Avery – 00:00
I hope that we’ve all had some moment where we share with someone and realize that both of us have a shared experience that doesn’t need to be explained, that we actually just understand and can talk about it without having to explain about something first.
And that is exactly what happened when I met Pam Derman.
She also has a chronic illness and an invisible disability and had to pivot her life and figure it out and figure out how to move forward with it and create a business that would work for her to prevent the overwhelm and exhaustion that inevitably comes with having a chronic illness and a
So in today’s episode we get into all of that the things that really helped her move forward and the thing that she really wished that she could tell herself in the past because hindsight is a jerk but if we can help somebody else avoid what we’ve gone through then it’s worth it.
Hi, I’m Avery Thatcher, a former ICU nurse, and this is not your standard stress management podcast where we just focus on those band-aid solutions like the benefits of meditation, mindfulness, and self-care.
You already know that you need some kind of recovery strategy to deal with your stressful life.
Avery – 01:22
But what you may not know are all of the sneaky ways that society, our upbringing and our high achieving nature, and so many other factors contribute to our risk of burnout.
That, my friend, is what we talk about here on this podcast because you can’t do something about a situation that you’re not aware of, right?
So if you’re ready to get out of the pattern of burning out, feeling better, only to burn out again, it’s time for us to shut the light on the truth about burnout.
Alright, well, thank you so much for joining me, Pam DeArmond.
I am super excited to chat with you because not only do you have a story of burnout, that is what we usually talk about here, but you and I have a lot of things in common, which people may not know.
So I am excited to dive into that as well.
Pam – 02:14
Thank you so much for having me.
I’m really excited for this conversation.
Me too, me too.
Avery – 02:19
It’s nice to meet somebody else that can understand and relate to some of the struggles that I experience as somebody that’s managing an online business with a chronic illness and a disability.
So let’s chat a little bit about that.
So when did this kind of surface for you?
What did that look like and where did your diagnosis kind of arise from?
Pam – 02:44
So you know this question is always sort of tricky because looking back through my life I can see I see instances of things throughout my entire life where like oh that was probably a warning sign I should have listened to and maybe paid a little more attention to that but you know I am very much an
implementer a go-getter you know just jump in with both feet and ignore all the signs of whatever and To my own detriment.
So fast forward to 2016, I was, well, am still a mom of two boys that I homeschooled and I was also in a caregiver role at that time.
And it was a lot of stress and a lot of appointments and a lot of just All the things and I was outsourcing absolutely nothing I was doing absolutely everything for everyone and it was too much and I kept having these episodes where I would just be completely non-functional on the weekend
like I would hold it together during week and then I would absolutely crash on the weekend and my husband would A list of keywords relevant to topics that
Well, and I should also mention my least favorite part is I did go and see my physician at the time who was like, oh, it’s just anxiety or you’re just depressed.
You have so much going on.
Pam – 04:36
Just, you know, here’s this antidepressant.
And I was like, no, that is not what’s happening.
And I know I looking back, yes, that was some of what was happening, but it was definitely not everything that was happening.
So at the end of 2016, um, I think it was September, I got sick.
My husband and I went out to eat.
I ended up with E. coli, which I do not recommend for anyone.
It was absolutely atrocious.
Pam – 05:07
I was very, very ill. Lots of antibiotics to save my life basically, but pretty much wiped me out and I’ve never been the same since.
And then at that point, then I was completely non-functional.
throughout the week, just I mean, dragging simplest tasks would require an hour sleep afterward.
I mean, it was just very, very dark time in my life.
And then it was trying to figure out what in the world was happening, and all of those things.
And so then I got diagnosed formally with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue in 2017. And I thought my life was over.
Honestly, I cried my way home from The doctor’s office thinking this is it, this is my life now and turns out I was wrong about that which I’m thankful for but it felt very scary at the time.
