Friday, May 16, 2014

The Trouble With Exhaustion

It won't be out for many years, but in writing my 5th book I have highlighted the fact that if an emotion or feeling is being felt it will be felt to an extreme and unfiltered. This also goes with the way the body feels.

It's been an incredibly busy three months for me and driving to Nashville yesterday so I can work the USAC Generation Next race here I finally hit the proverbial wall. It was awful! And it shouldn't have been as I am coming off one of my best weeks in terms of reception and performance (I wish all could have seen my presentation in Springfield, or could have seen my presentations to students in the Macdonald County R-1 school district) but as the miles were logged and I began to get sad.

Sad? While driving to a race? What was going on? The sadness started with a small hole and began to widen with each mile that went by. At first I couldn't isolate the problem as it was everything. Honestly, everything was making me frustrated and sad and I didn't have the ability to shake these feelings. And to make matters worse, the feeling of being sad within itself made me sadder.

"What's going on!" I said aloud as I crossed over from Illinois into Kentucky. Not only was I feeling horrible by concentrating also became difficult. After another 30 miles of this I finally called my dad to try and express how I was feeling and he was very quick with a response, "Aaron, you're exhausted!"

Exhausted? Was this the answer? I somewhat agreed with him on the phone and after I hung up I began to think about it and I realized he was 100% right and I thought back to the way I felt years and years ago when I was in school. This feeling was identical and yet, when I first realized this halfway through Kentucky, I was still in a position of hating myself.

Hating myself? Oh yes, most certainly! While I was sad I kept saying to myself, "Aaron, how can you be so sad? I'm supposed to be strong, right? How can I feel this way?" This is part of the problem with exhaustion as it distorts one's ability to grasp what can and can't be done. In this haze that was this sadness it was lost on me what the previous months have been. In the past eight days I've given 17 presentations, driven 2,000 miles, and in the year in total I've given 67 presentations to 7,900 people, have flown over 10,000 miles, flagged four races, driven or ridden over 5,000 miles, and all in all I've had the busiest first five months of a year of my life. Am I complaining about it? No, most certainly not, but at the same time that has to be a counter-balance and that's something I have not had.

As I crossed into Tennessee I finally allowed myself to feel okay with the fact that I was simply exhausted. I was trying to fight this thought off because I should be stronger than that, right? I should have an abundance of energy because I love what I'm doing, I truly do, which is what furthered the sadness because I hated this feeling I had.

It took a while once I arrived in Nashville, but when I went to dinner with the other USAC staff I finally had forgiven myself for feeling so rotten. Perhaps this was a momentary bounce of energy, but with exhaustion comes thoughts which could be cloudy and misguided. Misguided? Yeah, what I mean by that is, since exhaustion has an impact on everything, it can be difficult isolating and determining what the actual cause of the sadness or emotion being felt.

This is something that moving forward I am going to have to figure out how to better balance things. I love what I do and I realize the gifts I've been given in being able to be a loud voice in the field and this adds to what I do and there is rarely a moment that goes by that I'm not thinking of ways to have a bigger impact, or what to blog about next, or what the day will look like when my 2nd book hits the market, or this YouTube series I want to make, or retooling my new presentation, or working on the planning on my next set of presentations, or dreaming about my next national tour, and keeping track of all that plus so much more is, well, tiresome. Again, I must say I love it, but at the same time balance is a must and this is something I'm going to have to look at because I'm not going to slow down any time soon, that's for sure.

1 comment:

  1. I'm super glad you were able to reach out to your dad to help process such negative emotions, and I'm also glad he was there for you with wisdom and truth. I especially liked when you said, "I finally allowed myself to feel okay with the fact that I was simply exhausted." And now you're moving forward with a plan toward better balance. What a great lesson to share with your readers, because we all need to follow these same steps when we feel overwhelmed. You rock, Aaron!