Woman reveals how working 80-hour weeks gave her daily seizures
We all know someone who's guilty of working too hard. Now personally, I've gotta say that this is a problem I suffer from myself - But I know plenty of workaholics who just don't know when to quit. They only take sick days if they've lost a limb, they go on holiday once every ten years, and they're totally addicted to overtime. We tend to overstate the value of hard work in our society. But have you ever stopped to consider what kind of extra toll all those hours of graft take on your health? It turns out that being a wage slave might be more dangerous than you think.
Management consultant Paula Bellostas Murguerza, who hails from London, knows all too well the dangers of working flat-out without a break, and her workaholic tendencies eventually conspired to almost kill her. Things got so bad that, at the point where she was working an 80-hour-week, she was suffering from intense seizures nearly every single day. Now she's opened up about what it felt like to almost work herself to death, and about worker bees need to be more mindful about asking for help and taking care of themselves when climbing the ladder.
Commenting on her workaholic tendencies, Paula stated: "My industry is hectic and I went into it with my eyes open. It’s not like my employer was throwing work down my throat. I just wasn’t saying no and kept putting my hand up for more. I’ve since been to therapy to ask myself why I felt so compelled to take so much on. It’s a lot to do with validation, but that puts you in danger of only ever searching for more, and going further and further to get that pat on the head from your boss."
She added: "I was busy, but I wasn’t feeling stressed or overwhelmed – I was just living in a permanent state of adrenaline-fuelled busy euphoria, running around airports and meeting rooms ... It turned out I had always had this condition because of a gene mutation, but it had been lying dormant in me ... Doctors said the sleep deprivation and excess levels of adrenaline I’d been experiencing had led to burnout, which had woken it up. They told me I needed to get my busy life under control."
"I had a seizure. And from there, I had another every single day until May 2017. I was signed off work completely, there was no way I could have gone in. The migraines would start with a tingling feeling, then my mouth would drop, before my legs, arms and face turned numb. On occasion, I couldn’t even walk and would have to crawl to the bathroom. Afterwards, the room would spin like it does after you get into bed following a night of drinking, and my head would pound."
It turned out that Paula's condition was the result of a rare hemiplegic migraine, in which one side of the body temporarily paralyses itself, which manifested due to stress and high levels of adrenaline in the body. She was forced to take sick leave after her body shut down on numerous occasions, and eventually, Paula sought help from an expert at the National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery; who prescribed medication to help with Paula's migraines. He also regulated her sleep cycle and diet, to better manage her hormones.
Paula now routinely uses a STMS machine (single-pulse transcranial magnetic stimulation) which delivers magnetic pulses directly to her brain; sometimes up to 12 times a day. She's currently off work on maternity leave but she still volunteers at her Samartians branch in her spare time, to help other people who have become depressed and hopeless. So there you have it: next time you feel guilty about taking a break at work, just remember that it could save your life.