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December 20, 2020

My 2020 Journey with Burnout and Depression

Sydne Style wears blush dress with blush drapery

Even as I sit down to write this post, I’m second guessing myself. It’s a feeling I’ve unfortunately become accustomed to these past few months. But for me, writing has always been therapeutic. So here I am, pulling back the curtains into my most private thoughts and spilling my heart out about something I have not wanted to share: I’m burnt out and I’m depressed.

I’m not just talking about feeling sad. 2020 has been a roller coaster of emotions for all of us. Like most people, my anxiety grew as the months went by. I actually started off in March okay. As most of you know, I had a concussion last year, which forced me to rest and stay home for months. So when I was presented with the lock-down order I thought to myself, I got this. I can help people with being somewhat okay with staying home.

And I did. I was fueled with creativity stemmed from a desire to help. I was on Insta Stories non stop and writing blog posts every day trying to do my little part in offering a break from all the tragic news. When I realized this was going to be our new normal for a while, I thought of more ways I could help. I found a way to help women get excited about wearing face masks by creating stylish ones that were comfortable. And by giving back to charity with the line, I was feeling good that I could do something to help during these tragic times. I was busier then ever, but I’ve always loved being busy.

Ok, busy might not be a strong enough word. Between my new business and keeping up with my blog and social media, I was working non-stop. I barely slept. My therapist kept encouraging me to take a day off from my seven day work week, stressing the importance of self care. But I didn’t see the point. Work was an outlet for me to deal with the sadness that was happening around me. I woke up every morning excited to work. Minus a few afternoons off here and there, all I did was work.

Fast forward to fall, when I launched loungewear. I wanted to give women a stylish option that made them feel good while having to be at home and providing comfort for when they went out. Even thought I was so excited and proud of what I created it just became too much.

I now realize that I didn’t have the time or capacity in my mind for everything it takes to run a clothing line. Adding such a big new venture to my over full plate was too overwhelming. I was already spread so thin, not to mention the sadness that kept creeping up about living alone during the pandemic. I tried my best to ignore the loneliness I felt seeing happy couples and families on Instagram while I sat with Jack Jack in my apartment freaking out about anything and everything.

Even though things were going well in the bigger picture, any small difficulty gave me a huge panic I had never felt before. I couldn’t do so many things on my own while the world was crumbling around me. And I hated myself for not being able to do it all.

As days and weeks went by, my anxiety grew. My thoughts kept circling and I was having trouble finding any positivity in life. I could not control my negative thoughts. They grew like weeds popping up in a field, making it impossible for any flowers to bloom.

The themes were all the same: What is wrong with me? I’m a failure. What am I even doing in life? I’m irrelevant. I don’t know what to do. I can’t do this.

A month ago, my mom told me she’d never heard me say the word can’t so many times in my life. I’ve always been driven. This feeling of despair was foreign to me. Technically, I knew that our current “new normal” is not “normal.” And everyone is having feelings that they’re not accustomed to. But for some reason, I thought I should be strong enough to fight these feelings.

I tried. I really did. I meditated. I took Jack Jack for long walks. I constantly thought about how much I had to be grateful for. But that even made it worse. I kept thinking what is wrong with you? People have real problems in the world. You’re fine. Stop being so negative. This is ridiculous. Snap out it! The harder I tried to “snap out it,” the worse it got.

About a month ago, my body could not keep up with my mind. My anxiety turned into what I now know is depression. I woke up every morning with a severe tightness in my chest that took hours to go away, sometimes not leaving my body till late afternoon. I was crying non stop. I was sleeping more than ever but still feeling exhausted. Even the smallest task seemed overwhelming. I went from working 24/7 to struggling to do the bare minimum. The negative weeds had completely covered my field. I lost all hope of being able to bloom.

I shut off. Nobody knew what was going on except my mom and therapist. I avoided talking to my friends and holed up in my bed. I had enough content I previously shot to post on Instagram so I tried my best to keep somewhat of a persona online. But aside from my holiday gift guides, I couldn’t write a blog post. And the thought of doing Insta Stories gave me panic attacks. How was I supposed to “be on” when I felt “so off?”

