2. “I started burning dinners. I’m normally a really good cook and have never used timers because I just seem to know when something is ready or needs turning. But night after night, even cooking simple meals, I just totally messed up, and they were disgusting or inedible. Not long after that, I couldn’t retain any information and then was crying all the time and vomiting from anxiety almost every day.”
“I took two weeks off but spent the entire time thinking, ‘Oh god, it’s only 10 days before I have to go back…. it’s only three days…’ and so on. I went back to work and lasted a day before I fully broke and ended up off sick for four months. I’d never taken any sick leave and felt so guilty for doing so, but I couldn’t function. I slept, exercised, went to therapy, and got on medication and was able to go back.”
3. “I’m a teacher. I make my career my life and therefore burn myself out. But I also have both a mental and a physical disability. I knew when I chose my profession that it would always be challenging with the health issues I have, but sometimes it feels like I’m drowning. Literally. I can’t catch my breath. I have a pulse oximeter for other reasons and out of curiosity check it during these episodes. It is quite literally impacting me physically. I left a toxic administration (though a faculty that I loved and miss) and now work in a much more healthy school climate, but am still coming home often and just passing out.”
“The thing that keeps me from TOTAL burnout is that I do have the luxury of feeling like I’m contributing in a meaningful way. Even with 150 middle schoolers just being middle schoolers, there’s always at LEAST one moment every day when I know at least one kid had a slightly better day or made a breakthrough. That’s good enough to keep me wanting to do this. I keep every single scrap of a note a kid has given me in my home office. They may forget I exist, but to me, that note they took the time to write, maybe even just that partial sentence, is a boost.”
14. “I was burnt out, but it took me a very, very long time to realize it. I’d work 9-5, Monday through Friday, but often with an on-call element, so I’d be on duty for 24 hours once every fortnight. I could sleep during that time if I wasn’t called. I often cancelled plans on the weekends and evenings, and viewed the weekends as ‘recharging time’ — I wouldn’t leave the house all weekend. I viewed visiting my gym as self-care, but I was often too exhausted for it.”
“I left my role to pursue my master’s degree, and I’ve never been happier. It’s a healthier type of stress, I’ve got more self care in the calendar now, and I feel much healthier. It took me six weeks to sleep off the burnout, though.”
18. “I’m currently burned out, and I have been for a while. I wasn’t doing well working from home in 2020. I had some conflicts at work, and it affected me. The pandemic made it worse. Then my boss warned me that I needed to get it together or my annual review would suffer.”
“I guess I had to pretend the pandemic wasn’t real or that I didn’t put my cat to sleep a week after lockdown started. I put all my energy into improving my work, and things got better, but at the cost of my personal energy.
I have hated my job for two years, and it has been very difficult to find a new one in my industry. I am stagnating in my career, and I hate the projects I am given. I hate Sunday nights. I have struggled with insomnia, and lack of sleep causes migraines. I have been low-key depressed for months. Nothing inspires me anymore. I count the hours until I can close my work computer at the end of the day.”
20. “I had to walk over a canal every day to and from the subway station, and every day I’d think about jumping off that bridge. I was 100% certain that I didn’t REALLY want to do it, but I couldn’t stop thinking about it, and that in and of itself is exhausting.”
“I ‘bathed’ everyday with pre-moistened body wipes because I couldn’t muster the energy to shower, and thus managed to maintain a facade for a long time. (Friends have since confirmed that I didn’t stink, at worst it was like I’d gone to the gym for a light workout earlier that day.)
And I got to the point where I started using paper plates and bowls because I had no energy to wash dishes, and the only chores I could manage were basic cat care (feeding, water bowl filling, changing litter) and taking out the trash. Just the absolute necessities for my pets’ health (not mine), and preventing vermin and odors so I didn’t lose my apartment.
I did try to get support and better conditions from my employers, but their attitude was mostly lip service with a touch of ‘if you don’t like it, you can leave.’ But because I could not afford to not have an income, and I knew I did not have the energy to look for a new job, I kept plugging away until they eventually fired me with unemployment benefits.
Only then could I finally muster the energy to seek help, but by then, my severe burnout had morphed into a very deep depression. So the moral of the story is, whatever it takes, try try try to seek help sooner than I did.“
23. “I took a retail job one week before my unemployment ended, thinking it would tide me over until I found a more permanent job. Before I realized it, they were thanking me for 10 years of service. The next two years were a blur, but I was so burnt out I prayed to god that I would get in an accident on my way to work. I was incredibly jealous of the coworkers who left or even got fired. I talked about leaving all the time, but the devil you know vs. the devil you don’t.”
“After 12 years, they eliminated my position, and I wasn’t hired for anything else. They did me a freaking favor. Three months later, I took a pay cut for a new job. Two years later, I love my job; it’s so stress free. I’m already making more than I did after 12 years at the other place, and I don’t get berated or written up if I use a sick day that I earned.”