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Topic: Serious burnout - what worked for you

16 posts, 0 answered
  1. AliMa
    AliMa avatar
    6 posts
    16 September 2021
    I have been feeling burnt out for a long time and finally hit the wall a few weeks ago. I had/have nothing left in the tank. I went to my GP and she gave me 2 weeks off work. She told me just to rest and to do nothing apart from watch TV, sleep, and perhaps work on something creative. At first I felt ok (apart from feeling guilty for not being at work, I love my job) but after a while I found myself back to feeling the same - super stressed and exhausted. I went back to see her today. She said that the 2 weeks off wasn't enough and that I am in a crisis state of high stress and that I am still not fit for work. She also said I need to be careful that my burnout doesn't turn into depression, which obviously concerned me. She has given me another 2 weeks off and prescribed me 1 weeks worth of diazepam to see if I can start to feel less stressed and anxious, and to help me see things more clearly so I can make some decisions about next steps. She also suggested that I see a psychologist but not right now - that I am too stressed at the moment and that now is not the time to work on strategies etc to address the stressors. To perhaps give that a few more weeks. I thought that was interesting as my instinct is to read up on burnout and stress to help me make sense of how I am feeling and to try and start to put in place strategies for the stressors I can control, but on the other hand, I see what she is saying in that I might be in too fragile a state to do that well now. I guess I am posting to hear from others with experience of serious burnout (especially those that have perfectionist tendencies) as to what worked for them and how they found their way forward. Any advice appreciated.
    2 people found this helpful
  2. missep123
    Community Champion
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    missep123 avatar
    786 posts
    16 September 2021 in reply to AliMa

    Hi AliMa,

    I hear you! 100%! I am someone with perfectionist tendencies and in my last role I definitely experienced burnout.

    Every morning I would keep waking up to check what time it was and how much more time I had left to sleep (which disrupted my sleep), I kept ruminating about what I had to do the next day, I was eating more, always tired and didn't want to socialise (had to force myself).

    It's hard to admit when you are experiencing burnout because for me I didn't want to be seen as anything less than a perfect work. Except we are human and not robots! I realised that everyone is so focused on themselves they really aren't judging you for needing to recharge your batteries.

    I think it's so important that you love your job because for me a lot of my burnout was coming from a high-paced workplace but also incredibly stressful work.

    What worked for me is to ask for support from anyone I felt comfortable; friends and family. I also found that it was so important to have support or open communication with your boss. It was so easy for me to just say yes to everything or look like I was doing fine but I found it so hard to admit that I was crumbling.

    I hope that is helpful, in saying that I really wanted to post on your thread to show you that you are not alone!

  3. Gambit87
    Gambit87 avatar
    697 posts
    17 September 2021 in reply to AliMa

    Hi AliMa,

    Welcome to the forums!

    Wow - Your post is so relatable!

    I too find it very difficult to admit when im burnt out. I'm one of those people who will work day in and day out year after year because I felt like I needed to be working, didnt want to let the team down and I would feel terribly guilty if I wasn't working. I didn't know what to do with myself if I had more than 2 days off.

    I suffered from severe burnout and my psych recommended I take 2 weeks off work. I did that, but I couldn't just sit around and do nothing all day, so what I did was have 1 outing every day. I would go to the Zoo one day then the next day I would go to the botanical gardens on the next day I would spend hours plane spotting etc etc. After 2 weeks I actually felt relaxed and recharged.

    With the help of my psych, I'm able to recognise when im feeling burnt out and take steps to address it. I now feel ok taking a few days off every once in a while to recharge when I need to.

    I would encourage you to see a psych asap, they are a great help.

    All the best! you are not alone here :)

  4. geoff
    Life Member
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    geoff avatar
    15113 posts
    17 September 2021 in reply to AliMa

    Hello AliMa, and a warm welcome to the site.

    Yes, I know what burnout is like and happened to lose 6 months of work in front of me as I was self employed and know exactly what you're saying as do those above me.

    How do you determine what stage the doctor tells you that you need help, and I have full support for my doctors because when you are stressed, that's exactly the time you need to see a psychologist, if you wait, then half the problems won't be an issue any more until something triggers you back or you forget about why you actually became feeling like this, so the medication she has given you for a week can be addictive and it's only putting a bandaid on the problem, not solving it, so all of this needs to be discussed with a psychologist.

    You can also make an appointment with another doctor who understands what any type of depression involves in affecting somebody, then they book you in to see a psych on a 'mental health plan', this entitles you to 10 Medicare paid sessions, please consider this because when you return to work the whole problem may begin once again, hit it while it needs to be.

