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What does burnout look like?

(14 Posts)
nearlynermal Fri 13-Sep-19 10:59:49

I'm just so absolutely demoralised and exhausted. I'm keeping going on what feels like the whiff of an oil rag. In my industry, it wouldn't do me any good to use words like MH or depression.

I had a nightmare boss for a year, who has finally been let go, which has helped to some extent. But instead of my energy levels bouncing back I'm still crawling along the bottom.

I'm strong, but I've been sucking it up and keeping going for what feels like years. Has anyone had burnout, and what does it look like, and what did you do about it?

Lemonysherbet Tue 17-Sep-19 06:07:15

Hey op,

How are you feeling now? I've been super close to burn out and it sounds like you're on your way there too. Not much more to say but just put yourself first and make self care your number 1 priority.

swingofthings Tue 17-Sep-19 07:03:17

Sadly, the recovery from a burnout is not instant. I too assumed that the moment I got out of the situation would mean being back to my old safe. How wrong was I! That's the difference between being stressed and going through a proper burnout.

I would say it took me 18 months to feel half myself, but 2 years later, I am still not to the level I was before and I don't think I ever will. I wished I'd got out of it much quicker. I hope you do recover quickly. Make sure to adopt healthy lifestyle choices to help further.

nearlynermal Tue 17-Sep-19 07:38:52

Thank you both. @swingofthings that sounds like a really dark time; I'm sorry you're still feeling the effects.

I have a holiday coming up soon, so am just concentrating on getting through some deadlines and not undermining myself by making mistakes. I've had jobs where I felt like a rock star, but hard to feel good about myself at the moment.

Keeping alcohol consumption low and watching my diet, but not doing enough exercise (I should be working out, but want to run home and burrow into my sofa every night.)

Survivingorthriving Tue 17-Sep-19 07:48:56

Feeling that way is totally understandable but you're making a start on putting yourself first. Try to remember work would replace you in an instant - your friends and family can't and won't. This is what helped me take a step back but it's a long process. Good luck flowers.

666onmyhead Tue 17-Sep-19 07:53:12

I'm knackered most days but think that's just life . Hope you get through this soon.

Lemonysherbet Tue 17-Sep-19 08:23:12

Seconding pp comments work put work first and would replace you, which is why you are always the most important. Speak to someone you can confide it at work, I left it really late and realise if I had spoken up sooner things wouldn't have got as bad as they did

nearlynermal Tue 17-Sep-19 08:48:12

Thanks so much for the comments. I'm curious to know people's experience of the moments when they realised they were out of 'suck it up' territory and into something more serious.

milienhaus Tue 17-Sep-19 08:54:59

I had a rough time about 18 months ago - I was too anxious to do a good job at work any more as I felt so overwhelmed and I knew it which just made me more anxious. Multiple of my managers told me to take some time out - I didn’t but should have. Mental health is health - if you can make it to your holiday then great but if not speak to your GP and get signed out for a week, no one or very few people at least (eg HR) will need to know the reason.

swingofthings Tue 17-Sep-19 09:06:49

Thanks for your kind words. It's a very tough situation because sadly we don't realise how much an effect it has on us until we recover and can compare how we feel.

I think it is especially rough for men and women who are naturally programmed to be resilient. We think we are tough and can cope with everything until it catches us up. In my case, it's my body that sent the signs that it was too much. I started suffering from horrible physical symptoms that led me to many trips to my gp. I knew deep inside it was stress related hence thinking I'd fully recover hence the stress was removed. It's the response to any stress however minor it is that takes a long time to recover from. Our body becomes programmed to the fight or flight response and our body is riddled with adrenalin that takes over, including messing up with our sleep.

Typically, exercise is the best way to deal with it as it helps releasing the adrenalin and feel your up with andorphins. It's amazing how great you feel afterwards when you felt like collapsing with exhaustion before going. I find that short high intense work out are best, for one because they take less of our time. They are also great for losing weight and getting stronger!

cheesenpickle Tue 17-Sep-19 09:08:43

I work with offenders and have done for 22 years. The job and demands have got increasingly more challenging over the years. I was constantly thinking about work, couldn't switch off, checking emails at weekends and whilst on leave. I started to get really anxious, over thinking, catastrophic and worrying about ever decision I made. Sometimes I felt like a rabbit in fog lights and couldn't think straight. I had a few major incidents at work ( not really unusual given who I work with) which tipped me over. I was working at home one day staff called me I got off the phone and just started crying. I spoke to my manager, luckily she was understanding. Got signed off for 3 weeks and am on anti depressants. I'm back at work but it's been a wake up call that I couldn't continue as I was. I had counselling through work which gave me the space to reflect on the job. I've applied and been given a transfer to a non operational role. I've dropped a grade but I couldn't continue as I was. I'm fortunate though there are a lot of downsides to the public sector but there is support for mental health. Its a tough one, all I can say is I carried on and it really did me no favours. I hope you find a way to prevent that.

nearlynermal Tue 17-Sep-19 23:03:59

@milienhaus it is quite tempting to see about getting signed off. Plan A is to try and get another role elsewhere in the firm (although the wheels turn veeery slowly) then tell them I need a couple of weeks’ compassionate/ unpaid/ whatever leave in between to get back on my feet.

@swingofthings I know what you mean about not realising how bad it was until you get better. The physical aspects ring very true. (I hear you about the endorphins. I absolutely have to drag myself to a spin class...)

@cheesenpickle: Respect! I don’t think I’d last a week in a front line profession like yours. I have friends in the emergency services, and their idea of a bad day at work never fails to put mine in perspective (I'm a desk worker.) Glad you’ve managed to dial down the pressure a bit.

Thanks everyone flowers

Chrysanthemum5 Wed 02-Oct-19 15:42:01

Hi all
I found this thread, not sure if people still want to talk about this? I've found the things people have posted to be very helpful for just making me think about things. Last week I reached my limit, and I had to take a few days off, and cancel some things - this thread helped me feel that wasn't a disaster.

nearlynermal Fri 11-Oct-19 08:06:37

Hi Chrysanthemum. Glad you found the thread helpful. Did you take holiday days, or did they give you some time off?

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