What does burnout look like? And how I’m doing my best to fight through it.

Some folks have a problem with the DSM getting routine content checks and updates. The DSM or the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5-TR) is a manual DSM-5-TR that details “the standard classification of mental disorders used by mental health professionals in the United States”. It is what helps psychologists, psychiatrists, therapists, and counselors to decide how to diagnose their patients and then develop plans of action to help them reenter and merely cope with the intricacies of society.

I, however, feel it is a just and necessary exercise for the standard of mental health to be continuously evaluated, to change, and for nuance to be added to its lauded pages. After all, since the study of man first began, technology and globalization have developed at a rapid pace and with that swift advancement comes societal shifts in how we interact with each other, the technology, and/or maybe our abstinence from that advancement altogether.

Thus, the way that we feel about these shifts will continue to affect us or moods and our bodies.

This was a very long, and possibly heady, way to say – I’m burnt out y’all. Completely, freaking fried. Gone. I got absolutely nothing left in the tank. That’s right. Your once positive, upbeat, “the sun will come out tomorrow”, or at least your very realest friend has got nothing left to give…and I refuse to give my nothing.

S/O to TILTED S2: EPISODE 2 the podcast for the graphic because, whew! This is how I feel every single day.

It happened in April. Sometime in April my whole body shut down. I couldn’t move, think, cook… I couldn’t do anything. I had pushed myself through as much as I could. looking for positivity, peace, guidance, and hoping to bestow those feelings on others even when I didn’t fully have anything to give. I did it because, if I’m being honest, I didn’t see anyone else making a concerted effort to do that in the world. Not that I blame anyone. Since the start of the pandemic the powers that be have been acting like nothing is happening and if we just all acted normal we could pretend that we ALL COLLECTIVELY aren’t suffering. It didn’t surprise me in the least bit that people bought into it but what did hurt was to watch people double down, dig their heels in, and use this general upheaval to deposit more on their fellow man. But between having to step away from my job, start my masters program, move 4 times in a year, finish my maters program, keep this and my other website up and running, and finding a job, all while trying to be a light to others – I was officially tapped out.

The HelpGuide article Burnout Prevention and Treatment says that some of the personality traits of the people who feel burnout are perfectionistic tendencies and high-achieving or Type A personalities. They way that the lifestyle causes of burnout are working too much, without enough time for socializing or relaxing and not getting enough sleep. I know thats true because that’s how I feel. I can’t sleep even though I’m exhausted. I eat what I want but not as good as I once was. I have only the motivation I need to make it through the day. I realized after seeing a thread somewhere on social media that listed all my physical and emotional feelings (…or lack thereof) that I might need to reconsider some things. So here were are and we are raring to make a change.

Honestly, I am not sure where to start. All of my usual coping mechanisms are good at helping the time pass and getting me over slumps but the general feeling of uneasiness is still present.

As you can see from this graphic, stress and burnout are not the same. So, the ways that I combat the two are going to have to be a little bit different – with my fight against burnout being more calculated.

I will, however, be taking a trip soon so that I can separate myself from where I was physically, spiritually, and emotionally. This will help me hopefully to mark an end in this era. On that trip, and in the coming days and weeks afterward, I intend to be VERY intentional about working towards bettering myself, looking for and embracing joy daily, and I will work not to overextend myself when I feel that possibility beginning to present itself. Hopefully this will help.

I will do my best to work within my social, familial, and professional circles to find folks who support the work that I am doing for myself. Now, I will not act like that will be easy because I know that a lot of folks out there will be skeptical of this type of accountability seeking, mostly because they are in the way that I am. However, I have also made it my mission to support others in the way that I am going too. I will also start actually working out again and maintaining a better sleep schedule, as mentioned in this Mayo Clinic article on overcoming job burnout. I do believe with this new regimen along with a release of endorphins I might be able to overcome and keep another bout of burnout at bay.

Now, I know this won’t be easy, because I hate to maintain a regulated schedule but if I can find a way to make this exciting, while adding at least one fun weekend/friend event a week to the schedule, I can do this.

What about you? Have you ever been burnt out? Please note that this is not the same as depression. I have felt that too. The level of apathy is different and I have compared the symptoms extensively. Anyways, you tell me. How do you feel when you’re burnt out? And how did you climb out of it?

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