Avery – 06:01
I can totally relate to a lot of the things in your story and something that we talk about often here on this podcast is that hindsight is a jerk because we can look back and see those warning signs now we’re just like oh that sucks uh and you’re definitely not alone I can guarantee the person
listening to this right now is nodding their head and they’re like yep that’s me I pushed through all of those warning signs and then Make it through to the weekend and kind of crash for the entire time.
And although it’s not the same as with chronic fatigue syndrome, there’s still some crash for some people as well.
The thing that I just wanted to dig into a little bit is I was also diagnosed with chronic fatigue syndrome and I remember going through the stages of grief pretty significantly because the first one hardcore was denial.
I was like, nope, that’s not me.
I don’t have chronic fatigue syndrome.
Multiple speakers – 07:00
There’s too many other things going on.
Avery – 07:02
And the more that I learned about this, the more that I learned that the name of this diagnosis changes depending on which corner of the world that you’re in.
And so the other term common term for it is called myalgic encephalomyelitis and I now introduce it as that instead and that’s a personal preference of mine because I feel like it summarizes things more and it doesn’t just discount it because if you say hey I’ve got chronic fatigue syndrome people
are like oh you’re just tired all the time but there’s also Akes and pains, flu symptoms, headaches, migraines, brain fog like we were chatting about before we started recording which I would love to get into when we talk about what you’re doing now.
There’s so many other aspects to it and I think that especially even as high achievers, if we, words are so powerful and if we sit in a diagnosis that is something like chronic fatigue syndrome that limits it to just the fatigue piece, We can even start to gaslight ourselves to ignore the other
Pam – 08:09
Oh, yes, absolutely.
And you’re totally right.
I mean, when people hear chronic fatigue, they’re like, oh, we’ll just rest.
Okay, that really doesn’t do it for me, but okay.
Avery – 08:22
Like, I have learned that there is a huge difference between being tired and being fatigued.
Sleep will not fix the fatigue.
Pam – 08:33
Avery – 08:33
It doesn’t really touch it.
So yeah, it’s just been this huge learning curve.
So were you working during that period?
Pam – 08:44
I was not.
I was, well, you know, I mean, full-time homeschooling is kind of like a full-time job.
I just wasn’t getting paid for what I was doing.
But so yes, I mean, I was You know, teaching both of my kids, I was caregiving, and then I was also doing some fun, like, side hustles at the time.
Like, you know, my husband was the sole, you know, income, but I would do side hustles, eBay selling and stuff like that for, you know, just extra spending money, Christmas, you know, just the homeschool materials that we needed, that kind of thing.
So I was constantly doing things.
I just wasn’t on anyone’s payroll while I was doing it, which, Help because then I didn’t have that pressure outside, but I put way more pressure on myself than anyone else has ever done.
Pam – 09:39
So I’m not really sure that, you know, my friend tells me that I have a mean Pam that lives in my head.
And she said, she dictates all the things to me.
And that’s pretty much me and Pam’s the dictator.
Avery – 09:53
I feel like just because you get a diagnosis doesn’t mean that you’re high achievers.
It’s like, okay, I guess we rest now.
It’s like, oh no, let’s do this.
Like bring it.
We got to do more things.
So how did you find balance with that high achiever that was completely out of whack with what your body was telling you needed?
Pam – 10:17
Well, I think I had to, Um, I, it wasn’t a choice for me because I mean, I was not functional for almost a year and, you know, looking back at that now of what I’m capable of doing now, it’s like, it blows my mind.
Um, because I, like I said earlier, I literally thought my life was over.
So I really had to work on, on that inner voice, which is still a work in progress, but I started seeing a therapist.
I started really kind of digging into a lot of things.
Um, a lot of mindset things, a lot of, you know, um, why do I feel like I need to fix it for everyone?
Why did I find myself in this position where I’m burnt out trying to fix all the things with people around me?
And, you know, so that, that has been a multi-year kind of work in progress.
Pam – 11:11
Um, but I had to come to acceptance of my situation and say, I’m sorry, I can’t I can’t do this for you.
I’m sorry I can’t take on this responsibility anymore.
I should never should have had this responsibility to begin with.