I finally took my therapist’s suggestion and saw a psychiatrist. She told me I was in a deep depression. I started crying yet again. I felt weak for letting myself get to this place. I couldn’t hear her words that it wasn’t my fault. I felt like I brought this upon myself. But I didn’t have the energy to fight it any more. So I started taking the medicine she prescribed me and did my best to take her advice and let my body and mind rest.

That was a week and half ago. Am I all better? I wish! I still wake up with the tightness in my chest every morning. But it goes away faster and the crying is lessening. I even have moments in the afternoon and the evening where I start to feel a teeny bit more like myself. I’m learning to realize that just like this came on slowly, it’s going to heal slowly as well. For the first time in a long time, I’m starting to feel glimpses of hope.

Being able to sit down and write this post is progress. Two weeks ago I could not get out of bed. Today I’m sharing my journey because I think it’s important to do whatever we can to help break the stigma of mental health. If you’re struggling, just know you’re not alone. And if it’s gotten to be more than you can handle, I hope you can realize like I finally did that it’s ok to ask for help.

Leave a Comment

22 Comments

  1. Shefali commented:

    Oh Sydney my heart aches for you but acknowledging you have a problem is the first step in getting better. Sharing such a personal issue with family and friends is hard enough but to share it with complete strangers takes real courage. I’m sure this will so many people. So thank you. Big hug to you🤗

    Published 12.20.20 Reply
    • Sydne commented:

      You are so sweet. It helped me to get it out and was my hope that in doing so it might help someone who is struggling. Thank you for your kind words and big hugs back!

      Published 12.21.20 Reply
  2. Shefali commented:

    Oh Sydney my heart aches for you but acknowledging you have a problem is the first step in getting better. Sharing such a personal issue with family and friends is hard enough but to share it with complete strangers takes real courage. I’m sure this will help so many people. So thank you. Big hug to you🤗

    Published 12.20.20 Reply
  3. Priscila commented:

    I love you!! Stay strong , I have been struggling as well. It has been extremely tough but we just go with it. Know that I have followed you as a blogger, as a stylist for years. Thank you for using this platform to be yourself, for allowing yourself to open up and show us what most people won’t, you’re true self, with bottled up emotions, feelings, sadness, depression yet in mist of it all. Here you are shinning for the rest of us, leading the way, showing us that there is light at the end of the tunnel. Silver lining right??

    I hope you feel better thank you ♡♡

    Published 12.20.20 Reply
    • Sydne commented:

      I’m so sorry to hear that you’ve been struggling as well. It’s been such a rough year for all of us. But yes, as you said, there is light at the end of the tunnel!

      Thank you for taking the time to write and I hope you feel better as well <3

      Published 12.21.20 Reply
  4. Victoria Riccardi commented:

    Dear Sydne,

    What courage to share such a personal story. I am so glad you sought help and are on your way to recovery. My husband suffered from a deep depression and through meds and therapy was able to find a way out of the dark. You will too.

    I hope this new year brings you good health and happiness and you find a way to channel your energy and talents in a way that works for you.

    All best,
    Victoria

    Published 12.21.20 Reply
    • Sydne commented:

      I’m so sorry your husband experienced depression. I’m sure that was so hard on you as well. I’m glad he was able to find a way to the light. I’m sure you being there for him helped immensely.

      Sending you love and happiness for the new year!
      x

      Published 1.3.21 Reply
  5. Elena commented:

    Sending positive vibes. One day at a time. My anxiety has become so sad this year as well and lead me into depression too. I’m taking lexapro now and it’s helping. I still get the tightness in my chest and shortness of breath. My dog 🐶 has been my comfort and I make myself get up and dressed even if it’s just to walk her. You can do this!! Much love.

    Published 12.21.20 Reply
    • Sydne commented:

      I’m so sorry Elena. I know it’s so hard but I’m glad the medication is helping. Aren’t dogs the best medicine? I’m thankful every day for the comfort Jack Jack gives me. It’s as if they know we need an extra little TLC right now.

      We can both do this!!! Sending love for the new year.

