Back from Burnout: Juliet Mayhew
Burnout. It’s such a polarising word. On the one hand, it’s a terrifying prospect that we all fear, knowing it’ll stop our progress dead in its tracks.
On the other hand, it’s a completely and utterly over glamourised side effect of 21st century living. It’s not even a cliche anymore… it’s a requirement of being a ‘career woman’. So much so that it’s banded about as lightly as ‘Oh, Stephanie? Yeah she’s got a cold’.
Except, real burnout (the possible hospitalisation and certain therapy type) is very real. Very devastating. Very unglamourous.
As part of my job as a copywriter and a columnist as HerHampshire, I get to speak to a lot of incredible women. Many of whom have established their own businesses, of course.
Juliet Mayhew, founder of Crimson Peacock (her luxury, hand block printed nightwear brand), is a natural empath, self-proclaimed Agony Aunt and is no exception to the pattern we’ve unearthed. But, her story exemplifies the essence behind female burnout. The why.
Naturally caring, a mother, highly successful and intensely professional, Juliet’s career as a Partner within the Family division at a law firm would seem like an innate fit. Fighting on behalf of mothers, divorcees and families struggling with narcissistic break-ups would seem like a logical career for someone so emotionally adept.
“I thought I was managing my stress levels, but one evening I suddenly collapsed with crippling chest pain. I was completely incapacitated and ended up in hospital.”
“Helping people has always been a priority for me, but walking alongside a person who is suffering extreme distress, particularly when children are involved, can be emotionally exhausting.
……….The goal was always to diffuse the conflict in order to achieve financial and emotional security for my client and their children, but the journey to reach that end point involved far more than mere legal advice”.
Juliet explained. “I thought I was managing my stress levels, but one evening I suddenly collapsed with crippling chest pain. I was completely incapacitated and ended up in hospital. I took time out and retreated, with my spaniel, to my shepherd hut on the far west coast of Cornwall”.
(And yes, we both laughed about how middle-class Eat, Pray, Love this cliche sounded!)
Juliet left her family behind to seek solace. It was during this self-imposed retreat that she confronted the fact that she had to leave her legal career. But… what next?
The idea of Crimson Peacock emerged and she solidified her new path of exploration by booking a flight to India. Alone.
Unfortunately, the ‘this is your life’ revelations didn’t stop there.
On her solo journey across India, in search of suppliers for her Crimson Peacock nightwear designs, Juliet narrowly escaped being raped by a tuk-tuk driver and was utterly scammed by the first manufacturer she connected with.
“The pressure to be fabulous and perfect is utterly female, but sometimes it’s better to be honest. The journey getting to the glittering future is hard”.
Confronted, once again, with a situation that left her feeling isolated and emotionally stricken, she reached out to local law enforcement. ‘A blessing in disguise’ arrived in the form of a local police superintendent who took Juliet under her wing – even introducing her to her family’s garment business!
“Not only did she organise my refund from the manufacturer and formal reprimand of the tuk tuk driver, but she also recommended her family’s business – a small garment manufacturing facility on the outskirts of the city.
……….She introduced me to her brother who helped me to source my beautiful block printed fabrics and has overseen the manufacture of my complete first collection.”
On returning home to Covid-gate, Juliet spent several agonising months waiting for her first shipment to arrive. Pulling back the curtains one morning, there it was! Dumped on the driveway entirely innocuously – as if it had intended to be a welcome surprise all along! Finally, the rebirth could really come alive.
What’s unearthed in Juliet’s story is what’s so utterly unique about female burnout. It isn’t just physical burnout from long working hours, intense pressure and stress, or the demands of juggling both family-life and work… It’s the snap of an elastic band.
When one’s emotional capacity just.runs.out.
“The pressure to be fabulous and perfect is utterly female, but sometimes it’s better to be honest.
………..The journey getting to the glittering future is hard”.
The Triple B’s
The things about the three B’s (burnout, break down, break up) is that they are as frightening and debilitating as they are motivating and rejuvenating.
Sure, the ‘getting through it’ part is rather harrowing and exhausting, but, as Juliet’s story so beautifully emphasises, this is the compost from which immense success grows.
“For me, Crimson Peacock is the culmination of a long held craving for creativity in my life. I want Crimson Peacock to stand for sustainable, ethical, slow fashion as well as vibrant colour, luxury, beauty and art – everything that was absent from my life as a divorce lawyer!”
Juliet is now enjoying a slower pace of life, immersed in a creativity – surely attributed to her previous trials. We wish her endless success in her endeavours.
Join the HER Hampshire Community to never miss out on inspirational stories like Juliet’s, here.
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