’m a fountain pen person, which is very different and uses completely different inks). We were exploring decorative letters which was playful and fun. 

This afternoon I invited a couple of friends over and made up a big batch of fluffy pancakes. 

Only a handful weeks back, I was diagnosed with exhaustion by my GP and psychologist. Staring down into the pit of anguish I know so well from my last experience, it was all coming back to me. The haunting death sense, the feelings of failure and meaninglessness, waking up and spending hours crying before being able to get out of bed… Terrifying, overpowering, and bleak.

Things are turning around, and this time it’s quick. I’ve taken decisive action before reaching the deeps of that place. Focusing on developing a more sustainable work life, prioritising settings in which I not only do work I’m proud of but also thrive rather than sacrifice myself, and reaching out for peer support have all helped. I’m prioritising developing more skills and understanding around exhaustion and burn out – clearly there’s a pattern here for me which I need to break. I’m making progress. An important discovery has been that my internal compass doesn’t let me know when my choices are causing me great stress, it simply behind clouded and I can’t tell what I need. That cloudedness is the indication I’m off track and at risk. It’s hard to pay attention to, and even harder to know at times what the best choice is, but a crude navigation can be achieved by noticing the choices that make me feel confused and those that help me feel clear and connected to myself. 
I’m hopeful. I’ve been waking up feeling good about life again, cheerful, productive, connected to my family. It’s been a huge year of learning and growth. I’ve been fortunate to have many brilliant teachers and generous peers around me. I’m soaking it all up, putting it into action. There’s a path forward and I’m finding it.

2 thoughts on “Thriving

  1. I’m hoping to look into compassion fatigue as a factor in burnout in the helping profession. Do you know any good books on the subject? Di B.


    • So far the best book I’ve come across has been The Joy of Burnout. Compassion Fatigue is often called vicarious trauma, you may find it helpful to search for that term too. I don’t have a great book suggestion for that, the best resource I came across was a talk given by local trauma psychologist Sue Hetzel. You could try to contact her for suggestions or I could on your behalf.


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