Growing up, I was a bit of a problematic kid. I couldn’t sit still, and my eyes would water as soon as I had to focus on anything. I couldn’t grasp things that other people in my class were able to grasp. I would get extra help from the “other” teachers and could never really handle it—I wanted to be anywhere but in that situation. By the time I was in grade 10, I had certain teachers full on insult me for my inability to grasp math. I felt like I was inadequate, and I hated being different. It wasn’t only until the past 10 years that I grasped the fact that I had learning disabilities that held me back in this way.
This whole time period was character building for me. As I grew older, I began to be proud of being the underdog and began to realize that many people were—this was the positive side of it. The negative side of this was that I have had this innate need to prove to others, and mostly myself, that I am not intellectually inferior by constantly upping my game.
My life since I entered initially entered post-secondary school had been a potent mix of working at least one job, signing up for new programs at school, and partying. By the time I was in my late 20s, I was working seven days a week and rewarding myself with partying at the end of it.
This cycle began to get draining; this burnout process persisted for years and got unbearable. felt that I was unable to think clearly and at my worst I did not know what or who, other than myself, I was angry at. Since there was really no time for reflection, I couldn’t really grasp the fact that the very reason I began proving myself through studies and work was wearing me thin, and, in turn, was being more apparent. And if I did notice this, I glossed over it and kept going.
The result of this burnout was obvious emotionally, mentally, and physically. I was certainly emotional-usually with inner rage or just sad. Mentally, my anxiety was through the roof and I was depressed; lots of trauma would constantly show up and I did not really have the tools to deal with them in a healthy way. Physically, I just could not really notice myself and I constantly felt sick of a bit 'off.' I would also just do really bizarre things—like wake up in the middle of the night and fall asleep in the closet and have no recollection of it. It was not fun.
About one month ago this burnout became too much and I stopped this cycle by quitting one of my jobs. I am amazed at the difference this already has on me. Things happen that stress me out, for sure, but they don’t linger, and they don’t break me down the way they would. I work through them.
Unfortunately, I feel like I am not the only one that has gone through a similar thing, with burnout at least. My generation is THE burnout generation. We work multiple jobs, some of us go to school for various amounts of time and can never really make ends meet.
Between the absolutely ridiculous student loan payments, less than desirable job market, low income occupations, and infamous housing market and high rent, it is almost impossible for this young Vancouver-ites to catch up and NOT suffer from burnout. Sadly, even things that are supposed to calm you, like yoga, have become trendy and overpriced as gentrification slithers its way into every corner of our “home.” This city is shaping people into feeling like this is normal.
Within this environment, I can admit that it is a bit scary that I chose me. My decision to step out of this toxic system does not come without its consequences. I will be making less money in a city where I wasn't making enough money in the first place. Nevertheless, I will have my sanity and will hopefully work through all of the things that brought me to this point in the first place and finally get to the root of these feelings of inadequacy. While burning out, this was not an option. This step towards helping myself may coincidentally be my biggest achievement yet.