Burnout recovery continues

Hello again, dear friend,

I had another “Aha!” moment in my burnout recovery today. I mentioned in yesterday’s post that the first “Aha!” came from realizing I feel motivated to respond to writing prompts again (finally!!!). Today’s moment has me laughing at myself like:

Setting the scene: I received an email from a recruiter today for a temporary contract position requiring only 2 years experience in my field – I have 11 years experience – and the pay is close to the hourly rate of my former job. Note that the job description is for editing documents and standardizing formatting and cross-references – easy-peasy-lemon-squeezing level of effort for a technical writer, yeah? I replied I was interested and received a callback pretty quickly. After a little back and forth, the recruiter pointed out the preferred qualification for 2+ years experience in the field of material handling equipment – emphasis on preferred qualification not required qualification, right? “Well, we really want to present you as a strong candidate, so could you whip up a writing sample in that field?” the recruiter inquired.

…well, sure, of course I could…but I already have samples of a redacted user guide, training video, and quick start guide that I’ve produced. I also went looking for existing user guides in the field requested and realized I could write them oh-so-easily. Now, Katie of severe burnout and need to please regardless of cost of time and impact to mental health would absolutely have written a sample as requested, right? But Katie of recovering burnout and renewed confidence decided it was better to write up an “overview of services” with details on how I work and how I can port my skills from a decade of writing for website usage to other forms of instructional writing. Why? Because recovering Katie noted the recruiter reached out to me, not the other way around, so clearly – they need me more than I need them, right? Katie of today knows my worth and has faith in my skills and work ethic. Katie of today doesn’t feel the need to bend over backwards for any job that hasn’t actually hired me yet. Like, hello??? I have better uses for my time than writing bogus writing samples? Like recording a video for the first time in months (started recording again today, woot woot!), like taking the classes I have purchased, like writing things I actually want to write, like spending time with Gunny, like – oh, I don’t know, continuing to focus on fixing the life part of “work-life” balance?

I don’t even know how I reached this level of confidence, my friend, but wow am I glad to be sitting in this moment. I just keep giggling to myself, you know? Goodness, summer 2018 Katie – heck, all of 2020 Katie, too, just wished she could feel the way I feel today. Progress!!! I am so proud of how far I’ve come. I’m so happy with how I’m continuing to change since leaving my job and focusing on life enrichment and recovery for a bit.

I don’t know exactly where I’m going with this post – I just wanted to share in case someone else needs the reminder that signs of burnout recovery can sometimes be so little but so joyful, I guess? Not to say our journeys are at all the same, but kind of a reminder to wait for those little “Aha!” moments as signs of feeling better, right?

As for me, I found I couldn’t recover while at my old job, even after switching teams in late 2018 – it helped a bit for a little while, but the requirement to return to responsibilities from my old team starting in summer 2020 was just…progressively deeply detrimental to my mental health. I promised myself I wouldn’t let the job be such a trigger after 2018, so when I started slipping further and faster, it was time to finally call it quits. That whole “no job is worth the cost of your mental health” thing, you know? Like – I’m never, ever going to be the one to tell you that “you should quit, oh my god” unless we have discussed your situation together and it feels like the right advice based on the discussion, but if your mental health is suffering, maybe at least consider it? Reflect on if removing a situational stressor can help at all, you know? Because, my friend, I absolutely, positively, without a single doubt, know that you deserve to feel safe and supported and content more often than not. If your situation isn’t supportive of that, I’m always, always, always going to be here rooting for you as you work to change it. You deserve to feel good. You deserve to wake up without dreading the day. You deserve to feel inspired and hopeful and confident.

I think that’s all for today, my friend. Wishing you ease on your journey and sending you so much love and supportive energy, always.

Love always,



Hello again!

Dear Friend,

Thank you so much for being patient with me and my prolonged silence. I’ve felt so stuck and blocked for so long. Have you ever felt like your voice, both literally and figuratively, is trapped in your throat? Like there’s a boulder that lets a little bit trickle through, but the stream is blocked? That’s how I’ve felt when it comes to writing or videos or anything creative for far too long. Gosh, I have so many drafts with prompts saved. I sincerely planned to be more dedicated to writing here, but January 2020, I was still struggling to get the spike in my anxiety under control.