You know, so really learning how to set very firm boundaries for myself, for my family, was huge for me for accepting and then just really getting down to what was really important and Then I could focus my high achieving mentality on the most important things and that was freeing to me.
Avery – 11:58
That is one of the key points that we focus on in the Flow State membership is coming up with that clarity of like what actually matters.
Pam – 12:08
Avery – 12:08
What do you actually want your time and your focus to be on?
So tell me, Pam, what is your focus on now?
Pam – 12:15
So lately my focus is building my business and still my kids, but I have also sort of put aside some negative thought patterns that I had about my children as well.
I’m outsourcing much of our homeschool experience, so I’m not teaching anymore on those things.
Hold on just second.
Avery – 12:46
I am so sorry.
Working from home and you homeschool.
So you’re good.
So start that sentence again.
Pam – 12:55
Now the brain fog is going to kick in.
So what was I saying?
We were talking about out-schooling.
Yeah, that’s right.
Pam – 13:02
Out-schooling your homeschooling.
So I have started outsourcing home-schooling where I’m not doing nearly as much of the teaching, My youngest son does a virtual program for most of his subjects.
And then, you know, I take over other things where he needs me to.
My oldest is pretty independent, but we work on a few things together as well.
But like I said, I tried to find solutions to remove myself from being the main provider of their education.
So that has opened up a tremendous amount of time in my schedule That I have been able to build my business which has been really exciting for me and I have found a lot of healing and a lot of purpose in starting something that is absolutely mine and has nothing to do with taking care of anyone else
Pam – 13:58
or doing anything for other people.
Avery – 14:01
Absolutely, and tell me does it feel selfish?
Pam – 14:07
A little bit of that feeling but honestly no because I think that the work that I’ve done with my therapist before starting my business has helped me get to that point of no this is not selfish this is life-giving and this helps me show up differently for my family for my friends And for myself,
Avery – 14:30
So I was smiling and cheering and clapping the entire time while Pam was saying that because I think there’s so much fear when somebody is trying to work with their high achiever and say like, okay, well, if I stopped doing this for everybody else, I’m being selfish.
And even though that may be the internal dialogue initially, you realize how much better you can show up for the people that matter when you do that.
Pam – 15:00
And for my kids, they are seeing a side of me that they have never seen before.
They are like, what happened to you?
And they were not happy at first, I will tell you, because they were used to mom being right here for every moment of every day.
And the fact that I would say, I’m sorry, we’re going to work on this during this time, then I’m going to work, then I will be available after I’m done with this project, You know, it took some getting used to and there was some tears and some moments of, I hate this, you’re a terrible mom.
That was the teenager, you know, typical teenager statement.
But now it’s like, oh, you know, this is pretty amazing what mom is doing.
And it’s, you know, it’s teaching them much healthier ways of managing life and, you know, and what’s okay in a relationship and what’s really healthy in a relationship.
Avery – 15:59
I love that.
So much of what we bring to adulthood is what was modeled for us when we were younger.
So look at you, you’re a cycle breaker.
I always round things off for the person that’s listening right now.
If they only get one thing from this episode, what do you want it to be?
Pam – 16:24
I think, Don’t be afraid to set those boundaries, to listen to your body.
Your body is giving you the warning signals.
And I don’t think as Western women, especially, we are not good at listening to what our bodies are telling us.
And if we can really dial in and even just start with like that deep breathing and focusing on just the breath, right?
And just Okay, what am I feeling?
Where am I feeling it?
Pam – 16:56
And then letting that branch out from there, and then setting the boundaries, noticing how our bodies react in situations, and then putting up the boundary and being like, nope, we’re not going to go there today, or I’m not going to allow this to influence me anymore, or I’m not going to put myself
in the situation.
And then, you know, just moving forward with You know, the knowledge that by putting the boundaries in place, listening to what our bodies are telling us, that we are going to be much healthier in every aspect of our life when we do that.
Avery – 17:30
That was so well said.
And I think it reiterates what a lot of people highlight as their thing to remember.
