January 5, 2016

How One Sentence from My Ex led me to Burnout (& How I Found my Way Back).

scared, girl, fear, sad

I have so much fun reminiscing about the time I lived in Chicago.

I was newly single after a terrible divorce. I had an incredible job as a pharmaceutical representative and was rocking the nightclub scene.

I laugh remembering how crazy and carefree I was as I fell into cabs, out of cabs, on the dance floor, off tables and in and out of love. It was a great time.

However, I never realized the toll my divorce took on me. I kept myself busy and buried myself into a new job, shopping, alcohol and men. I was obsessed with being successful.

I felt I had something to prove because one of the last things my ex-husband said to me was:

“I am with someone who is more successful than you will ever be!”

I had made it my mission to prove to the world I could be successful.

I won many awards as a pharmaceutical representative and then as a medical device representative. I was in the President’s Club and on the edge of getting a promotion. I felt I had done it. I wanted to call my ex-husband and say, “Look you asshole, I am more successful than you ever thought possible!”

Looking back, that was a lot of energy spent on proving something to my ex-husband. At the time I reached my peak success, I was already married to my current husband and my first child was on the way.

I was thrilled to be pregnant, but I still felt I had something to prove. I was competing in a man’s world and there were standards to meet—and exceed. Also, the medical device company I worked for kept moving the goal post on my performance with hopes I would give up and resign because I was pregnant.

After my daughter was born I was only allowed six weeks maternity leave since I was under the one year anniversary of employment. I remember being in surgery with a cardiologist and having my breasts engorged with milk.

As a medical device representative you are competing with a ton of high-powered, Type-A, aggressive men. I didn’t even take the time to pump, because in my mind I still thought I had something to prove. God forbid I take time for my child!

I got home and cried. Not only because I was so hormonal, but because I felt lost, resentful and empty. I had this beautiful new baby, a great job and was making good money. But I needed help and was afraid to ask. I appeared strong on the outside, but I just wanted to be taken care of.

Then it hit me. The years of trying to prove something had caught up with me. I wasn’t being real with myself. I wasn’t honoring myself. I wasn’t happy.

Physically I was a mess. I was starting to get palpitations, couldn’t sleep, had chronic fatigue and just wanted to be alone. Having thrived off stress for so many years, I thought maybe it was normal.

But I was burnt out. I was done.

As I write this I wonder:

Why do we, as women, feel we have to prove something to the world? Prove we can be just as strong, capable and smart? Prove we can bring home the bacon and fry it up in a pan? Prove we can keep a perfectly clean house, take care of the kids and be a porn star in the bedroom? Are we Stepford wives, robots?

The definition of prove is: “To demonstrate the truth or existence of (something) by evidence or argument.” Did I ever really need to demonstrate my truth or existence?

It is in our egoic mind that we’ve created a narrative of needing to prove we are enough. The reality is we are enough just by being born. Born into this female human form. We are nurturing, life giving and the nucleus of our households.

Unfortunately, we tend to live in a place of fear. It is this fear that creates the drama, illusion and eventually the burn out in your life. It was this fear that drove me to success, but it ended up driving me to the lowest point of my life as well. I lost my health, relationships, friendships and myself.

And it was the awareness of my truth that catapulted me into healing. I know “proving it” was a bunch of crap. I now want peace, not drama; truth not lies.

Have you felt you needed to prove yourself? How did it serve you?


Relephant read: 

A Simple Self-Care Tip for Bad Days & Burnout.



Author: Tracy Martino

Editor: Nicole Cameron

Image: Charles Harry Mackenzie/Flickr

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