February started off nicely – my mom, sister, and I took our annual Disney World trip and we were able to see our friend who lives in the Orlando area. Gosh, that trip…my sister and I had our dining and fastpasses already booked only for BTS to announce the Map of the Soul Tour tickets would go on sale while we were in Florida. I remember we were SO EXCITED to get BTS ARMY Membership verified preorder and we were so, so, SO THRILLED to snag tickets to the concerts we wanted to see. We even had our annual trip to visit relatives planned around the Chicago tour dates. And yet even as early as that, we were hearing news of COVID spreading overseas and I was already starting to worry about how quickly it was spreading. When we got back, I went on full-time telework after discussing my ongoing heightened anxiety with my manager. By early March, my sister was on full-time telework, too. I was still working on videos for my channel in March, April and May, but with each week that passed, it felt like just going through my daily routine was taking more and more energy. I remember literally crying when BTS postponed their US tour instead of cancelling – being able to keep the seats we snagged was such a small thing, but such a blessing for us. By mid-May, I was noticing symptoms of backsliding further in my progress with my mental health, so I stepped back from the videos as well, fully intending to return once I had my symptoms back under control.

Summer and fall are kind of a blur, honestly. I know so much happened, but I don’t even know what to cover. Staying with the theme here of discussing my mental health journey, I guess, right? Summer was a lot of struggling to get my mental health symptoms under control – lots of self reflection, trying to better understand myself and why I react the way I do. Lots of naps and migraines, too. So many migraines. I started to feel a bit better in August, but the closer the election got, the higher my anxiety climbed, so September through January were spent juggling work and migraines and anxiety attacks and trying to find new ways to cope. My sister recommended we attempt a 90-day challenge – pick something to do for ourselves, for enrichment and joy, for an hour a day from October to January. I had signed up for a few classes, so I planned to spend my hour a day learning – of course, I didn’t realize exactly how much work each class required, so I ended up pausing on two of them and focusing solely on the third – I still have one podcast left for that one. Honestly, the best things to come from the challenge were:

  • Weekly review – what worked, what didn’t, what can we change moving forward to make things easier? This has been so helpful in identifying little ways we can make life easier – like buying a misting bottle for our all purpose cleaner since I was noticing extremely heightened anxiety when we finally ran out of Lysol spray. I know it is silly that such a simple thing as buying a misting bottle made such a difference in reducing my anxiety, but goodness gracious, it really helped.
  • Getting an air fryer/toaster oven combo to replace our toaster. It has been worth every single penny, my goodness! We’ve severally limited ordering DoorDash delivery since starting to play with recipes for the air fryer.
  • Replacing our old, sad, beat-up tea pot with an electric kettle – we’ve had hot tea daily, which has been lovely, honestly. I forgot how much tea really does help me feel more calm and centered. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still devoted to my morning coffee because I love it, but I didn’t realize how much I missed having tea, too. We’ve been making a pot of tea when we brew our coffee, so we can enjoy the coffee while the tea cools to drinkable temperature.
  • Habit- linking – it is sooooo much easier to add a new habit to an existing routine, like adding in running the essential oil diffuser at night – I linked it between dropping my phone on the charger and brushing my teeth. We’ve been gradually linking additional habits as the weeks go by.

January 2021 was a bit of a rollercoaster, with anxiety spikes around the attack on the Capitol and the inauguration, and – the biggest personal change – leaving my job of 11 years. Shocking on a personal level, right? I don’t have another job lined up yet. I spent all of February recovering from burnout – lots of naps, cuddling with Gunny, catching up on fanfics I follow, and spending time on Pinterest for the first time in a long time. I knew I was finally making progress on burnout recovering when I was saving pins to my writing prompts board and thought “Oh, that’s a good one, I could work with that” – it has been SO LONG since I felt that creative spark so easily. I’ve started job hunting now, though I’m leaning toward freelance or short term contract work, I think. I have so many ideas and plans – I can’t even fully explain how…I don’t know, lighter? brigher? grounded but free?…I feel now. I also know things are turning around again since I’ve started noticing little manifestations coming through again – like finding another German Shepherd crystal carving after searching for two years, and like thinking about one of my favorite fanfic authors and having a new fic posted from them the same day.

I’m planning to write again soon, dear friend. Until next time, please stay safe and as healthy as possible. As always, sending you so much love and supportive energy. TTFN!

Love always,


It is in the cards…!

Let me share some of this amazing manifestation energy with you! I was overflowing with energy the day this was recorded and felt called to “Carebear Stare” it out to all of you, so that you too may share in that high vibrational energy. Wish big, my friend!

