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Mommy Burnout-What is it?
Burnout is a state of emotional exhaustion. Mommy burnout happens when a mother has been out of balance for too long-According to Dr. Sears
I had been putting off writing about burnout because I knew it would bring up feelings I prefer to bury. But, I remind myself this is why I wanted to start this blog in the first place. To let other women know that if you are going thru anxiety, depression, and burnout like I did, you are not alone. I’m sharing my personal story with the hopes it reaches other women that are struggling.
“Yes” was the word of choice for five years. Never knowing when to stop. Yes to ask after ask. Obligating myself to boards to volunteer positions to whomever and whatever came my way. I was handling it ok, Until I wasn’t.
Why so many roles on top of parenting 4 kids and running a household? Because, I felt I couldn’t say No. I felt like I didn’t have a choice. This is what we do if we are “stay at home moms.” We sit on boards, we volunteer, we coach, until our metaphorical hands bleed. The Irony; We do everything BUT, stay at home. I said YES to everything that was asked of me sacrificing myself in the process.
The signs I Ignored
The physical symptoms of depression, anxiety, and burnout began slowly. Before meetings and events my heart would start racing and palpitating. I would feel like my heart was going to explode. I would have to take deep breaths to get it to stop. Sitting in my car waiting for it to pass was a common occurrence
The debilitating migraines began shortly thereafter. Sometimes lasting for days. I would end up in bed nauseous from all of the pill popping. Taking anything in my medicine cabinet in the hopes of alleviating just some of the pain. Insomnia followed, with just a little sleeplessness at first. Then I completely stopped sleeping. Three nights before an event, I would end up going seventy-two hours with no sleep. Weight and hair loss ensued. I was a walking zombie.
I had begun to alienate myself from everyone and becoming a recluse. If I didn’t have an event at school or another dreaded obligation I would crawl right back into bed after I dropped the kids off. It would take every ounce of energy I had to get thru school events and daily routines. These symptoms of anxiety and depression I rationalized as just being tired and needing a vacation.
It all finally came to a head one night at a PTA meeting; I flipped out while speaking. I angrily screeched at the audience “Why isn’t anybody listening to me?” while white-knuckling the podium. That was my “Ah Ha” moment when I finally realized I have a problem.
Shortly after “PTA-gate” at the insistance of my husband, I visited my primary physician. She listened when I sobbed in her office. She changed my hormones around and put me on an antidepressant and suggested supplements. I started seeing my therapist consistently. Anxiety and depression will always be issues for me but I recognize my triggers now. Now what keeps me sane is a healthy dose of yoga, doing more for me, and dishing out a lot of “NO’S.” Only saying “yes” to something that brings me joy in doing it. This program works for me, everyone is different.
Through my journey I have met many women that have gone thru similar experiences. I visited a friend last week her eyes red with exhaustion. Why I wonder do we continue to put ourselves thru this self-sacrifice? For our children, For the glory? I wonder if our children will remember all that we did, or would they prefer to remember us as healthy happy mothers?
Have you experienced Mommy burnout? Please share your story.