      Published 1.3.21 Reply
  6. Lindsey commented:

    Thanks for this post, Syde. It’s a potent reminder that as this crazy year drags on, its still ok NOT to be OK. Yesterday I was in the urgent care for a knee-related injury, and while it was a “simple” procedure, I was a puddle of tears and anxiety. I felt so mad at myself for not handling my situation with grace, or even a smidge of gratitude. (In reality , I am fine, and mostly healthy and am now on the road to recovery with respect to my knee.) Reading your post reminded me to have compassion for myself; to keep in mind that the stress from the events of this rollercoaster year is still palpable, and will continue affecting people in differing ways as we all try to navigate the ongoing uncertainty. Mental health is a spectrum, and some days will feel closer to chaos than sanity, for all of us. I hope your days continue to feel lighter and brighter, and know that if they don’t, that’s ok too.<3

    Published 12.22.20 Reply
    • Sydne commented:

      Thank you so much for the kind words Lindsey. And I’m glad your procedure went ok. I would imagine getting any kind of procedure during these times, “simple” or not would be incredibly stressful for anyone!
      I’m glad you were able to have compassion for yourself, something I work on daily. I wish you all the best for the new year!

      Published 1.3.21 Reply
  7. Sometimes weeds are very persistent, but they also die, it can take time, but they can be overcome. Strength for a 2021 full of flowers and no weeds.

    Published 12.26.20 Reply
    • Sydne commented:

      So true! Hope your 2021 is full of flowers

      Published 1.3.21 Reply
  8. Kathy commented:

    Thank you for sharing your struggles. I too struggle and know that the easiest thing to do is to avoid people and shut myself up with my darkness. Someone is reading your post now and thinking “I am not alone”. Thank you!

    Published 1.3.21 Reply
    • Sydne commented:

      Thank you for sharing Kathy! Reading your comment helped me remember there are so many of us struggling right now. I so appreciate you taking the time to write. Sending you strength and love

      Published 1.3.21 Reply
  9. Lise commented:

    You are a beautiful writer! It’s so brave of you to share what you’ve been going through with so many. Since you mentioned writing is therapeutic for you, I think you should consider writing a book during this time of healing and reflection. It may help you as well as helping others. Sending you healing thoughts! xoxo

    Published 1.7.21 Reply
  10. Lise commented:

    You are a beautiful writer! It’s so brave of you to share what you’ve been going through with so many. Since you mentioned writing is therapeutic for you, I think you should consider writing a book during this time of healing and reflection. It may help you, as well as helping others. Sending you healing thoughts and warm hugs! xoxo

    Published 1.7.21 Reply
  11. Rosie Dunn commented:

    Dear Sydney, thanks for sharing your experience! The problem of emotional burnout is one of the most urgent now. This is something new for many people and we need to talk about it and support each other. I wish 2021 to be a year of balance and harmony!

    Published 1.12.21 Reply
  12. Kay commented:

    I’m so sorry that you’re going through such a difficult time. I’ve followed your work for a long time and you’ve been a source of inspiration to me through your lovely posts and fashion videos. I suffer from depression as well so I can sympathize. Life has it’s ups and downs but life is also definitely worth living. It’s a beautiful gift from our creator, who loves you and wants you to know Him. Our hearts are restless until it finds it’s rest in Jesus Christ. God bless you and I’ll be praying for you.

    Published 1.20.21 Reply
  13. Rachel commented:

    Praying for you! I purchased 3 of your mask and 3 of the mask chains! And love them all! Hope you get better soon!

    Published 1.21.21 Reply
  14. Gina Blancarte commented:

    Thank you for being so real and sharing your difficult journey with us. I’m sure you’ve already helped more people than you know by simply being honest and talking about your depression. I often worry about my friends who live alone and your story gives me the motivation to check in with them, more. As for you…I have had the privilege of seeing you blossom into a full fledged BOSS over the years and am here cheering for your continued success…through the ups and downs, you WILL make it through. Thanks again for your deeply personal honesty. 🙏🏼🙏🏼🙏🏼

    Published 1.21.21 Reply
  15. Jazz Cole commented:

    I love this post! I’m a highly sensitive person (someone with Sensory processing sensitivity) and people with my personality type is prone to secondary depression and I relate to the panick attacks. More than anything, we’re not alone. Thanks for sharing and I’m praying you’re doing better!😊

    Published 1.22.21 Reply

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