Our body is a unique, strange and uncontrollable organism and I got a strong demonstration from mine. It is programmed to react on all kinds of damages from the inside and the outside.
Stress and pressure cause the strangest reactions!
Take the signs seriously if your body or brain starts behaving crazy! Don’t take it lightly!
It was 6 years ago when my best friend told me during an artist tour we organized, that I should take care of myself. I had some acne pimple in my face and at the back of my head then, that would last for quite a long time and not go away.
I went to see a dermatologist and he handed me out a cream, telling me to come back if there would be no change. He told me, that this form of acne symptoms was caused by infected hair roots. Infected hair roots normally don’t heal, our body wants them out of the organism.
I am not the guy who likes to go to see doctors and I kept using the cream but it actually didn’t get better.
When I called for an appointment again the same doctor was not available and I went to see the other doctor at his surgery. The lady recommended a strong treatment called roccutane with strong side effects, documented online and I did not pass the treatment as the outcome was described to be quite inconsistent.
I was checking for solutions online and found, that acne can be caused by certain food ingredients. I tried every change in my diet but there was no actual change to the problem.
By now I have just one explanation of what caused the symptoms: Stress and pressure!
I was 3 years into marriage and my partner came from a foreign country. She had no idea about all the things I was working on but a very strong character. She was quite anxious to try new things and kept holding on to the things she knew. While I was concerned about helping her to explore and find what she loved to do and integrated her in all my projects, she had no idea about how to live here and almost from the beginning on we had strong arguments.
I was flexible enough to prioritize her projects and try to build a business out of it by testing what works and what doesn’t.
When tests showed, that a project could not be successful I had no chance to convince her to drop the project and change the direction and angle. To avoid disasters I had to handle things I don’t like and I don’t feel comfortable with. Looking back I learned these things like graphic design and administration the hard way and they are part of my skillset now.
At the time I was working part-time in my actual profession as an IT Support and Consultant but things were difficult as the CEO of the company took off and I became a freelancer. Freelancing then was an unknown field for me and it was certainly not helping me to stabilize, secure our income and reduce stress.
At the time I handled translations, negotiations, online presence and artist tours besides serving my clients as a freelancer and programming an entire system.
I had no certainty about a job and the income was way below of what was necessary to cover all the expenses caused by the projects and our lives.
When Health Issues Hit Me For Real
The artist tours have been a success concerning the presence at the events, but not financially. I was looking for a job in an environment when the economy was very unstable. The digital transformation started to become a topic and everybody was trying to get an idea of what is coming.
At the same time, my partner had the idea to launch a festival and we had discussed the case with business partners. We then had also organized time-consuming tours with tourists to her native country. The conclusion for me concerning a festival was quite clear to be a “no go” but she progressed with the idea behind my back. The moment came when I told her to not count on my help if she wants to do it and she confirmed to progress with the idea and handle it on her own.
Then I had the luck to find a part-time job as a programmer at an agency while my face was covered by acne symptoms. I didn’t feel comfortable to show off in public as anyone could see that there was something wrong with my health and life.
In our society you need to be strong as a man to get a good job and you can’t fail.
I was requested to take a picture of mine by the agency for their website and I waited for a moment when it was at least not too bad and could be reworked in Photoshop.
The stress and pressure around finance and multitasking approached a tipping point.
I had a part of 2 square centimeters in my skin being an open wound. Hairs of my beard as well as their roots have been itching and I bunked them off with a pair of tweezers.
When the festival approached, the team of organizers of the festival had not managed to create a flyer and other marketing material. 10’000 $ have been at stake on our personal account and we had been almost broke, so I had to organize the graphic design of the flyer. I hate doing graphic design work for clients as I just don’t feel comfortable with it. Due to the visual character of it, everybody has a proper opinion which makes it difficult to get a consensus.
I had shot and produced a full feature documentary but hadn’t started the distribution jet, as I was not up to produce it on DVD in an old world setup. As it was not out in the markets and I had to postpone it in favor of other projects, nobody knew about my work. At the time I was in the middle of the process of programming the website for the company and the online download of the documentary.
Starting the process of producing marketing material for the festival, a flyer was required but then it became obvious that a logo was needed first. I managed to create both over 1 month of communicating back and forth, spending almost 100% of my time on this task while postponing my other clients. The arguments went on in my relationship, same as stress and pressure.
BOOM – BURNED OUT!
This was the moment when I told my partner to not count on me anymore for her projects.
I looked bad at the time and kept pushing myself to finish the website for the company, cutting a new trailer for the documentary and finishing the final production with subtitles in 5 languages.
She kept organizing tourist trips and had 15 projects at the time while she was not able to handle one of them at full. It was time for her to become independent.
Our arguments had been constant almost from the beginning but during this process, they became even more annoying. When we have been abroad we have been working under pressure and there was absolutely no time for recreation and vacation over 6 years. I found no understanding for my situation.
I finished the website of the company as well as the production of the documentary and managed to launch the distribution online during fall 2016.
At the time I found an education in Online Marketing and Entrepreneurship that helped me to market the documentary, bring the trailer viral on Facebook and sell a bunch of online downloads.
I had completely lost perspective in the business world at the time but due to this education, I managed to change perspective and find new approaches to transition into the digital economy.
In the process of becoming independent, my partner had become used to asking me for technical help in very low frequencies of sometimes 5 minutes. If I did not react, she started to insist and if I did not get up from the things I was working on to help her, she started the next argument.
I am no angel and I was part of the arguments. I shout louder and I win any argument if I have to, even if I don’t like to be that person. I was in the position of a father, a teacher, a husband, a boss, and a mentor while I had the full responsibility about finances and our wellbeing.
