Written by: Dr. Amanda Cressman, N.D.
That’s a powerful phrase and it’s something I hear often in dialog with those that I work with. I don’t want to be that person. There is a lot of weight that comes with those words.
I think what is so interesting about that phrase is the inherent judgement of it. Judgement of ourselves, the judgement we fear from others and the judgement we place on the thing we desperately don’t want to be.
Here are some examples of what I have commonly heard and still hear in my practice.
“I don’t want to be that person who eats differently from others, who has to ask, ‘What’s in that…is there gluten or dairy in that dish?’” Insert eye roll here.
“I don’t want to be that person who can’t relax and not worry about what is going on…I’m on edge all the time and I hate it.”
“I don’t want to be that person who has health issues.”
“I don’t want to be that person who has given up on themselves and has stopped caring about their body.”
It can mean a lot of different things. But the commonality of all those phrases is a struggle with where we are actually at and where we want to go.
Since COVID came and ripped up so much of what I knew myself to be, of what I thought I could count on to be stable and steady, I have thought a lot of this phrase. I have thought a lot about asking myself the opposite, of finally asking the question, who do I want to be? What does that new me look like? If I can figure that out, is it even possible?
When your world has been changed so dramatically as all of ours has, there exists an opportunity for reflection…to see more clearly and to gain clarity from the contrast.
For me, it’s created much needed time to realize a lot of the life I was living was something I hadn’t consciously chosen….or perhaps I did, in a way but it was no longer working for me. I am many things but amongst them, I am driven and filled with a sense of duty which created a Wired but Tired version of myself that was productive and successful but was also exhausted and burnt out. COVID threw me and my nervous system around and I fought hard to keep the old me present but the last 5 months won and what has emerged is surprising. I have learned that who I want to be and what I want to do is different from what has been.
This is hard and takes courage to really see it.
For so many of the people that I work with, this has been a common experience that has been accentuated in the past 5 months where our modus operandi has been tweaked, challenged and altered.
Who do you want to be? Who is the person that is most aligned to what you want and where you want to go? What does it look like? For me, it’s no longer being a Wired but Tired, go-getting, on the go, showing the world I can do it all type-of-person. It’s someone who checks in first with herself instead of checking in with others to see if what she’s doing is ok. It’s taking time to rest even when the floor needs some serious vacuuming because really, no one else cares or if they do…can I really be bothered to worry about their opinion?
So many of the people I work with are Wired but Tired…a tricky combination that is a by-product of high levels of stress that have been prolonged and accentuated by a desire to keep producing amongst having minimal, to nothing left in their tank. It’s a tricky combination of exhaustion yet difficulty with getting or staying asleep, lack of motivation yet anxiousness and brain fog, cravings yet lack of appetite and weight gain. It’s burnout that comes in a different package where many would never know what’s really going on because the individual is looking successful in the world yet not feeling that. So many people have been taxed with all that COVID has brought. And it’s been different for us all. It has brought with it clarity, in learning our values, our fears, our priorities. It’s stripped so many of us down and people are struggling with the aftermath of 5 months of this change and of the unknown of what September and the coming winter season will bring.
So, who do you want to be in these unprecedented times? Or who don’t you want to be? What do you need to get there? How do you fill your tank to build back resiliency that has been lost? Building back physical and mental resilience is possible but takes time and isn’t something that happens overnight. It can come in many different ways and my hope is, that you are being supported in your journey, filling yourself up with the pieces that build you back.