Burnout is a state of chronic stress that leads to physical and emotional exhaustion.
Burnout is not included in the list of diseases recognized by official medicine; however, as a concept, it resonated in 2019, when BuzzFeed reporter Anna Helena Petersen popularized this concept.
“I am a successful person, with a great career. But out of work in my life there is complete chaos. My constant companions are stress, guilt, and eternal fatigue. My brain works all the time. I am constantly on high alert to get down to business, but I cannot force myself to do it. I am exhausted by anxiety and depression, and because of this stress, my sleep was disturbed, and insomnia began.”
The story of Ryan caused a violent reaction. Twenty and thirty-year-old women and men from all over the world began to contact them with their stories about this type of burnout. They are all very different, but they have one thing in common: under pressure from urgent matters, people are so exhausted that they can barely cope with the simplest routine tasks. This phenomenon Anna Helena Petersen called “paralysis of everyday life.”
“I drank a lot to fight anxiety”
Laura, 29 years old
After two years of living abroad, when I was 23 years old, I returned to the UK, and I realized that while I had a great time, all my friends tirelessly climbed the steps of the career ladder. I do not regret my choice, but this game of catch-up began to put pressure on me. The first panic attack occurred on Sunday, when I thought about how to live on.
When you feel depression
For several years, I managed to find an excellent job in one startup. But stress and anxiety have not gone away. I worked for many hours, often went out and was nervous because of everything in the world: my usual working life, plans for the evening after work, playing sports, eating the wrong amount, traveling, renting, saving money, dating, and the like.
Sometimes I ate and drank so much that I wondered if I had problems with alcohol or an eating disorder. But last year I started visiting a psychotherapist. In her opinion, food and alcohol were just tools for me to help me manage the burnout and anxiety that I constantly felt.
Now I try to treat myself better and not feel guilty because I am not able to do everything. But this is not easy, because when you reach a certain age, problems with relationships and career that you need to solve begin to put pressure on you.
For our generation, there are other factors that society considers necessary in order to be a fully developed personality. For example, read a specific blog, article, book, or listen to a podcast. This is tiring, so I am not surprised that many of us are constantly tired.
“It feels like I hit a brick wall.”
Adam, 26 years old
Burnout started in my teens. My psyche was strongly pressured by what seemed to me the expectations of other people: teachers, society, the world, and employers. It all depended on whether you would find a cool job, or whether you would have the best grades. It was too much – especially because I am autistic, and I was bullied at school.
After you relax – tight sleep
In the end, I did not go to university, but became a social entrepreneur. Everything was perfect, although I don’t remember when I last worked less than 100 hours a week.
My secretary helps me keep abreast of events, but I constantly feel this pressure on the psyche, because I always load myself up and try to come up with new ideas. I do not stop, so my head often hurts – I am disturbed by the feeling of worthlessness and exhaustion.
Most of my friends experience the same thing. The millennial burnout sneaks up on you imperceptibly.
This feeling can be compared to how your car crashes into a brick wall at full speed, and you have no chance to stop it. And you understand the danger only when it is too late.
Now I’m trying to slow down a little. I listen very sensitively to my own needs. There are always people around me to talk to. So far, this process is under development, and I don’t have all the answers.