Hello dear friend,

I hope this finds you well. I think I’ve previously mentioned that I read Tarot for myself on a daily basis, yes? Since starting my Tarot journey this past winter, I’ve learned to pay attention to recurring patterns across my readings. For example, back in April and early May, the Judgement card kept coming out over and over and over again – which ended up making sense later in May and early June, when I felt called to pursue the second level of Reiki training – a personal leveling up and a response to what feels like a higher calling. I’ve also seen the 5 of Pentacles over and over since late July. While the 5 of Pentacles is often interpreted as a card of loneliness, exclusion, and loss, it has not come across that way to me in the readings in which it has shown up. It is so clearly referencing a date – and I was so, so thrilled to discover why! It has been very apparent to me that it is referring to December 5th and 6th, which is why my sister and I paid great attention to events happening those days.

I made the video linked above early last month when I was able to (rather miraculously) manifest a trip I did not expect to be able to take – and yes, I’ll be traveling over the 5th and 6th (!!!). As the trip draws closer, I’m seeing the Star card and the 9 of Cups with more and more regularity, and I associate both with wishes coming true.

Gosh, I don’t know what else is going to happen, but please, my friend, wish big this month, but especially so this week! The energy feels so high and so positive – it would be such a shame to let it go to waste when it so clearly wants to support us in chasing our dreams.

All of my own readings, and the other readings I’ve been watching, have this recurring pattern of messages indicating high energy supporting manifestation right now. I feel like all of December has this vibe of…I’m not entirely sure how to explain it, other than to say it feels like the Wheel of Fortune is turning and bringing about positive fortune for all those who request it, so long as it is in alignment with the highest good for all.

I know the wishes I’m currently making, and my friend, as I said previously in my “I’m wishing” post, I hope you feel comfortable making big wishes, life-changing wishes, wishes that would result in a dream-come-true feeling of bliss for you. I hope you wish and wish often, my friend. You deserve to wish – and you deserve your wishes to come true.

Until next time, sending you love, light, and so much supportive energy,


Myself, A (formerly?) Distorted View

Image by Arek Socha from Pixabay

Hello dear friend, 

Have you ever had one of those moments that stops you in your tracks and leaves your cheeks burning and chest tight as guilt/shame/regret sit sour upon your tongue? Have you ever been suddenly presented with a view of yourself so at odds with your own self-perception, that it leaves you wondering what other flaws in your personality are still hiding from your own view? A moment that makes you feel slightly sick to your stomach as you are faced with a proverbial mirror that reflects a “you” that you thought you would never be? I sincerely hope not, but if you have, too, maybe this will be relatable for you… 

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Pursuit of Happiness

Cards from The Universe Has My Back Oracle Deck

Hello dear friend,

I pulled these cards the other day when asking what I need to know right now – “Happiness is my birthright. I am a spiritual being here to have a human experience and I’m here to get closer to love.” Gosh, could I have pulled a better combination? Maybe, but this one is pretty awesome, no? I think the messages here are such important ones to remember – but they are oh-so-easy to forget, especially as I get caught up in the mundane, repetitive tasks of daily life. But gosh, what an idea. What a marvelous point of view – to go beyond the idea that we have a right to the pursuit of happiness to the idea that happiness is an innate right in and of itself.

I’m reminded of this video I saw a year or so ago, featuring a talk by Mo Gawdat – I really resonated with the message that happiness isn’t those moments of high excitement and joy, but rather “the absence of unhappiness”. What an interesting, thought, no? I remember being particularly struck by the simple exercise he shared that showed we can shift our moods so quickly. As someone who has often struggled with negative thought patterns and cycling thoughts, this idea of using distraction as a way to pull myself out of negative emotions had me nodding along. But I also remember thinking – well, yes, it helps while I am distracted, but the feelings come back when the distraction ends.

Though it took me many years to learn it, it is at those moments that I need to gently remind myself that I’m a soul having a human experience and I’m here to learn. I need to remind myself that I can approach the learning experience through a lens of love – for others AND for myself. Because when I come at a situation when I’m centered and calm in the knowledge that I am loved and safe and that the energy never dies – I know I can take on anything life throws at me. I know I will never again fall as far as I have before – and I know I can soar far, far beyond the dreams I can currently imagine.

