I learned a hard lesson this week.
I’d been running on adrenaline and caffeine over the past few weeks and it caught up with me…hard. After feeling unwell for several days I called a doctor through my company’s telemedicine program (great benefit, btw), which resulted in rushing myself to the ER as I was presenting symptoms of appendicitis. After 5 hours and several pokes, prods, and scans later I was released. The diagnosis? Dehydration, which resulted in some pretty uncomfortable digestive symptoms.
I was so embarrassed and upset; how could I let this happen? I constantly preach self-care to others, and I couldn’t even manage to take care of myself. This was something so preventable, but yet there I was, hooked up to an IV and scrolling through memes in an attempt to calm my nerves. Even after spending the day in the hospital, I still felt guilty telling my manager I needed to work from home the following day. Why? Why was I punishing myself?
I’m not alone in my struggle. Millennial women are twice as likely to experience depression and burnout in the workplace compared to their male counterparts. We focus on presenting our best selves in public, and feel compelled to care for those around us; we begin to martyr ourselves to keep up the façade: skipping meals, foregoing sleep, and overcommitting to avoid disappointing others. All of us have a breaking point, and it’s no surprise to me that a growing number of Millennial women are burning out by age 30. Despite feeling the pressure, some of us still avoid reaching out for help until it lands us in the hospital. Enough.
I’m not exactly sure what’s next for me. Maybe this is my Arianna Huffington moment. I know it won’t be quick or easy, but I can’t keep pushing the life raft away.
Stay hydrated, my friends.