Overwhelmed and burned out
Sue walked into my office one day apologizing for being tearful, and adamant that she is “never like this.” She shared her story of climbing the corporate ladder, doing everything right, and working long hours at her high powered career, all while also being a beautiful wife and mother. She shared that she was confused, overwhelmed and becoming more and more tearful and irritable lately. She had never seen a therapist before and was quite skeptical of the process. She admitted to trying medication, working harder, reading self-help books, however things were getting worse. It was clear that she struggled with letting her guard down, as she admitted that she doesn’t often talk about “these things” to others. She said that she likes to help others but never opens up about herself or asks for help. I asked Sue about her top priorities in her life, and she said it was her marriage, family, and Faith. I asked if she felt her life was lined up with her priorities and she defensively said, “What do you want me to do, drop everything and just go to church?” Even though she wanted to feel better, she couldn’t fathom making any changes to her crazy, overbooked schedule.
From breakdown to breakthrough
As the months of therapy moved on, Sue gained insight about how her inner priorities did not match the direction her life was headed. She realized she was afraid of being a failure, afraid of not being the person society and her parents wanted her to be, and that she forgot to ask God who he wanted her to be. Sue was disconnected from herself, her family, and from God. On her own she chose to quit her job and she began to take care of herself for the first time in a long time. Sue found peace in slowing down and focusing on what really mattered to her. She was able to see that this “break down” was not failure, but instead Gods greatest gift to her, to redirect her back to himself. “But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well.” Matthew 6:33
Are you aligned with your priorities?
What are your top priorities in your life? Is it your career, family, money, relationships, Faith, marriage, power, service, success, mental health, or comfort? Take a moment and write down what you want your top three priorities to be. Now reflect on where you spend most of your time and resources? If you’re not aligned you may be experiencing some stress, anxiety, restlessness or even depression. Choose to make some shifts and changes where needed and live a life of intention and balance.