THE ART OF NOT BURNING YOURSELF OUT
My name is Annemarie, but you might know me as Ann King. A singer/songwriter from The Netherlands.
I always wanted to be a singer, for me, there weren’t any other options. I started doing musicals when I was eight and I’ve been addicted to performing ever since. I taught myself English from watching F.R.I.E.N.D.S over and over again when I was 12 because I wanted to sing in English, I have dyslexia so it took some hard work. When I was 15 I picked up the guitar and started writing my own songs. I read anything I can get my hands on and in a very Rory Gilmore way, I always have a book with me. I am currently studying Emily Dickinson’s poetry and I love it.
I never even thought it would be a possibility that I would have a burnout at the age of 23. But there I was sitting in a chair with a therapist in front of me, not knowing what to do, not having any energy at all and feeling overwhelmed by the world. I have always been a fiercely independent person and suddenly I had to rely on the people around me for everything. I couldn’t do a single thing. I laid in bed, staring at my ceiling for two weeks straight, lost 20 pounds in those two weeks and I just didn’t see how I was gonna get out of this one. I’ve had break downs before but I could always get back up but this time it was different. Life just didn’t make sense anymore, the only thing I could see was a big black cloud hanging in my future. I broke.
The conclusion of therapy was that I have ADHD/ADD, I have always had trouble concentrating in school and want to do everything at once, so it didn’t come as a surprise to me or the people around me. It did, however, give me some closure in a way. I now know why I just can’t contain my energy sometimes and why I talk very fast because my thoughts race through my mind but that’s just the way I am. It makes me very creative as well, I just need to learn how to deal with my mind in a better way.
New songs, new attitude, and a new name to match. Starting over after being burnt out was hard. I had to make the decision to change my artist name from ANEMARY to Ann King since there was too much confusion with the singer Anne-Marie. I wanted a strong name, not only to push myself out of my comfort zone but also to make a statement. I am not waiting for a king to come and rule my kingdom. I am building my kingdom brick by brick on my own and I can rule it by myself. I can do anything a man can.
I did, however, find it scary to leave my old songs behind because they have guided me through so much. In the last six months, I wrote about 50 songs and I am now recording my first album as Ann King. A lot of the songs I wrote didn’t make it to the album. I did, however, find myself again in my music and I am now making the music I always envisioned myself to make. Rock bottom became the valley in which I rebuild myself.
NO ONE KNOWS WHAT THEY’RE DOING
I learned along the way that it’s okay to not know what you’re doing as long as you keep moving forward. Most adults don’t know what the hell they are doing, as a kid I thought you’d grow up and know exactly what to do in life and where to go and if I just kept singing everything would fall into place. It didn’t turn out that way but I don’t regret a thing. I may not have taken the shortest path to follow but the view is stunning and I wouldn’t trade the lessons I learned for anything.
BE KIND TO YOURSELF
I always strive for perfection and I used to expect it from myself at all times and it’s an expectation I have rarely managed to match. So I have learned to be kinder to myself, to give myself a break now and then. Take some time off, enjoy my weekends. I used to think I needed to work hard all the time or I would fall behind. But I ended up just burning myself out.
I found out the hard way that I don’t necessarily practice what I preach. I always look out for the people I love but I forgot to look out for myself. Your mental and physical health are important, you can’t neglect them. If you need a break, you need a break. Don’t push yourself over the edge. It’s a lot easier to just take a break now and then and to go to bed on time instead of staying up all night working than having to recover from a burn out.
It’s been about six months and I am doing a lot better, I’m still not there but I will be. I am a very passionate person and I love what I do. I just need to give myself some time and learn to take a break when I need it. I truly believe you can do anything you put your mind to and I know I will come back stronger.