July.

This is very hard to admit. But July was a very difficult month and I cried at work. Several times.

Simple tasks were too much. I was not my usual self.

During the last 10 years I cried twice at work. When my father passed away. When I lost my baby.

I had no idea what was going on. Normally, I “have everything under control” and I always deliver at work. No matter what.

Maybe it was because I have not slept one night during the entire pandemic. I am up every night feeding my child.

Maybe it was because I work under enormous pressure in my job. I got multiple awards and grants during the pandemic. I am doing well. But the pressure never stops.

Maybe it was because my husband, also a scientist, lost his job during the pandemic.

Maybe it was because I have not seen my mother, brother and sister since 2019.

Maybe it was because several friends were really sick and I felt for them.

Maybe it was because I spent several long shifts in the lab every week to push my project and help my colleagues.

Maybe it was because I have worked since 10 years non-stop and always work towards the next goal. Very ambitious. Pretty much a workaholic.

Many people have warned me “Anna, you work too much”. Even my supervisor.

I never listened.

For the first time in my life I think I know how it felt, when people speak of a “burn out”.

For the first time in my life I did not like my job anymore.

I wished there was a pause button for my life. I realized I needed a break.

I caught a glimpse of what it felt like 20 years ago, when everything was too much. When I planned my suicide.

This time around I understood the situation better.

I spoke with friends. I booked a holiday right away. I went running. I told my colleagues that in a few days I would need a break.

Eventually it got better and I am back at work. Happy and excited for upcoming future projects.

If you are reading this and you can relate to this, please talk to a friend, a colleague, your supervisor. I promise you it will get better. All you need is a break. #nevergiveup

Yesterday I talked with my colleague very honest about this and I am glad I work in a team and work environment, where it is ok to speak up.

Let`s create that work culture everywhere, which does not cost money or a lot of effort.

Be someone people would go to, if they feel the need to talk to someone. That is sometimes enough. Simply knowing you are there. Definitely works for me.

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