In August, I wrote I have lost pieces of my mind to COVID. Which, looking back, is only half-true. Pieces of my mind had vacated the premises, but it was incipient burnout, and not just COVID. I’m on medical leave now.
Before I went on leave, I thought that if I went on leave, I would feel better. Stress = work – work = no stress, right? Of course. I had visions of sitting in the September sun in my yard and drinking coffee with a stack of books by my side.
But as soon as I went on leave, I fell apart. My appetite got worse. My brain did not start working again. I left food out on the counter. I put empty jars back into the fridge. I left car windows open while locking the doors three times. My eyes skittered around the pages of books and I couldn’t retain any information. I did drink coffee, but reading was – is – a challenge. It is frustrating to feel like shit when you are supposed to be better.
Six weeks in, and maybe I’ve turned a corner. My appetite is better. My eyes don’t skitter so much. I’ve even read some fiction, which I couldn’t do a month ago, when all the characters seemed the same and I could barely remember real people’s names.
On the other hand, I needed to tape something up, and there was something in front of the drawer where the tape was, so I just didn’t do it. Obstacles I wouldn’t have noticed 2 months ago still loom so large I can’t fathom their edges.
I have been seeing a therapist, I have been doing yoga, I have been staring into space, I have been knitting without distraction. I have been sleeping. I have been eating again. I have walked in the forest and by rivers. There have been the many baths of Megan’s burnout. There have been the moments that turn to minutes that turn to hours and days and weeks.