When Burnout Leads to Blindness: My Journey to Recovery

In 2010 I went blind then got married…

My marketing career really got started when I joined an international law firm who supported me through college to get my Marketing Degree and, through hard work and dedication, promoted me up through the ranks culminating in Head Marketing for North America.

It remains the best and worst job I’ve ever had.

This post is about the consequences of burnout, the impact it had on my health, my life, and my business.

The Buildup to Burnout

Things were great until recession took hold in 2008 leading to years of restructuring, redundancies, tighter budgets, and higher expectations.

A merging of departments also put a power-hungry female manager above me and the systematic belittling and bullying that followed took a big toll.

The demands on my time grew, my responsibilities tripled, and combined with the environment of suspicion, fear, and micro-managing it was a melting pot of stress, anxiety and probably quite a bit of depression.

I felt increasingly stressed and overwhelmed, and the physical symptoms soon followed.

Strange smells in my nose, heart palpitations, hair loss, insomnia, and crippling anxiety were all signs I didn’t heed.

On top of all this, we’d just bought our first renovation project home, were getting married, planning our minimoon and honeymoon…everything was changing.

The work stress combined with the personal life changes, along with a complete lack of self-care, zero exercise, and probably a good dose of Pinot Grigio for self-medication…it was bound to end badly.

The Day My World Went Dark

On Easter Weekend in 2010 I was doing some home renovation jobs when I suddenly felt really unwell, smelt strong burning in my nose, and a grey veil fell over my sight.

I found my way into the lounge and, for the first and hopefully last time in my life, told my husband ‘I think I need to go to hospital’.

I just knew something horrible had happened – a stroke was the biggest fear.

We rushed to A&E and, after much examination and mild-panic on my part, I was told that I’d suffered a haemorrhage behind my right eye that had effectively destroyed my macular vision (the vision in the centre of the eye).

At that stage I was completely blind in my right eye, they said some sight would come back, but they couldn’t guarantee how much.

I couldn’t believe this had happened to me.

Recovery and Adjustment

What followed was months of hospital appointments to test the strength of my vascular system, analysing the damage behind the eye, and testing for the physiological cause.

There wasn’t one.

I knew all along it had been caused by a combination of intense stress and a lack of self-care.

I was well and truly burned out – and a part of my body literally exploded.

My vision slowly returned, leaving a black hole in my sight that has eased in recent years but has left a grey patch in my central vision which serves as a daily reminder to take care of my health.

We got married in June and went on our minimoon.

And I did some deep reflection.

I realised the corporate career I’d loved so much was harming my health and I had to leave.

In September I moved to a different firm, and within a year from that left to start my own Marketing Consultancy.

I believe it took me 4 years to fully recover from that burnout because I didn’t seek any help, I didn’t properly rest or focus on recovery, I just kept going.

Lessons Learned

Listen To Your Body.

The body always knows and tells you what you need, it’s up to you whether you listen to it or not.


I used to believe resting was for the weak and lazy! Now I know that deep rest is a part of a healthy life, and the more I rest the better I perform in every area of my life and business.


I’ve completely changed my life in the years since the haemorrhage, including leaving the corporate world for good, starting my own business, quitting alcohol completely, exercising regularly, lots of personal development, and prioritising my self care.

My burnout to blindness experience also has a huge impact on how I manage my own business and how I guide my clients to build and manage theirs too.

Life is for living, and our businesses get to add value to our lives when we structure them to work for us.

A Word Of Caution…

Burnout is a very serious health issue that can have a devastating impact on your life.

We all know it happens in the corporate world, and I’m hopeful that society and culture have forced a shift to care better for people.

But what I’m seeing in the Online Business world is what’s really worrying me.

In this noisy and competitive 24/7 industry, with huge pressure to achieve rapid financial success and a vast amount of dangerous misinformation, I see women all around me suffering the various stages of burnout in their pursuit for a purpose-lead business!

This is why I’m so vocal about building a ‘Peak Performance Business’ – a business built on scaleable systems designed to attract, connect with and convert clients for you – taking the pressure off you as the business owner.

There are such simple things we can all put in place in our business to make it work harder for us, so we can work smarter and take better care of our own health and happiness while growing wildly successful and impactful businesses.

So if you’re a business owner, suffering under the weight of a million little things you feel you have to get done to succeed, or working all the hours for little or no results, book a consult call with me (linked below) and together we’ll come up with some simple steps you can take today to improve the quality of your business and your life.

You don’t have to struggle and you don’t have to do this alone.

Ask for help.

Lotsa luv, Sally xo


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MEET SALLY ODDYBusiness, Marketing & Mindset Mentor

Sally works with soulpreneurs, pouring over 20 years experience into their hearts, minds and businesses.

Passionate about living life on purpose, Sally is all about honouring and accepting the fullness of self.

In-powering her clients to experience life in beautiful, bold, expansive ways is how they create and attract abundance and success into their lives.

Guiding her clients to dive deeply into their vision and mission, Sally shares her aligned approach to building online businesses that have a deeply positive impact in the world.

Sally is a Yorkshire Lass who grew up in 80's South Africa and is on a mission to inspire you to fulfil your dreams and potential in order to create a more in-powered and happy world.

Find out about how to work with Sally privately in her unique Mentorships or in a supportive group setting in The Soulpreneur Success Hub Monthly Membership


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