Community//

How finding my purpose led me out of burnout

It was that one email, which my then-boss sent me, that made the difference. This message saying that ‘Just knowing DHL was going to deliver a package in the morning between 9.00 and 11.00 WAS NOT SPECIFIC ENOUGH’ with a lot of exclamations added… It was like subconsiously I knew this was my cue. A […]

The Thrive Global Community welcomes voices from many spheres on our open platform. We publish pieces as written by outside contributors with a wide range of opinions, which don’t necessarily reflect our own. Community stories are not commissioned by our editorial team and must meet our guidelines prior to being published.
Burnout forced me to feel again, and in that messy process, I found my purpose.
Burnout forced me to feel again, and in that messy process, I found my purpose.

It was that one email, which my then-boss sent me, that made the difference. This message saying that ‘Just knowing DHL was going to deliver a package in the morning between 9.00 and 11.00 WAS NOT SPECIFIC ENOUGH’ with a lot of exclamations added…

It was like subconsiously I knew this was my cue. A little thread that still had me holding on to this job, this life, was cut. ‘Snap’ it said, and I was cut loose, spiraling out of that officechair, out of that office entirely and my mind was suddenly crystal clear. The spell was broken.

For years and years I had been trying to find ‘it’ in my job as a sales manager, product manager and finally, buyer. But I always felt lost, not being able to find that amazing passion you hear everyone talking about. I liked my job, but never loved it. I felt I was putting on a show, doing my work with discipline and loyalty, as if I was trying to prove myself that a 15-year journey in this industry was not all a waste of time.

But anyway, the little fragile thread snapped, and there I went. Next thing I know I was in the local MD’s office crying my eyes out that I didn’t know how to get out of bed anymore. Not only did I feel disconnected from my job, I felt disconnected from basically everything. If anyone would ask me: ‘What do you feel?’ I would feel, well, nothing basically. I felt like being alive but lifeless, or dead so to speak.

The psychologist that took me on was helpful in the way that she made me aware that because of a traumatic childhood I had started to protect myself from feeling altogether. And that pushing my emotions away had worked for a while, but it had turned me into a robot; living through, and making choices by sheer habit and rational logic.

So there I was. Nice degree, nice job, nice family and kids, nice everything. Nice and likable. But no love. I had every messy detail nicely tidied away behind a stiff layer of niceness. No one knew I would deep dive in depression every few months. No one knew I had battled with eating disorders since my high school years.

When we worked through my trauma, I felt how a wave of sadness and grief was falling upon me. It was overwhelming. Everything came back to life, and even though she had my back and cheered me on for at least FEELING something, I found myself in the same darkness I had felt twenty years prior, as a hopelessly lost teenager.

The only difference with that time was, that I was not a teenager anymore. I had created a different life in the meantime, with a matured brain, a mature independence.

And you can call it a belated adolescence, an early midlife crisis, or just a big fat cliché, it can all be true. But as I went through the pain, the joy came back to me too. Feeling altogether, it came back to me. And I felt connected, with me again. In that darkness, that mess, I had one thing left: my essence.

In a Hypnosis ‘Rapid Transformational Therapy’ audio from Marisa Peer, I remembered in a regression what that essence was before the trauma. What kind of child, what kind of loves and interests I had. I was never the first in line. I had a very dominant older sister and brother. I was never the one in the spotlight, at ease socializing or playing competitive games. No wonder I never loved to be in the commercial fashion industry I was in. It had been a game of make-believe, that I held onto, until I didn’t know how to show the real me anymore.

But it came back to me in this session. Loud and clear: I was always an introverted child, writing stories, drawing, listening to music, dancing around in my imaginary world. I would always rather listen to others talk, and forget myself.

And once I had reconnected with that, the idea of going back to my old job seemed like living on the moon. As the weeks and months passed, the mess became less messy, because time and again I would come back to what I love: reading, listening, writing, music and movement. It never feels like work. I forget about time.

And it was another session with my therapist that made me aware: what you think is ‘too easy to count as work’ might be just aswell your zone of genius. It clicked. It felt true. It felt like true love.

Now, 6 years later, I have a degree in Psychology and Rapid Transformational Therapy. I hear stories and write scripts for imaginary exposure and reconditioning every day. I listen to others talk and feel fascinated by all of them. I have not felt like I have been in that ‘hard work’ mode ever since. My depression and eating disorders have left me. And I can honestly say that the ‘snap’ moment, that one email from my then-boss, was a blessed moment.

    Share your comments below. Please read our commenting guidelines before posting. If you have a concern about a comment, report it here.

    You might also like...

    Alexmia/ Getty Images
    Well-Being//

    How Burning Out in My 20s Changed the Way I Look at My Career

    by Leonie
    Wisdom//

    How Taking a Risk Can Catapult Your Career

    by Helen Kim
    Community//

    A Radical Leap of Faith: Leaving Corporate America for Good

    by Lizzie Fourman
    We use cookies on our site to give you the best experience possible. By continuing to browse the site, you agree to this use. For more information on how we use cookies, see our Privacy Policy.