I’ve been having some burnout recently. There was an article in Inc. Magazine last week that discussed a study showing that burnout might actually be depression. Personally I’ve found that to be true in small components.
With burnout there exists that same level of apathy and exhaustion when faced with impending tasks and deadlines and the same hopeless feeling that what you are doing isn’t getting you anywhere.
These are minor though, as I view depression as a serious manifestation of these issues as well intense sadness and suicidal ideation and I feel like I have a good handle on what separates the two having experienced both.
What I want to talk about today though is the point at which you experience burnout but can’t take steps to remedy it because it causes stress.
Stress is not a good thing for people with mental illness. I’ve talked about the light switch effect wherein too much stress automatically flips on paranoia and delusion regardless of the steps you take (medication/therapy) to combat these things.
In my career as a writer I’ve come up on this wall more times than I can count where I want to do more so that I can reach my (probably entirely too strict) goals, but I mentally can’t do them because if I do I’ll cause major problems for my stability.
In essence it’s a fine line you walk when you take on responsibilities and then have to juggle them according to your mental state.
I haven’t found a great way of dealing with this as I’ll have spurts of activity where I sit down for a couple days and write every article I need to have written for the next two months. Then essentially the rest of my time is free. This works I guess because the only thing I have to worry about then is posting these articles when they’re due.
A better strategy might be to limit the amount of responsibility I take on so that I don’t cause myself the stress of deadlines, but I’m having trouble doing that because I’ve come to rely on the money I make from writing these articles. It’s kind of a catch twenty two.
The burnout I feel right now might be helped by limiting my obligations but then I’ll have the stress of money on my mind.
At this point I just wish my ambition would slow down a bit so that I could center myself and find a relative peace with my daily tasks.
There are several tools I use to handle the stress though and those include trying my best to get a good sleep, taking walks and eating well and when I do these things, which admittedly are hard to do, I find that things seem to work better for me. I wish I could do them more and I’m going to try to get a better handle on all of this.
Essentially, I think we all need to be cognizant of the amount of stress we have on our plates, we need to be to handle our obligations gracefully and without feeling like we’re losing our minds. This is especially true of people with schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.
I think for now I’m going to try to find a way to manage my stress and my burnout and so be it if I have to sacrifice a job or two.
My mental health is the most important factor and if it’s under duress, that’s not going to be a good time.
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