I had a reminder, yesterday, of those last few awful years at The Beast when I was working myself into a burnout in order to ward off the bullies...
Yesterday at noon was the cut-off date and time for the end-of-course writing assignment for my French course. The French course that I have tried, and failed, to complete three times in the past. I was almost-contemplating abandoning it again but some stubborn streak stopped me and so I found myself up late on Wednesday night and taking the morning off work on Thursday in order to complete the penultimate task.
I must have worked very hard and flexed my intellectual muscles almost to their limits because as soon as I had clicked 'submit' on the Open University website, two minutes before the cut-off time, I experienced the kind of total mental exhaustion that was a daily feature of my life in those Beast days.
My ears were ringing, my head was aching and I could not muster a coherent thought and then all of that was replaced by the non-stop thoughts and the frantic firing of neurons that I remembered from the past. I was a total mental wreck but unable to stop my brain from over-heating. I felt like a runaway train heading for the edge of a cliff.
Even several slow walks round the green failed to calm me, unusually because I always head for the green whenever I need to heal. Yesterday it healed me not.
I considered remaining at home for the rest of the day but such was my mad mental state I thought that a few complex code analyses, blocking some bad IPs and squashing a few phishers would be restful and a welcome distraction and so I headed for the office.
It didn't help. Although the distraction of helping The Cute Translator (remember him?) to make sense of an important techie-speak document for the corporate website by translating it into plain English so that he could translate it into French, provided a pleasant interlude.
But by yesterday evening I was so exhausted I felt numb and so I spent a mindless evening staring at the TV and sipping cheap, fizzy white wine before collapsing into bed.
This was how my life was at The Beast.
This was the reason why I fled to France.
It was a timely reminder indeed.
I have an oral exam on Monday evening, one more hurdle before I can pat myself on the back and say "Kiddo, you did it. You made it to the end of the course." And though that may not seem like a big achievement to most folk it will be, for me, a personal triumph and once of which I will be proud.
And then in February I will start the final course that will earn me my degree. Which I find amazing!