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Crash and Burn, Baby !

May 11, 2017 burnout
Diagnosis 'burnout'.

What I have been trying to prevent by taking a year off, has finally happened.
My doctor tells me I have a burnout.

But don’t worry, this isn’t going to be a sad post. In fact, I feel just fine.
Or, rather, I don’t feel. So, I can’t be unhappy. Or sad.

But, let me start from the beginning.
A couple of days ago, I went to see my doctor. I had been feeling exhausted for months (years ?), I dreaded going to work, I had the feeling I just couldn’t do it anymore. I even had to take some days off.

Anyway. I was a bit (a lot) anxious about talking to my doctor ; she’s one of those people that look as if they haven’t been sick a day in their lives. Somewhat to my surprise however, she said almost right away that I had a burnout, and that she had been seeing many people with the same symptoms lately. (Way to go, society !)

I’m home until the end of the month, and I’m supposed to contact some psychologists for a talk … which I will do, but I’m not expecting much.

Since I was curious about how ‘professionals’ define burnouts, I decided to have a look around on the internet. All -I- know, is that burnouts are work-related, that it takes a while to get over one, and that it usually involves a lot of talking (yuk).

Here is a list of symptoms and some info, collected from various (Dutch) websites (*) :

  • Stress is a natural reaction to perceived danger. It prepares us for a ‘fight or flight’ reaction.
  • There is nothing wrong with having some stress in your life. But stress becomes a problem when it never goes away and takes more from you than you can give. It results in all kinds of physical and emotional problems. Often people ignore these symptoms and assume they will just disappear. In reality, this never happens.
  • Differences between stress & burnout:
    • S : too much commitment   -   B : no commitment
    • S : strong emotions   -   B : dulled emotions
    • S : hyperactivity   -   B : inactivity
  • A burnout is also different from a depression. A burnout is a disturbance in energy ; a depression is a disturbance in mood.
  • A burnout is always job-related, and takes a long time to develop. It happens to people that are committed, dedicated and always ready to help other people.
  • Symptoms
    • exhaustion, no energy left (+)
    • irritability (+)
    • feeling of being lived (+)
    • doubting yourself, unsure, lack of confidence (+)
    • not being able to sleep (+)
    • muscle pains, headache, back pains (+)
    • stomach ache, intestinal problems, lack of appetite, nausea (+/-)
    • weakened immune system
    • heart palpitations, increased blood pressure, high cholesterol
    • inability to relax, restlessness, agitation (+)
    • moody, somber, crying, fear, worrying
    • not being able to enjoy things, lethargic (+)
    • lack of concentration, unable to make decisions, forgetfulness (+)
    • being less efficient, making more mistakes (+)
    • drug abuse (alcohol, smoking, sleeping pills, …)
    • avoiding social contact (+)
    • want to escape work and commitments (+)
    • need for peace and quiet (+)

Yeah … Looking at the list and seeing how many of my current ‘problems’ are on it …
It’s pretty obvious …

(*) Sources & interesting reads (Dutch) :