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When I was diagnosed « burnt out » by my doctor, september 2015, I used sleeping 3-4 hours per night, five days a week. In my weekend days, I was so exhausted that I didn’t wake up until I had enough. Recovery sleep, what was that ?

Professionals say that our biological system starts producing melathonin at 22 pm, and recovering every single cell in our body, from 23 pm to 1 am. After that time, it’s too late. That means that if you go to sleep after 2 or 3 am every single night, it is quite possible that you develop health issues, and deseases, due to a weakened mental and physical body. As soon as I got my sick leave, a collegue had a terrible accident on his bycicle, when out for competition, on a sunday morning, he had his chest broken and couldn’t do any sport or walk properly, for a long time; another collegue went to hospital for a few months, and when he came back to work, he had to rearrange his schedules the same then I. He was stressed out, but he couldn’t ever admit to him self. The first, who was also my coach, told me that 4 hours sleep for him was enough. And for a while, he went on smoking weeds to help relaxing him self in the evening, until he finally had to quit, because of addiction. The second, who was in charge of « fake alert » (after january Paris attack), with me, moved to another service after a long recovery time in hospital. Because he was in denial, first, with him Self, he couldn’t see that something was wrong with me. He just told me, once, that I looked like I was going to cry, all the time, and that’s it. Also, he asked me if  I was bipolar.

When home, not only I felt drained, but unexpectedly, I wanted to do more. So, I used to sit on my kitchen table, and write down plenty of « to do list ». Cook, walk, draw, create, clean, iron, fix bike’s wheel, yoga, relax. I checked the list, except for last one, of course. What you should consider as normal, on an off work day, like having fun, going out, or simply cocooning at home, was not considered, and seen as a waste of time. Yes, I spent my rest time keep doing things. What helped me, during my journey, was this article about being anxious. It stated to try to write down your list, and then destroy it. So, I did it. My table is much cleaner now. And my mind, too.

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By the way, the person who really made the difference there, was my manager. During a certain time, she wasn’t there as much as the service required, or I would, due to her family’s configuration schedule, but I can’t blame her. At that right time, I did. I was angry against all management and frustration made me nervous and put me in a bad mood. Instead of leaving, cos there weren’t healthy conditions, to do our job, we felt compelled to replace them (for different reasons, I suppose). When she came back from holidays, she called me on a meeting with her, and asked me if what she heard was true. « Did I really had the courage to claim for a bonus ? » Definitely, yes, I did. We, as a team, did an excellent job, all alone. We had deserved it. Of course, that was the straw that breaks the camel’s back and, finally, bursted into tears. Go away. I was worthy a recognition for the effort. Instead of striking, as we were supposed to do, once the safety conditions are not guaranteed (guests became quite aggressive and they were right to be angry against a lack of service and staff), but we kept on doing a great job, altogether. And not only it didn’t pay off, we’ve been called and judged. That was my chance to blow the whistle. And I haven’t missed it.

That was the right moment when she, the boss – one of the persons I « feard » most– humbly suggested me to ask for help.

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The first reaction that I remember, before burn out, was feeling guilty. I felt like I was not strong enough. Others look was very important and you don’t want to desappoint them, right ? Your will is to show them that you are worthy their attention (and perhaps love ?).

Everybody was tired, but my collegues were holding on. Nobody spent a day sick at home. It was very exceptional, because as a team, we knew that if someone wasn’t there, others would do the job. It wasn’t human kindness, instead, but a sort of spiritual pride. Deeply inside, as individuals, we couldn’t bare not to be necessary. My service was precious, I thought, and I pretended to make a difference, in service, too. How could they manage without me ? Oh, well, they could, and they did. After burn out, there were no reaction, but release. Finally, I could start to breath again. And still do.

breeze : synonims, gentle wind, breath of wind, puff of air, current of air, flurry of air, gust