They Call It Burnout

Updated: Jun 12

Burnout is often attributed to long work hours or overwork and it is often treated with a mental health day, a digital detox, or a vacation.


My lived experience was very different.


In 2021, I started suffering from a feeling of complete depletion and exhaustion. I had no words to explain it at the time but now I do. My research on this condition led to descriptions that were much more aligned with my lived experience and that of others I knew who were also experiencing burnout.


Here are two simple explanations of why burnout happens:

"Burnout is what happens when you try to avoid being human for too long.", Michael Gunger.


"Burnout is what happens when you have faced such a high level of stress that your body literally shuts down and just cannot accommodate any more challenges.", Deedee Cummings M.Ed.


Burnout is a bone-tired, soul-tired, heart-tired, kind of exhaustion and depletion. It takes you down and it takes a lot more than a mental health day or vacation to feel whole again.


Given what we have all collectively experienced in the last two and a half years, I believe the conditions were ripe for more people to be vulnerable to this condition. I believe it is important that we understand it, speak about it and support each other in meaningful ways to address it appropriately.


am sharing my experience through a poem as a little step to normalize conversations on mental health and burnout. I call it "They Call It Burnout"



THEY CALL IT BURNOUT


My tank of emotion was empty.

My well of creativity, dry.

My decision-making had gone blunt.

There was no sparkle left in my eyes.


They call it burnout.


Restless nights were filled with endless mind chatter.

Yet my brain felt devoid of oxygen.


Tired days were beckoning sleep.

Seemed like my motivation had gone on vacation.


They call it burnout.


Every activity was like a trudge through mud.

Every new request, a 20-pound weight added to an already unliftable dumbbell.


The prickly sensation of anxiety covered every inch of my body.

Simple joys were hard to come by.

Nothing I did felt good enough.

I could only meet my own disappointment with a sigh.


They call it burnout.


These feelings were unfamiliar and scary.

A freefall - with nowhere to land.

Do I keep this feeling a secret

Or is it ok to ask for a hand?


They call it burnout.


Slowing down, surrendering, and reconnecting with myself

is what helped me get through.

If you are experiencing burnout,

With faith in yourself and a little help, know that you will get through too.


AND YES, IT IS OK TO ASK FOR HELP.


~~~~




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