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  • Ellen Pope

burnouts and battlefields

Up until a week ago, I had decided my 30th year on this planet had been pretty, well, shit. I saw little good.



But today, I am writing this blog post from a very beautiful (and slightly expensive) 5-star resort in the sunshine. On my own. I’ve been here before. I have a support network over here, who are about 30 mins away from me. But for the majority of this holiday, I have been by myself. 


It wasn’t until I checked in, closed the door behind me, cuddled up in the massive bed and sobbed, and sobbed hard, that I realised how worn my physical and mental brake pads were. It had probably been very apparent to my closest friends and family that sheer exhaustion had been on the cards since June, but through sheer determination, i had ploughed through it.  


I lay in bed that night and realised I had not given myself a proper day's mental rest since December 2015. I’d run straight since then (albeit not full pace every day), but when it came to personal and professional battles, every day I was doing something. Macbook constantly at my side, phones in hand like some sort of modern-day sword and shield. 


I’d managed to continue to build my business, project manage a move to another home, work hard at maintaining a friendship with my ex (which is hard, really hard, but worth every minute - why lose people?!), I'd had hard therapy sessions which as I bumbled along throughout the year, meant that every session was more anxious as I appeared to be fucking my life up at every turn. 


Exhaustion is harsh. I literally got on that plane unable to process any more information. I was at capacity. I was full. 

This year, I had also trusted people with my life and my emotions, and I got burnt. Thirty years on this planet and I can count the number of arguments I have had with people on one hand. Never fell out with anyone. Yes, I’ve drifted from people, but I have never cut anyone out of my life, I’d always be there for people I counted as friends.


So to trust individuals who then collectively gutted me like a fish was a hard pill to swallow. And, hand on heart, I didn’t know what to do. I had no understanding why people would use me, and then just cut me loose afterwards. It hurt. This was personal, not professional. And still, I wouldn't cut them off. 


I did things I wish I hadn't. I really do. I said things I wish I hadn’t. I became hot-headed, arrogant, and downright nuts - I lost my temper. They had stepped into my world, and they had all come for a fight. A Popey on the defensive is not a good Popey - especially one on the edge of exhaustion. 


On reflection, and with some breathing space, I'd invested my time and friendship and I was never going to win. Bad gamble. I suppose you live and learn. I hope this is not the norm going forward. I love the fact the people in my life have never let me down or have always supported me. I am not used to this strain of selfishness that I see about. It’s cruel. 


So, yes I had to give myself a life intervention. Supported by my folks, family and closest friends, I packed my bags and ran for the sunshine. I ran here to sleep, after months of not sleeping. I ran here to read. I closed my emails. I ate good food. I swam. I coloured in. I walked around the town. I sunbathed. I munched over future plans. I have tried to find peace with being single. I also reflected on that first point about my 30th year. 


Yes, it has had some bumps. Yes, my little heart has got kicked. But I have had some amazing highs. I am working with great clients on exciting projects. I am earning my own money. I managed to survive in the sun on my own. I have fabulous friends. I have regained old friends, I have made new friends. I have done things I never thought I would. I’m loved and looked after. I feel I can do anything, no matter how hard. I have some amazing things coming up over winter that I have worked so hard for. 


I may have been abandoned by the few in 2017, but I have been saved by the many. 


Thank you-you know who you are. 

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Miss Pope is part of the Ellen Pope Communications Brand

Ellen Pope is a freelance copywriter, marketing consultant and food magazine editor

You can contact Ellen on ellen@ell

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