This photo does not do justice to the amazing sunsets from our front deck
Hi everyone! I’m back. Almost one year later. This time last year, I thought everything was going well. We were well onto the path to financial independence, I was working part time. The garden was looking great.
I was about to take a delegation of businesses overseas for work in late September, and I woke up one Saturday morning to go to the gym. I also bought about $100 worth of groceries and felt tired. Then I picked up the paper – a usual Saturday ritual with a cup of coffee made by my husband – and found I couldn’t read. Bam. Just like that. Burnout.
Of course, looking back – it was really a “bam” kind of moment. I had noticed that I was having trouble reading work emails – just skimming for the critical points. I was finding it harder and harder to remember the names of my staff, and the names of things – like chorizo. I was looking at chorizo, chopping it up and putting it in that night’s dinner, but for the life of me I couldn’t remember the name of it!
So I advised my boss, took some leave and went to my doctor. I wanted an MRI pronto, to find out immediately what was going on with my brain. A tumour? Early onset dementia? My doctor calmly and quietly said that I would not be getting an MRI. She also looks after two of my daughters who have quite serious mental health issues, and she told me I’d experienced burnout. Years of a stressful home life, combined with a stressful work life meant that I’d been living on cortisol and adrenalin and my brain had reduced in size over time. What? Brain shrinkage? But, she assured me, it would grow back over time.
And she was right. I lost about 65% of my cognitive ability. And within the space of a year, it’s mostly returned. I need to watch my fatigue levels, but I’m doing ok and getting back into projects.
Thank goodness for income protection insurance – apart from a couple of weeks, I was fully covered between leave, my employer and the income protection insurance agency. They also hooked me up with a great rehabilitation provider, and exercise physiologist and some cognitive brain training.
Financially, because of the income protection insurance we have remained on track. So I look forward to sharing with you the remainder of the year and next year as we count down to early retirement at the end of 2020.
I hope you are all going well on your paths to simplicity and financial freedom. I’d love to hear how you are going.