The moment came, when I was in such a bad shape, that I just did not react anymore while my health had reached the bottom. The acne symptoms had moved from my face to the back of my head. They pressured my nerves and almost paralyzed me.
I worked for one goal: Vacation!
As my partner was not willing to give me anything back for all the work I had done for her and her career over the years I made her treat my wounds on my head to at least help me with my health. She didn’t want to help me out with it first, but then finally did it over quite some time and at least it helped in some aspects but couldn’t get me back on track.
I know it is not easy to gift me something as I am not very attracted by materialistic stuff. What I needed from her was time and to stop arguing about everything. By default, I don’t ask anybody for anything as I got along quite well but during these times I had to get back to my parents for financial support. Even so, I am a strong believer, that a relation can just work if both parties provide and receive more or less equally. If this is not guaranteed there will be suffering most certainly.
She is no bad person, she is just very egocentric and looking back, she just didn’t understand concepts of equality and giving/taking the same way I do. I know that she suffered a lot as well and she was stressed and overwhelmed all the time.
After finishing the work on the documentary and the website for the company, I took a break and went for a surf trip to Costa Rica. Over the years she had taken a lot more vacation (maybe 3-4 months more) than I did, so it was time for me to compensate and I went on my own. This caused another big argument and she finally took a vacation as well at the same time.
Being almost broke, no real job in sight and in a horrible health situation it was a difficult decision to give myself a break!
I managed to heal the wounds at least as far, that I could travel. It was the first time I could at least think about traveling to another country as I was worried about infections. I didn’t do any sports at the time as sweating was causing a lot of pain on the wounds. I didn’t go out anymore and my social life had collapsed then.
The sun and the salt of the sea, as well as the body activity, helped me overcome at least a great part of the symptoms and I had a lot of time to think about, what I want to do with my life.
When I came back from my surf trip I was stronger but the problems haven’t been solved jet and the health issues came back.
In April she decided to book a vacation for a month over July/August while I had still no outlook for a job or an income and her income could not cover our expenses by far. She bought the flight without even asking me as a reaction on my long awaited vacation on my own.
This was the moment when I closed chapters of the relation and just waited for an end to come. It was then about working it out or end it. Looking back, I was not ready to provide my part to this relation anymore. I sat on the couch, studying and not available for anything anymore. I was completely blocked.
I closed myself out of the system as an introvert, didn’t care about my appearance or anything anymore and lost complete interest.
Standing under complete financial pressure for years, I hadn’t bought almost no cloth or anything for myself for 2 years.
Meanwhile she had become quite independent and found a network of friends. Unfortunately I had no interest in these friends as the topics of her network was far from mine.
She had planned another event for October 2017 and we had talked about the costs and budget. The event was planned to cost 2’500 $ and it was foreseen to get more or less 8’000 $ in return. The moment came when she pushed the costs for the event to 8’000 $ while possible earnings would have stayed the same.
One month before the event I had to take a decision for myself. I told her to decide: Cancel the event or to do it on her own responsibility which would require the divorce.
Her decision was the divorce.
It was a hard pill to take but finally I am glad she did take this decision as there was no solution to our different mindsets. We have both been very unhappy and just fighting for life.
I had struggled over these last months with a complete loss of an outlook of a better future and became suicidal. Together with the changes in our economy, my absence in the job market and my ongoing health issues, I had completely lost track and was at a point to be called depression.
At the time I had suppressed my feelings completely and looking back I was in the mode of a warier. I was smoking a lot of pot at the time to cancel myself out in surviver mode.
When we broke up it all fell down on my head.
I was 40, broke, had lost my career, failed completely, was still ill, left alone, had lost the woman I loved and a long relationship together with all the projects we had built over 8 years.
Above all problems my 6 years old computer stopped working, I fell from the sofa and sprained my ankle and everything went down the road for me.
Fortunately I could count on my parents and I have no idea how I would have overcome this entire time without their help.
At the same time, the breakup was a big relief. I was able to cry again and it was a very sad time in my life. I almost couldn’t leave the house without tears filling my eyes as my feelings got shaken completely. I stopped smoking pot just after the breakup to clean up my head and get back into reality.
You can argue about any aspect of love. About what it is and what it should be. Was it based in dependence? Was it a mission?
I think we sometimes just don’t know about the reason for an attraction we feel for another person. I still believe, that during the time we spent together, there was deep love from both sides. Unfortunately, we were just too different in many aspects and it did not work out.
We had lost trust during this last time of our relationship but at the end we fortunately found a way to manage a fast and clean divorce.
I hoped that my health issues would disappear with the end of the pressure in the relationship.
I was more controlled but after such a long time of self mistreatment there certainly was a lot more to come and I couldn’t get rid of the acne symptoms.
After the divorce I went to see other doctors and they provided me with more creams. Non of which helped. One cream closed the skin but below the hair roots became even worse and it all broke out again even more severe.
Still no ending
Over the time I had accumulated a lot of knowledge but I had no one to communicate and somehow it was all quite mixed up.
What changed the situation for me was, when I started writing a book about all my knowledge at the beginning of 2019.
I write down this story about a mix between burnout, depression, and illness to provide you with an idea what can happen if you don’t worry enough about your own interests, your energy, and your health.
I am aware for a long time that the skin is an organ, indicating the health of relations. I certainly struggle with finding people who share my interests and are open minded.
Fortunately, the internet provides us with many solutions to find our network and our tribe. The more you are willing to provide about yourself, the more you get back.
In a situation like the one I am in, it seems to be crucial to me to have a confident place to interact with others in similar situations. I am really grateful I found such a community!
My health issues are almost gone at the moment of this writing but skin problems take a very long time to heal. I am looking forward to overcome this downtime in my life and hope my story helps others to get through difficult times.