"I confided in my friend about hitting an emotional wall, and her response struck a chord: 'Sometimes, walls are there so we can lean on them to rest.'
We've all experienced that familiar sensation of hitting a metaphorical wall, when our mental and emotional reserves are depleted. Those who work in child welfare and advocate for the best interests of children are especially susceptible to this, as we pour our hearts and souls into our work, often neglecting our own mental well-being. We hit that wall, experience burnout, and gradually become apathetic and disillusioned. Can you relate to this feeling? Sometimes, we fail to recognize it until it's too late.
Neglecting our mental health begins to take a toll on our physical health as well. Ironically, we're quick to seek help for physical pain, yet we tend to hold onto emotional pain until it becomes overwhelming. The truth is, there's absolutely nothing wrong with seeking help for your mental health needs. In the spirit of full disclosure, I take medication for anxiety and regularly see a therapist. I've battled anxiety for years and have been on medication since my mid-30s. Only recently did I start therapy. Along the way, just over a year ago, at the age of 53, I was diagnosed with attention deficit disorder and began taking Adderall, which has made a significant difference.
I'm a mental health professional myself, and yet, I've disregarded my own mental health needs and collided with that figurative wall more times than I'd like to admit. I ignored the warning signs and refused to slow down. Does this sound familiar?
The next time you find yourself hurtling toward that wall, start applying the brakes and pay attention to the signs of burnout. Embrace the wall, lean against it, and take a moment to pause. Close your eyes, breathe deeply, and give yourself the time you need to heal or simply sit with your emotions. Replace negative self-talk with positive mantras. Sometimes, I have to look in the mirror and remind myself that 'I am enough.' Remember that 'you are enough' too, and you are deserving of love and support from others.
While you lean on that wall, lean on the people who love and support you—they are your foundation. Take a step today to care for yourself."