I am not a big fan of the word Coach. However, a lot of people in my circle will call me a Burnout Coach because of all the things I went through in my life. From the time I was clinically dead for 25 seconds due to overworking combined with a chronic disease, to the time I got a terrible spine injury and could not work for 4 months due to Clinical Burnout Syndrome.
I understand the devastating effects of burnout and strive to help others avoid a similar fate by sharing my story and expertise as a Human Optimizer.
Keep reading to learn more about my journey and how it led me to become an advocate for burnout prevention and awareness, or if you like this word better: a Burnout Coach.
My first burnout led me to death
It was a warm evening in 2007 — it should have been spring or summer in Germany.
I came home from another shift at work. I was 19 and besides my university (which is a full-time job itself in Germany) I ran 2 freelance businesses and a job “on the side”. So basically I was only home to shower & sleep for a couple of hours each day.
I remember that I was in a rush to get some food ready and to prepare myself for a studying marathon throughout the night.
But something felt off. I felt off.
A serious severe migraine attack hit me. I have had migraines ever since I was 4 years old. As this is a nervous system disease, it would change over the years and was affected by hormones and other things that influence the nervous system. When I was 15 years old I started to have epileptic seizures accompanying these migraine attacks. Something that wasn’t there before and that made these attacks almost unbearable.
On the way to the bathroom, I was knocked out. This was a tiny bathroom though, and so I hit the back of my head pretty hard on the bathtub and knocked over to the front to hit my forehead on the tile floor.
This is how I woke up. The pain was so strong I immediately felt I was going to be unconscious from it soon again.
Epilepsy kicked in.
With all my last strength I crawled into my living room, where my bag was on the floor, and broke down.
Lying there I was able to get my phone and dial my mum’s number. She got on the phone and immediately started talking about something.
“Mum. I am not gonna make it. You have to come. Be here in 5 minutes. I am not gonna make it. And bring an ambulance. This is really bad”
I don’t remember anything else — at this moment I went unconscious again.
Everything went black.
I wasn’t just unconscious. I somehow was half there when I blacked out. I felt like blacking out. I saw the black rushing over me. It swallowed me like a huge wave and drowned me.
And for a second everything was silent.
Then suddenly — everything went white. Bright shining white. So white that I was not able to look at the light.
You can read more about this experience in this post.
For a second I surrendered. I was about to give up.
But then, something inside of me said “That can’t be it. There must be more out there for you. Don’t give up!” so I started fighting.
I tried to get out of the stream that sucked me into the light, I used all of my willpower, I imagined what I would do differently in my life, how I would live it once — and I begged the universe not to let me enter the white light.
It felt like a brick crashing on my chest from 50 meters height when my heart started beating again.
I remember this pain so vividly. I still have it sometimes.
The first heartbeat felt like a little hand grenade exploding in my rib cage. It took my breath away. And it made me the happiest person alive.
I walked into my neurologist’s office and sat down. After hours of brain scans, heart scans, and other medical tests, he said it:
‘Monique — You had a cardiac arrest. You were clinically dead for about 25 seconds. This also explains your out-of-body experience!’
So I died, and I came back. But…did I ever think that the cardiac arrest could have happened due to the fact that I was working non-stop since I was 13?
No. I never thought this could have been the reason. The words Burnout or Burnout Coach were not part of my vocabulary. I was not aware of these concepts.
I was burnout for a long while by then. I was sleeping only 4 hours a day, and I did not have a day off for 6 years.
German work culture is extremely toxic, even though we are always praised for it.
I thought that what I was doing was normal. And the doctors and I blamed my chronic disease for my cardiac arrest.
I never related what happened to me to burnout.
My second experience with burnout
And sadly, the story does not end here. Life had to show me AGAIN, in a different way, that my relationship with work was just WRONG. Step by step I was becoming what I am today…a sort of Burnout Coach.
So, a few years went by and I was 24.
I was still overworking myself, thinking that this was the only way to live. Without any work – life balance.
Stress was part of my life. I was so focused in my career.
By that age, I had already worked for two big corporations as a team manager and operation manager, and I built big teams up.
This was success for me. I knew nothing different.
Until I had 4 discs that prolapsed. I broke down at home, had to be taken to a hospital, and ended up being at home for 4 months. One of the discs in my lower spine squeezed the main spinal nerve so much that my right leg was numbed and I was hardly able to walk.
And that was it. I had severe Clinical Burnout Syndrome.
This second episode opened my eyes, I had to change something in my life. I could not work like that anymore.
If I had had a Burnout Coach by then, I would have seen things much differently. But I was blinded by my culture, by my ambition for success, and by my twisted idea of what work should be like.
From twice burnout to Burnout Coach
These events literally changed my life.
Up until then, I overworked myself, stayed in toxic environments for way too long, didn’t listen to my body, didn’t sleep, and didn’t have any boundaries nor values.
Until I realised the hard way how wrong this was.
And I made it my purpose to find ways to work in my ways, breaking society’s rules, going against every current possible (quite literally, too), designing a life and business that works for me – and finally sharing all of what I have learned!
I am sharing this with you, so you can skip to the good part of designing your business & life of your wildest dreams while enjoying the things that really matter.
Within my services, I offer 1.1 Momentum sessions. This consultation or coaching session is so much more than what you may be used to from previous experiences. If you are looking for a Burnout Coach, during the session we do an assessment of you current challenge, go into different solutions that can be a fit and will start to implement the one that YOU choose.
You can also join my exclusive membership for busy entrepreneurs and business owners who are ready to leave the hustle and grind behind and start a life in their own terms. You can find more about The Time Alchemy Kollektiv here.
I hope that if my story resonates with you, you take action NOW to avoid ending up like me, with two severe cases of burnout that almost ended my life.
Remember that we only have one life, and we need to make the most of it, in a wise way.
If you are a victim of burnout or in the journey of burnout recovery, please seek help and support. If you are in need of a burnout coach or burnout coaching sessions, book a call with me. I can help you get out of that awful place. I have been there and I have the tools and 20+ years of experience to help you out.
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