Exhaustion - Why you must always plan for the "CrossRoads."
Lets talk Exhaustion; but not as a general term of being "extremely tired", but lets break it down into its three main components: Mental, Physical and Emotional.
This is quite a lengthy blog post so I suggest you get a drink and get comfy. Its also going to be possibly an emotional roller coaster so buckle up. Were going to look into all three and then draw on some common threads.
Now lets get the first one out of the way which were all guilty of in some way shape or form: Emotional Exhaustion. The causes can range from the passing of a loved one, Losing your job or even just not getting enough sleep! there isn't no exact diagnosis as it can come from pretty much every single external variable no matter how big or small, but its one which is born out of not looking after your own psyche - your own mental well being. Now speaking from experience; every time I came out of psychosis, never have a felt so tired afterwards. Okay so maybe thrashing about, sprinting away from those who I thought were trying to hurt me or even just being in an absolutely inconsolable heap on the floor; there is a specific point where you just feel in a sate of satirical bliss - a state of awareness where you know exactly whats happened but your that drained you just whimper, hold yourself and just accept what has happened. This is what I call the "CrossRoads".
What is the "Crossroads?"
The "Crossroads" can be anything you want it to be in your own mental health journey - it can be where you make the next move of getting help, it can be the place where you decided a big change in your life - but for many it can be the place, where you decide you don't want to be on the planet anymore; unfortunately this entrance is well lit, highly maintained and a dual carriageway; the others - not in such a great condition as the aforementioned. For some like myself, its a services stop. Its the services where your lucky enough to finally get to this position and think:
Where do I go from here? - Do I leave? - Do I get help? - Do I make a big change and chance it?
The fact is if you are at the crossroads, your already at the first step of recovery; even just considering that there may be a need of help isn't a sign of defeat, its a sign your ready to fight and this is applicable in the other two categories which ill draw the comparison later. Emotional Exhaustion is a fatigue where you are going to need some support. Ill admit that when I was at my lowest, I wanted help but I did not want to be a burden on anyone and that made the damned dual carriage way analogy feel even more attractive.
The best way to get out of this Emotional Exhaustion is to go down the best avenue - the turn off on the "crossroads" where you seek help - it can be from a friend, family member or even a group on Facebook. I've joined LOADS just for Borderline Personality Disorder alone and the fact that they are there, I've got a small but stable group of friends I trust and some incredible family members and there is absolutely NO shame in seeking it. The amount of times where I just had hug and to cry on Amber's shoulder are countless. Do something you enjoy, learn what makes you feel you again - If its Netflix, If its Audible, If its drawing; Practice your own well being and mindfulness. Before you even think about going down the well lit carriage way, ask your self this question. "Who ever said after a road trip - I really enjoyed going down that strait motorway!!"
The moral is - Journeys are supposed to give memories, You'll get lost along the way, there may be some narrow and dangerous bends; but think about it and plan for forks in the road. Its going to be one hell of a story - That is a promise.
Now for those who like my self use physical activity as a break out and self care we must be aware of the next one Physical Exhaustion, I'm seriously guilty of this. The amount of times where I've had a bad day either at work or with personal issues is easily into their tens thousands and every time, cant wait to get the trainers on and pound the tarmac. The human body is incredible that it can do these sort of things, but it can turn nasty with a cruel twist of fate; By doing this every day, and putting your body through a lot of physical stress, it can become destructive. I know what your thinking and yes I have just essentially said, "Don't run, its bad for you." bear with me on this. The facts are if you don't incorporate a rest day even in normal training your going to hit yourself with injury whether you like it or not - and when you do, Guess what - Your Entering the "Cross Roads."
I'm not saying if you run day in and day out your going to get injured, this isn't strictly true. Its healthy to give a good blast out of the emotions in a healthy way through running, but if running is your self-help and mindfulness you need to protect this. If your always going 100% and not having adequate rest or Self-care, your going to burn out with fatigue - and like I said, if this happens, your already at the "CrossRoads."
Look after your body, take life slowly for a change and change the tempo - Give yourself that 5 minuets to say "You know what, I need a 5 minuet sit/slow down." or "I'm going to get some air." Nothing in life is too important to just give yourself that time to break, reset and get going again. Using me for example, rather than going to ALWAYS beat my personal best times, some times its best to just go and enjoy your self - Challenge your self from time to time, but NEVER make yourself your own enemy. You and your brain are the best team you'll ever have.
Finally Lets look at Mental Exhaustion - Not last because its least important, all three are as equal as one another, and well to be perfectly honest the same message stands. There has been evidence over the years that both Mental and Physical Exhaustion can materialize in the same failure mechanisms which result in the - you guessed it - the "CrossRoads".
Mental exhaustion in my own experience comes from having far too much on your plate and your not having the time to switch off. The brain quite literally doesn't want to take anything else in and its wanting to process exactly what is going on at the moment. Sometimes it may want to push it to one side in a means of protecting the user, but in the long run can cause more significant issues such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Again, in a means to combat this we need to take a break, have some self love in your daily routine albeit some sketching, getting a breath of fresh air or even just dunking a biscuit into your tea; you need to let your brain solve the problems at hand and then go again.
You can easily draw comparisons to that of a Computer. If you have 90 tabs open in your web browser (Or you use windows explorer - 3) the computer needs more time to process these things and will run slower. Its your responsibility to do one task at a time and realize when enough is enough. By not listening, your on a one way trip to the CrossRoads.
Looking at all three now, we can pick up on a common trend. All three bubbles of exhaustion can manifest into many different things from depressive illnesses to physical ailments if we don't do the one common thing in all three sections - Look after yourself.
See, looking after yourself - There is no shame in it. Some people like to paint models, some people like to watch TV, some like to just sleep it off - The fact is there is NO WRONG ANSWER. If it helps to relieve the symptoms of any of these exhaustion modes of failure, then your onto a winner. I cannot express enough how finding that one thing you find love and enjoyment in is so important. for me, Running or jogging, its just the way I am and what I enjoy.
For the first time ever in this blogs history (And every other blog perhaps) I'm setting you, the reader home work. Just for one time this week, I want you to do something you like and enjoy. Read a book, Catch up with old friends, Go for a run - it doesn't matter - Be you. Be what you want to be. Be happy.
The CrossRoads are a very dangerous place to be; I've been there and well the statistics are harrowing - Last year (2017) alone, there were 6000 deaths due to Suicide. That's one person every two hours. That person could have missed all the turn offs and went down the well lit, well maintained road. I'm lucky, as I know of many other people are also who managed to turn off at the last moment. Don't let your life and your stresses/stains make you go the same way. Slow Down, Love your self.
Stay Strong, Stay Safe MentalHealthRunner xx