For the longest time, Lauren Stahl lived her life according to the traditional definition of success, one that those around her seemed to appreciate. After graduating from Tufts University, she landed a coveted job on Wall Street at UBS. In one sense, she had made it. And while that job gave her the money and prestige her ego craved initially, she soon knew that something wasn't right.
The eating disorder she developed during her college years as a means of control followed her to New York City. Lacking a connection with her inner self and turning instead to external means to fill the void, she began to struggle with drug and alcohol addictions as well. Those behaviors became her way of life, and lasted for three years until she realized what she needed most was to ask for help.
"Burnout for me is hitting that point of just spiritual, emotional and physical bankruptcy," Stahl told The Huffington Post. "The way that manifested itself was in a lot of pain and a lot of suffering. Addiction is a big part of my story -- alcohol, drugs, an eating disorder. I denied so much of myself for such a long period of time."
In the fall of 2012, when Stahl sought the help she needed and initiated the start of her recovery process, she began to realize that the destructive coping mechanisms she used for so long did not define her as a person or require a permanent place in her life. Stahl began practicing yoga and meditating daily, and eventually found her inspiration to create SPARKITE, an online company that helps users not only discover what they want out of life, but also hold them accountable to working toward their goals each day.
For Lauren Stahl's full story, see the video above.
This video is part of a series highlighting the causes and consequences of burnout, and the ways ordinary people are rejecting our culture of overwork and reclaiming their lives. To share your story, email email@example.com.
Videographer/editor: Amber Genuske
Graphics: Noelle Campbell