I don’t know where you are in your journey, my friend, but I do know this – if happiness is my birthright, than it is absolutely your birthright, too. I also know that you, and I, are here to learn – and though the lessons might break us, I know we are also resilient enough, strong enough, and loved enough to always bounce back. And in case you need to hear it today – you are loved. You are so, so loved. You’ve survived so much and come so far – look at how strong you are! I’m so proud of you. I’m so glad to know you, even if just energetically through sharing this connection across the internet. I’m glad you exist.

Until next time, my friend, sending you lots of love and energetic hugs.

Love always,


The marks we leave…

Dear friend,

It’s been awhile, hasn’t it? I don’t know about you, but sometimes the days blend together so quickly that I can hardly believe weeks, or even months, have actually passed while I’ve kept moving forward as best I can. I’ve been thinking a lot about my journey lately – how far I’ve come since this time last year, and the year prior – and how my journey might have changed if I had made different decisions during moments that are clearly pivotal in the rearview…

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Miracle Pill…

So this came through my email a few minutes ago thanks to Live Nation…I don’t even have this artist listed as a favorite, so why this came to me today, I don’t know. That said, it REALLY makes me angry when people judge others for using medication to manage mental health.

Dear Goo Goo Dolls,

Not cool. As someone who takes medication to manage suicidal ideation and panic attacks, this facetious “Are you sad? Take a pill.” commentary is not only offensive, but blatantly adds to the already overwhelming stigma other mental health warriors face. And given National Suicide Prevention Day just passed, I find this even more unsavory- how insensitive can one be? It makes light of the many struggles people face before they even muster up the courage to seek help. Do you know how long and hard I fought with myself before I chose to seek medical help over taking my own life? Do you know the hell I went through when my first medication failed and I had to taper off it entirely before I could even begin to try another one? Do you honestly think I wasn’t also in therapy, surrounded by concerned love ones, and still fighting with every breath not to give in to the overwhelming urge to end my life?

Do you know what it’s like to feel like the you that is “you” is no longer in control of your body? Do you know the overwhelming guilt and shame I felt, knowing I was hurting everyone around me? Do you know that the real issue isn’t that I was “being selfish” and “only thinking of my own pain”, but that I honestly believed I was such a burden to EVERYONE AND EVERYTHING GOOD IN MY LIFE, that the only thing I could do to make things right by those I love, would be to remove myself permanently? Do you know, can you even possibly imagine, how it feels to have that thought running through your head at full volume 24 hours a day for months on end? As the you that is “you” keeps trying to remind yourself that you aren’t a burden and people would be hurt if you left? Do you know how hard it is to convince yourself that you need to stay when everything in you is saying you should go? Do you know what it is like to be afraid to breathe too deeply because it isn’t “you” controlling your body and you are literally terrified that any small move you make will be the one that allows the depression to fully take over, to lift your body off the couch and head to the kitchen and…? Do you have any idea, any at all, how scary that is? How much it hurts? How much I still look back and wish I never had to face those thoughts? Do you know that I TRIED to heal myself without medication? Do you know it is simply one of the MANY tools in my mental health kit to keep myself sane and functioning as a member of my family, my friend circle, my job, and society in general? 

How DARE you belittle the struggle the goes in to even contemplating using medication. And how DARE you shame those who are willing to use ANY tool they can in their battles to KEEP. MOVING. FORWARD. To keep surviving. To keep choosing to stay. Shame on you.
So no, I won’t be buying your new music. Ever. And yeah, you probably don’t care. That’s fine. I got this off my chest. And if someday you see it and it makes you pause for just a moment, that makes this rant worth it.
With all due respect, I sincerely hope you grow up. 

Yours Sincerely,

How do you say goodbye?

Hello self,

This situation sucks. We know it. We also know we aren’t the first to go through it, nor will we be the last. How do you say goodbye to someone yet living when you both know they are dying? How do you say goodbye?

You leave to visit family a few days earlier than planned, stunned by the news. You frantically scramble to adjust your hotel reservation dates. You go to the doggy daycare in person to request permission to board your dear Gunny later that day. You spend the rest of the day completing all your necessary tasks – get the car inspected today because you don’t know if you’ll be back before the month ends, put together Gunny’s food and medication for Thursday through Tuesday…and add enough for a few extra days, just in case, pack and triple check that you have everything ready. Try to sleep…only get two and a half hours of shut eye before the alarm blares and you race out of bed. Look at your sister, notice the haunted expression she keeps trying to hide as you swallow down two cups of coffee before you get on the road. Pick up Starbucks for you, your sister, and your Mom and drive north to pick Mom up. Say hi and bye to Dad and Annie-girl. Drive and drive and drive, switching off with your sister on the thirteen hour trip. Why didn’t you fly? Too expensive – $845 one way per person…Wonder over and over and over if you’ll make it in time.