    Take care.

    Geoff.

  5. chadicha
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    chadicha avatar
    20 posts
    19 September 2021 in reply to AliMa

    Hey AliMa, I've had stressful, overwhelming thoughts so much recently to the point I can't even act, so I can fully resonate with what your saying. My ways of dealing with this won't exactly be your ways, but just some food for thought:

    • Fully immerse your mind in what you love eg. watching art videos, music, learning a new skill, having meaningful conversations with people, opening up about how your feeling it happens to best of us.
    • Getting out in nature alone can be very regenerative and healing if you allow it. Sometimes I tend to overthink when walking, not always but if I notice I listen to music.
    • Connect with family and your roots. Go back in photo albums, dive into beautiful memories, re-live it especially as a child. Research your culture, watch videos it can be really healing & bring you back to yourself in a sense by shedding thoughts that don't even belong to you.
    • Always remind yourself to come back to this very present moment and re-build from here. Your mind can come up with so many images, stories, ideas of whats going to happen, what others think that aren't even true. Live by each moment. Right here with you now there are no thoughts and stresses just this amazing opportunity you have to connect to yourself, relax, engage in what you love. Thats the only thing thats real.
    • Change your lifestyle. Don't live so much by the whizzes of the world and how fast-paced it is. Slow down, and even if you physically do this, sometimes your mind is in the same dimension as before. Not having coffee, eating organic and cutting out sugars helps calm your mind crazily its noticeable. Its good to keep this up for a while to notice the change and I always have either one or the other in a day if I can't resist. Delete social media for a while!
    • Self-care: candles, self- massage with oil, spirituality & appreciating how far you've come in life.
    • Step back and notice the bigger picture. Sometimes I get so caught up on the details any little task I don't do gets to me & then I won't do it as I get into a spiral. When you step back and realise the grand picture that it really doesn't even matter, life is so much more than this you can't help but relax a bit more.

    Really, high anxiety and stress is calling you to change something in your life, whether its how your perceiving your duties or the fact maybe your not placing yourself and your health, wellbeing and joy as a priority. Don't take life too seriously, rather take yourself, your health and joy serious.

    2 people found this helpful
  6. AliMa
    AliMa avatar
    6 posts
    22 September 2021 in reply to missep123
    Thank you. I am definitely starting to do these things. I think I just need to do them for longer to feel the change. I like your last sentence about thinking about all of this as a signal to create change in my life. It just feels overwhelming and that I have so far to go to feel well again.
  7. AliMa
    AliMa avatar
    6 posts
    22 September 2021 in reply to missep123
    Thank you, that's very kind.
  8. AliMa
    AliMa avatar
    6 posts
    22 September 2021 in reply to Gambit87
    Thank you
  9. AliMa
    AliMa avatar
    6 posts
    22 September 2021 in reply to geoff
    Thank you. I think you make a great point in that I don't want to go back to work and for the same thing to happen. I feel a lot of pressure to use my time off well to avoid this, which in turn is probably making me anxious. I have had a first appointment with a psychologist and she just said that taking time off is the right thing to do and that I will know when the time is right to go back. I am not convinced of this but hopefully I can recognise when I am at this point.
  10. Ellow369
    Ellow369 avatar
    5 posts
    23 September 2021 in reply to AliMa

    Hi dear,

    First of all, I am so sorry that you are going through this. I know how horrible it feels as I have been through the same thing a few times now.

    I can relate as I also love my job, I am good at it and anything that would not allow me to perform in it is very distressing.

    My advice to you is to see a psychologist if you feel you are ready for it. Getting through this on your own is a huge task and the more support you have the better.

    Also try to practice self care, your body and mind is asking for it. Be kind to yourself... Burning out is your body and mind telling you that something has to change and that you deserve to look after yourself instead of looking at what is wrong with you and trying to fix it.

    At the end of the day your health comes first, without it, you would not be able to do the job you love.

    Thank you for sharing your experience and I truely hope that you get through this phase and find your healthy self.

    Take care dear

    1 person found this helpful
  11. missep123
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    missep123 avatar
    786 posts
    24 September 2021 in reply to AliMa

    Hi AliMa,

    We are definitely here for you! Please keep us updated. You are definitely not alone!

    1 person found this helpful
  12. anxiousqueen
    anxiousqueen avatar
    5 posts
    24 September 2021 in reply to AliMa

    Hi AliMa,

    Reading your words right now, they are so relatable to me!

    I too am burnt out right now and am currently early into a break from work. Perfectionism is something i struggle with as well, so this really stood out to me too.

