Burnt out

Guest Author: Patti

This content contains explicit and sensitive information that may not be suitable for all ages.

Burnt out. What would it take to hear it? “You are suffering from burn out” said my doctor, and my friends, and my family.  Why could they see it, if I couldn’t?  What would it take for me to hear it? A breakdown at work? In public? At home?  Would I lose my job, my family or me … my body? My brain?  

 It’s hard to understand. I have so many questions, maybe they don’t all have clear answers. Or maybe I don’t want to hear the answers any more than I wanted to accept that I am Burnt Out.  How did I get here? Why? What could I have done differently? What can I do now?

I don’t ever want to be here again.

 The most important question must be what can I do now but I can’t seem to move forward without understanding how I got here.  I don’t want to repeat my mistakes. I don’t ever want to be here again.

 Burnt out.  Maybe if I say it enough I will accept it.

 Let’s talk.  Yes, let’s do that … who wants to go first?  I see people opening up about their personal struggles with mental health issues and I want to feel hope but all I see is their courage and my own failure.   I cannot talk. I cannot open up about this.

 Denial. Mistakes. Failure.  Burnt out.

 These words permeate my life, staining everything.  It’s like wearing glasses to correct your vision so you can see clearly but my filter is dark and depressing, casting a negative shadow over my life.  I am aching for the sunshine and I am trying to reach for it.  On a good day, I say I WILL get there! On a bad day, I think I will NEVER get there! Most days I’m too tired to worry about it one way or another.

 It is hard work keeping all this negativity bottled up inside.  

It is hard work keeping all this negativity bottled up inside.  Nobody likes a whiner. Suck it up. Move on. Smile. If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Don’t worry, be happy. It is mind over matter. Don’t be a quitter.

 It’s hard work wearing a mask.

 Work. I like work. I like to feel productive, getting things done and helping others but I need time.  I need time to get my battle gear on and time to recover.   There is not enough time, there is never enough anymore.

 Change. I used to like change, learning and experiencing new things.  But I can’t learn anymore … my brain is tired, I can’t connect the dots and understand new concepts. I am afraid of change, learning and experiencing new things.

 Friends. It’s good to have friends. I like having people to do things with, share and talk and listen and learn.  But I don’t have time. I can’t talk.  I can’t learn.  How can I have friends if I can’t be a friend?

 Family.  They are my reason, my love, my life.  I am failing them every day with my lack of time, with the shadow that follows me around and with my fear.  

 Me. What about me? Where do I fit?  My homework this week is to list good things in life and things that give joy.  I don’t remember.  I can’t believe I don’t remember.

 I can’t talk. When did I forget how to talk to other people? How to be sociable? I see people that look familiar, that look nice and I want to have a conversation but I can’t. My mind is blank. My mouth won’t move. My voice is silent.  I can’t talk.   How long have I been like this and why didn’t I notice?   I feel lonely. I miss having girlfriends to hang out with, go shopping and out for dinner.  Discuss, debate, complain and congratulate.  Relate.   

 I sit at the arena. Surrounded by people but I am alone and I can’t talk. I can’t participate. I can’t fucking talk.

Paralysis.  Sometimes, many times, most of the time, I feel paralyzed. My body is heavy and my mind is blank.  I can’t move. Simple things like grocery shopping are a huge task to be broken down into tiny manageable steps.  Day 1 – decide I need groceries. Day 2. Make a list. Day 3. Think about going.  Day 4. Go to the store.  Sit in the parking lot for 15 minutes – debating whether now is the time or not, do I have enough energy?   You go girl! You can do this.  Bring the food home to rot in the fridge because I am too damn tired to cook it.      

 Rest and repeat.

There is so much and there is nothing.

 Shame.  I feel so much shame and embarrassment.  I am supposed to be the rock, steady and reliable.  Helping others by absorbing their highs and lows; providing support, direction, reassurance – this is what I do. It feels good to help others but I can’t do it anymore. I am full. I am overflowing.  There is so much and there is nothing.  I feel weak.

I want to be brave and wear my illness openly. I don’t think I will ever recover if I can’t be honest about what’s happening to me. I need to overcome this feeling that this is my fault.  If only. If only I had listened to my body, my family, my friends. If only.  Maybe the path to quieting that voice is openness, honesty and acceptance.  I think it must be.  I want it and I will keep trying.

 Sick not weak. This is me.

New Day It’s a new day and I am looking for a new attitude.  I know it won’t happen overnight and I need to be patient.  It took a long time to get to this place and it will take a long time to get out of it.  Sometimes I can’t help but feel like I will never be ‘normal’ again. Perhaps normal is a stretch goal 😉  

 I will settle for getting back to me.



Very well said, thank you


Thank you for sharing. I understand.


I have been there. It take times and work but time will heal.


You have given voice to the frustrating struggles and sense of defeat I am facing in my life. Thank you.


Thank you. This is what I needed today. Your words are so true, about many of us. Thanks.


Wow, so well said! It’s a dark hole that can be tough to find your way out of! This is so well written and said! Kudos for opening up in this way. It must be very painful!

There is light! Promise! I know!

Thank you so much for sharing.
So much of what you wrote resonates with me so deeply.
It’s comforting to know I am not alone in this deep, dark place.

Chris H

Wonderful read. Thank you.

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