Road to Recovery – Episode 01

Written by M.

Burn out.
The number of people who have or had a burn out is growing fast.
Think about it, everybody either knows someone who had a burn out, or has been there themselves.
But what do you really know about a burn out? Sure, there are a lot of articles out there that tell about the signs of a burn out. But articles about what it’s like to have a burn out? That number is close to zero.

I think that is part of the reason why there is so little understanding for people with a burn out, because, after all we don’t look sick. This is what I hope to change with my blog. To create more understanding of what we are going through. But I also like to help people with a burn out though this blog. It’s important to know whether or not what you’re feeling is part of the burn out. For instance, at some point it really felt like I might have a heart attack. And I was lying in bed contemplating whether or not I should call for an ambulance. Telling my story won’t be easy, especially since I’m still on this hard way back. But if I can only comfort one person and let him/her know that everything will turn out OK, all of this will be worth it.

I just started to cry. And I couldn’t stop crying and I was gasping for air.

First of it’s good to know how you can recognize a burn out. There are several signs that can indicate a burnout. I won’t get to deep into this, since there are hundreds of site that already do this. I will just list them. If you recognize these symptoms, please go to your doctor and get help. A burn out is not something you can get out of on your own.

  • Exhaustion
  • Lack of Motivation
  • Frustration, Cynicism and other negative emotions
  • Absence of positive emotions
  • Cognitive problems
  • Slipping job performance
  • Being preoccupied with work… when you’re not at work
  • Interpersonal problems at home and at work
  • Generally Decreased Satisfaction
  • (Stress related) Health problems
  • Excessive workload
  • Catastrophic thoughts
  • Lack of support or rewards
  • Unhealthy lifestyle choices
  • Difficulty sleeping
  • Sexual problems

A burn out isn’t something you get from one day to the other. It’s a slow process, and you might not even notice that it’s even happening. My burn out has been building for about nine months, and that’s just the time I started noticing. It could be that it’s been building for years. I felt like I had less energy, had an excessive workload, cognitive problems and just didn’t feel happy anymore. At one point I just had to take a break and didn’t feel like a weekend get-away would be enough. So I booked a vacation for a week and the weeks leading up to that vacation I was really living toward it. If I could just get though these weeks, then I could relax for a week at a sunny beach. And off course, my vacation wasn’t what I needed it to be. And because I was already so far down the road towards the burn out, I couldn’t just lay the negative away and enjoy the positive. The fact that my suitcase didn’t make it to my final destination at the same time I did, made me wrack.  I got so emotional, that I already lost a day of my vacation. Add one very frisky old Italian and the first three days were gone and I didn’t even make it to the beach yet. After that I could relax a little better, but when I came back to work, all the rest that I had flew right out the window. The first day already felt like a really long week. So when my train did ride on my second day back, I just started to cry. And I couldn’t stop crying and I was gasping for air. Right there on the train station, surrounded by strangers who gave me strange and concerned looks. That was the moment I knew, I can’t go on like this. If I’m crying about something so insignificant, something needs to change. They actually needed to change months ago and it’s time to come into action.

So far for now, till next time.

Have love,

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