You do. You have dinner with your Mom and sister before Mom leaves to visit her brother while you head back to the hotel to unpack. Your sister reads tarot spread after spread, seeking…god, you don’t know what. You practice Reiki and silently thank your teacher for fitting in your level II attunement the night prior. Mom comes back and you get to bed around 11…somehow you sleep in until nearly 7, before spending the day with your uncle at the hospice. The pattern over the next few days – you all go to pick up Grandma, go to breakfast, pick up lunch for your uncle, spend a few hours with him at the hospice. He looks surprisingly good…but for the fact that he’s the thinnest you’ve ever seen him, he has no color in his face, his fingertips are getting more blue by the day, and you try not to focus on how often he seems to stop breathing for a few seconds, how often his voice fades to nothing as he’s speaking, how much your visits seem to exhaust him…because he lights up when you show up. He laughs and cracks jokes and you all try to pretend everything is fine. You leave for the day, letting him rest. Drop Grandma off at home and head to your remaining family on Dad’s side. You pick up your step-grandmother for dinner. You are thankful for her tight hugs when you arrive and when you leave. You enjoy dinner with her, then take her home and spend a few hours chatting in her garage as she has her after-dinner smoke. You all say good night and you, Mom, and your sister head back to the hotel. You spend an hour sending Reiki energy to the hospice center and all within it, to your family, to yourself. You try to sleep. Wake up. Rinse and repeat. You find yourself feeling more and more drained by the day. Your coping mechanisms are helping less and less by the day. Two days remain and that stupid voice of Nox returns. You applaud yourself for recognizing it is a Nox thought instead of a Katie thought, but you are struggling. You tell Nox to go away. You try to pretend you are fine.

Your last day in your parents’ hometown arrives. So how do you say goodbye?

You end the last visit to your uncle with a tight hug that lingers longer than usual and you reminded him that you love him so very, very much and he tells you the same. He smiles as he walks away and you try not to cry. Mom, you, and your sister have a late lunch with Grandma and your other two uncles on Mom’s side. Drop Grandma at home and proceed with the usual evening routine. Hug your step-grandmother longer and tighter as you say goodbye for another year. You head back to the hotel and pack up as much as you can. You don’t practice Reiki that night because you took time for that in the morning that day. You try to sleep, but your sleep tracker says you got barely five hours.

You pack up the car and you manage to upset Mom by insisting you want to drive. She cries for three hours and doesn’t stop until you reach the first stop on the Ohio turnpike. Your sister wakes up and texts you to ask why Mom is upset. You explain. You let Mom drive for the next few hours, but before you get back on the road, she talks about how hard she was trying not to break and you feel guilty, but your sister reminds Mom that she needs to let those emotions out – it isn’t healthy to keep them inside. You remember your posts on this blog about how long it took you to learn to process your emotions in a healthy way. You let your sister and Mom switch off driving for the remainder of the trip home while you sit in the backseat with your headphones on, listening to your “I can do anything” playlist in an effort to re-center yourself and send Nox away. You find yourself tracing the symbols you learned during the Reiki II course into both of your palms over and over and over again throughout the day as you watch the scenery go by.

You get back to your home state in the early afternoon and drop Mom off at her and Dad’s house. You stop in to say hi to Dad and to Annie-girl before heading back home. You drop the suitcase off at your condo and head out to dinner with your sister, and then you pick up Gunny. You return to the condo and take the first deep breaths you’ve been able to take since the 22nd. You take an extra day of leave to decompress emotionally and to rest. You end up sleeping most of the day on the 29th. You go back to work and it is hard. Explaining where you were and why is hard. Hearing people’s condolences is hard. 

You know your uncle is still here, but god, you jump and cringe every single time the phone rings. You dread picking up calls from Mom. You know that call will be coming some day soon. You continue to send Reiki energy to the hospice center and your extended family. You try to go about your day without thinking the worst. Nox is quiet again, and you are grateful.  

You wait. You wonder if you should reach out to your uncle since he’s still being active on Facebook, but you don’t know what to say. You find yourself fighting back tears at odd times and for strange reasons. You wait and you wonder…how do you say goodbye?

Love from yourself,