There is no better phrase for it: I am burned out. I don't remember ever being this burned out. As I stopped to ponder why this is hitting me so hard now, I realized I haven't had a vacation for almost two years. This is the longest period of time I have gone without traveling in my entire life.
Work hasn't become more difficult, but my ability to deal with it objectively is faltering. Being a manager and being in public service means I am always on even when I don't feel like it. There is no hiding or taking it easy. My coworkers have been very understanding, but they also work under the same restrictions. Such is the way of the library professional.
Although my health has improved lately, I still have off days, sometimes triggered by hidden gluten, and other times triggered by an unknown allergy or intolerance I have yet to figure out. Because I have limited sick time that I have to use for doctor's appointments, I feel a great amount of pressure not to take time off work, even when I am feeling lousy.
At home, all I want to do is relax. The thought of cooking for an hour or two after coming home from work is daunting. Also daunting is the prospect of being social after a day of "social work" at the library. I barely have the wherewithal to read some RSS feeds, let alone be productive. Just thinking about putting energy into a focus-intensive game like World of Warcraft makes me weary.
What is most disturbing about this level of burnout is that I am not myself. I react to things differently, with less patience and less gentleness than I ever have; I sleep fitfully and not enough; I confuse timelines and threads, awkwardly mixing past and present. This loss of continuity and consistency unmoors me.
All I want to do is run away.
This is not particularly how I wanted to approach this trip, this culmination of years of planning and wishing. In fact, this is exactly the opposite mindset I need to have. And yet the pressure of knowing that I have two days to wrest my attitude from two years of burnout is immense.
Once we are there, of course, I am sure it will take me no time at all to unfurl all these crumpled-up parts of my psyche. Until then, I am making myself and probably everyone else miserable. But I am tired of being nice, as awful as that is to say. I feel as if my overwhelming drive to be nice, to smooth over rough edges, to acquiesce has more than a little to do with why I am this burned out.