So if you have continued to ignore your body’s red flags, maybe this time, slow down, just listen a little bit more.
Pam – 17:47
Don’t wait to end up like me where you are completely knocked flat and you have to face it.
Maybe that’s what it took for me, but don’t make it be that for you.
Avery – 18:01
I love that.
Well, thank you so much, Pam.
This was a beautiful conversation.
I know that a lot of people will be able to relate to it and I know that I certainly did.
So tell people where they can find out more about you.
Pam – 18:16
The easiest place to find me is on Facebook.
I have a Facebook group called Course Design Simplified and I am a designer and I work primarily with coaches and other service providers to provide graphic design for them.
So I go live in my group weekly and I’m in there just about every day talking to people so that’s the easiest place to find me.
Also on my website, pamdrmancreative.com.
Avery – 18:47
And we’ll link to all of those things in the show notes as well.
Thank you so much again, Pam.
I really appreciate your openness and your vulnerability here today.
Thank you for having me, Avery.
I really enjoyed our conversation today.
Hey hey, do not press that skip button yet.
Avery – 19:04
Yes, this is the end of the episode, but I still have something else I think you’re really gonna like.
I know, you’re already an expert at setting goals that push you out of your comfort zone.
Let’s be real, you’re a high achiever after all.
But how often do you sabotage yourself on the way to achieving those goals?
Perfectionism, procrasti-planning, over-committing, holding yourself to a double standard.
All of these things can sabotage our progress by either slowing it down or making it impossible for us to achieve our goals.
Like we talk about so often on this podcast, awareness of what’s causing the issue is the first step.
Avery – 19:40
So take that first step by going to thetruthaboutburnout.com slash quiz to take our free quiz to discover your self-sabotage style.
And of course, I won’t leave you stuck.
Once you complete the quiz and discover your primary self-sabotage style, I’ll follow up with an email giving you ideas about what to do about it so that it stops holding you back.
Go to thetruthaboutburnout.com slash quiz to get started.
That’s it for now, until next week.
In this episode of The Truth About Burnout as we engage in a candid conversation with Pam DeArmon, a high-achieving entrepreneur who has navigated the challenges of chronic illness while building her own business. Pam shares her journey, insights, and strategies for managing time, setting boundaries, and thriving as a female entrepreneur, all while dealing with fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue.
Pam DeArmon is a homeschooling mom of two who embarked on her design business journey in 2021 after a five-year battle with a fibromyalgia diagnosis. She specializes in helping successful female coaches design coaching and digital course materials, enabling them to extend their reach and create multiple income streams without feeling overwhelmed.
Pam’s story is one of resilience and transformation, demonstrating that it’s possible to overcome significant health challenges and build a thriving business. As a caregiver, homeschooling mom, and chronic illness warrior, Pam brings a unique perspective to the podcast, sharing valuable insights on managing time, setting boundaries, and thriving as a female entrepreneur. Pam DeArmon’s journey is a testament to the strength of the human spirit and the power of determination and self-care in the face of adversity.
[02:34] Diagnosis and Its Impact: Pam discusses her diagnosis of fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue, shedding light on the challenges she faced and the emotional impact of her health condition.
[05:50] Emotional Coping: The conversation delves into how Pam managed the emotional challenges and fears that accompanied her diagnosis, highlighting the importance of acceptance and resilience.
[08:33] Balancing Responsibilities: Pam talks about balancing her roles as a homeschooling mom and caregiver while managing chronic illness and the significance of setting firm boundaries.
[11:47] Outsourcing and Business Building: Pam shares her journey of transitioning from full-time homeschooling to outsourcing and building her own business in 2021, leading to personal growth and empowerment.
[15:59] Modeling Healthy Life Management: Pam emphasizes how her choices have positively influenced her children’s understanding of healthy boundaries and life management.
[16:12] Words of Wisdom: Pam offers valuable advice for listeners, urging them to listen to their bodies, set boundaries, and prioritize self-care to avoid burnout.