    I honestly don't have much to offer at the moment being in a similar spot myself but i thought I'd reach out so you know you're not alone!

    Sending you my best,

    ~ anxiousqueen

  13. AliMa
    AliMa avatar
    6 posts
    24 September 2021 in reply to anxiousqueen

    Sending my best to you too! What are you doing to fill your time? I started by making a list (couldn't help myself!) of the things that I should do (e.g. meditation, exercise) but that just made me feel worse so now I am just trying to be kind to myself and listen to my body. It's hard though. I have been thinking a lot about perfectionism knowing that it can often cause burnout and I know this is something that I will need to really work on going forward. It's nice to know there are so many other people in a similar place - although I wouldn't wish this on anyone! Take care.

    anxiousqueen said:

    Hi AliMa,

    Reading your words right now, they are so relatable to me!

    I too am burnt out right now and am currently early into a break from work. Perfectionism is something i struggle with as well, so this really stood out to me too.

    I honestly don't have much to offer at the moment being in a similar spot myself but i thought I'd reach out so you know you're not alone!

    Sending you my best,

    ~ anxiousqueen

  14. smallwolf
    Community Champion
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    smallwolf avatar
    5623 posts
    25 September 2021 in reply to AliMa
    Hi and welcome. I want to address something in your initial post... I had time off work a few years ago when things got bad for me. I had about 6 weeks off followed by a gradual return to work. I had or have perfectionist issues as well and working on this. Not sure of your situation but I was able to go to parents place a day a week and this provided a distraction that was helpful. I would also use apps on my phone to help with issues associated with work and guilt. I don't necessarily want to go into the details associated with the guilty. The apps on used was virtual hope box. It can be a real struggle when on your own.
    1 person found this helpful
  15. anxiousqueen
    anxiousqueen avatar
    5 posts
    26 September 2021 in reply to AliMa
    AliMa said:

    Sending my best to you too! What are you doing to fill your time? I started by making a list (couldn't help myself!) of the things that I should do (e.g. meditation, exercise) but that just made me feel worse so now I am just trying to be kind to myself and listen to my body. It's hard though. I have been thinking a lot about perfectionism knowing that it can often cause burnout and I know this is something that I will need to really work on going forward. It's nice to know there are so many other people in a similar place - although I wouldn't wish this on anyone! Take care.

    anxiousqueen said:

    Hi AliMa,

    Reading your words right now, they are so relatable to me!

    I too am burnt out right now and am currently early into a break from work. Perfectionism is something i struggle with as well, so this really stood out to me too.

    I honestly don't have much to offer at the moment being in a similar spot myself but i thought I'd reach out so you know you're not alone!

    Sending you my best,

    ~ anxiousqueen

    Yes! This is honestly my biggest worry for when i do get back into work -> i need to try and better manage my perfectionism moving forward!

    I'm a week into my break now and have been finding it hard to know what to do! However i have been really enjoying watching content creators on YouTube again -> i forgot how much watching vlog style videos from people i like helps me out!

    It's interesting how the opened up time i have to move in right now has made me more in-tune with my body and mind. So I'm just trying to address what kind of self care i need and when. Each day varies a little right now.

    I've also been listening to music a lot more again & am spending a little more time with my Mum & Brother too.

    Moving forward i want to aim to keep more of a balance in this way too! While it may not change a lot for me right now, finding a balance is still important & this is different for everyone!

    ~ anxiousqueen

  16. geoff
    Life Member
    • Awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    • A member of beyondblue's blueVoices community
    geoff avatar
    15113 posts
    26 September 2021 in reply to AliMa

    Hello AliMa, people can be told by other people and/or psychologists/doctors that meditation, exercise is a great way to start your journey to overcome how you are feeling, but not everyone can relate to this, I certainly didn't because I didn't want to do any exercise and when you feel like this, then how can you possibly do it.

    With meditation and as I'm a non believer, I couldn't meditate, because to me, it's like praying for something that hasn't happened, and I know other people will disagree with me, so be it, but that's how I feel.

    Being in a state where perfectionism means a great deal as it could indicate an illness that needs to be diagnosed by a doctor, as I'm not qualified to say so, but I would type that word in your search browser or perhaps the search bar at the top of this page.

    Understanding perfectionism requires a plateau of different responses where some psychologists can cope with while others may not be trained in this particular area, as my last psych had no idea what it meant or why I should take any medication at all, I only had a few sessions with him because he just couldn't relate to what I was trying to say.

    By your psych saying that you will know when it's the right time to go back, leaves a lot in between that needs to be discussed.

    Take care.

    Geoff.

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