How I Got Through My 2018 'Burnout' Phase

How I Got Through My 2018 'Burnout' Phase

How I recognized and overcame a burnout.

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It seemed like 2018 was the year out burnouts. Going online, many of the top social media influencers and Youtubers, like Elle Mills and Alisha Marie, were posting about their burnouts. Maybe they didn't use that word exactly, but rather, taking a break or some time off. These days, going through a burnout is becoming more and more common. We work and work, to the point where we hate whatever it is that we're doing, or we have a breakdown. So how did I manage to get through mine?

This last year, I also hit my breaking point. To give a little backstory, while going to community college, I changed my major many time, which isn't uncommon. Every time I did, I had more and more classes I needed to take to graduate, or that would set me on a good path when I came to a university. I started to feel like I was lagging behind everyone else. I was taking between 12-20 credits per quarter, which for those who don't know, the average college student would take between 12-15 credits. Sometimes I'd have to retake classes when either I didn't pass or dropped them, which in return would stress me out because that would set me back further. I took classes during the summer, hoping it'd catch me back up, which it didn't. Adding on to that, I would work and take part in school clubs and activities, mostly because that was my time away from studying, the time where I could socialize, and unwind.

When it became time to apply to colleges, I had a breakdown. I didn't know what I wanted to major in, I had lost all interest in what I was currently studying. Grade wise, if I'm being honest, I was average, maybe even below, and didn't stand out. I didn't know where I wanted to go, or how I would afford to even attend a university, At the time I was barely passing my current classes. I had been studying for three years at this point, and I still felt I was at square one. I didn't want to transfer into a program that I wasn't interested in. At this point all I wanted to do was graduate. During this time, my anxiety was also at an all-time high.

I took a step back and thought about my options. I could apply to a few places and pray I'd get in, stay at a community college a while longer, take some time off and focus on myself. I decided that I would graduate with a basic Associates degree, and transfer at the start of the new year, rather than in August or September. The hardest part was telling my family because I felt that they had high expectations of me, and by taking a break, I'd be letting them down. After talking to them, I think they understood where I was coming from and supported my decision. My last quarter of community college, I took a class' that seemed interesting, including a photography class, that would reignite my passion for taking photos.

I enjoyed taking a break, granted I didn't stop doing everything I was doing before, I was still working, but focusing more on myself and what made me happier, was a step up. I started talking to my friends and family more about ways to cope with stress and anxiety and started seeing a professional more regularly. In the end, I'm glad I took that time off.

Going back to my original question, how did I manage to get through my burnout. I think by recognizing that I wasn't satisfied with the way my life was going and taking some time to focus on myself. I would look at other people the same age, or younger than I am, and constantly compare how far along they were to where I was. To be honest, it doesn't really matter if they graduated before I did. If I could give tips to anyone, it would be to talk to someone, friend, family member, teacher, or councilor, anyone who will listen. Also, recognizing when it's time to take a break, we can't work or study endlessly forever. These are supposed to be "the best years of our lives", why spend them stressing out? Slow down and take your time.

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What Losing Someone To Suicide Really Feels Like.

In Loving Memory of Andrew Allen Boykin (1997-2015)

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A word that describes what it feels like to lose someone to suicide? That doesn't exist. It's actually a whole jumbled up pool of emotions. Almost unbearable comes to mind, but that still doesn't quite cover it. You never think it'll happen to someone you know, much less a family member.

Let me start off by telling you about my experience. I was up late one night studying for a big nursing test I had the next morning. My phone started ringing, and I automatically assumed it was my boyfriend who knew I would still be up at midnight. It wasn't, though. It was my mother, who usually goes to bed before 10 every night. I knew something bad had happened.

"Mama, what's wrong?" I could hear her crying already. "Baby, Andrew shot himself," my mother then told me. I flooded her with questions. Where? Is he okay? Why was he playing around with a gun this late? What happened? She then said, "No, baby, he killed himself."

Disbelief

Disbelief was my first reaction. No, that couldn't be true. Not my Andrew. Not my 17-year-old, crazy, silly, cousin Andrew. Not the kid who eats sour Skittles while we walk through Walmart and then throws away the pack before we get to the register. Not the kid who, while we all lay in the floor in Grandma's living room, is constantly cracking jokes and telling us stories about how he's a real ladies' man. This can't be real. I'm gonna go home and it is all just gonna be a mix-up.

Confusion

It wasn't, though. I sat in the home of my grandparents, with the rest of my family, confused. We tried to go over what could have caused him to do it. Was it a girl? Did we do something wrong? He acted normal. Nothing seemed off, but I guess nobody will ever truly know.

Anger

For a minute there I was mad. How could he do this? Did he not know what this would do to everyone? So many people loved him. I just couldn't understand, but I wasn't Andrew. How could I understand?

Regret

Regret was my next feeling. Why didn't I do more? What could I have done? How did I not notice he was hurting so bad? There wasn't anyone who knew, though. For the longest time, I told myself that I should have texted him more or just made sure he knew I loved him. In the end, I always realize that there wasn't anything I could have done and that he knew I loved him.

Pain

The funeral was almost insufferable. A church filled with people who loved Andrew. People that would never get to see him or hear his laugh again. The casket was closed and the whole time all I could think about was how I just wanted to hold his hand one last time. My brother, who spent almost every weekend with Andrew since they were little, didn't even want to go inside. They were only a year and a half apart. At one point he just fell to the ground in tears. This kind of pain is the heart-breaking kind. The pain of picking a 15-year-old off the ground when he hurts so bad he can't even go on anymore.


Heartache

This led to heartache. I thought so much about how his life was way too short. He would never get to graduate high school or go to college. He would never get his first grown-up job. He'd never get married or have children. Dwelling on these thoughts did some major damage to my heart. We missed him. We wanted him back, but we could never go back to how things were.

Numbness

For a while after, I could honestly say I was numb. It had hurt so much I think my body shut down for a little while. That disbelief would pop up again and I would forget it was real. I'd try to block out the reminders but that doesn't really work. Every time I see sour Skittles I think about him, or wear this certain pair of earrings he'd always try to get me to give him.

Longing

This past week marked a whole year since he passed away. What am I feeling now? Still all of these things plus a little more. Longing is a good word. I miss him every day and wish so much that he was still here with us. I'll see little reminders of him and smile or laugh. We had so many good memories, and I could never forget those or him. That's what I cling to now. That was my Andrew.


In Loving Memory of Andrew Allen Boykin (1997-2015)

"If love could have saved you, you would have lived forever."


If you or someone you know is experiencing suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline — 1-800-273-8255

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10 Facts That You Need To Know And Keep In Mind When It Comes To Mental Health

Mental health is an important topic to talk about

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Mental health is a serious subject that we need to start talking about and breaking down the stigma that comes with mental health and mental illness. I'm a strong believer that a person's mental health is just as important as someone's physical health. Here are 10 facts about mental health that you should know about.

1. Mental illness is common

https://oneinfive.com.au/

According to Mental Health, in 2014, "One in five American adults experienced a mental health issue," while, "One in 25 Americans lived with a serious mental illness, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, or major depression." (Mental Health, 2014)

2. Suicide is one of the leading causes of death

https://www.bioedge.org/bioethics/is-suicide-different-from-physician-assisted-death/12771

It is the tenth overall cause of death in the United States. In 1980, there were 26,869 deaths when it came to suicide where in 2016, the number was at 44,965. (National Center for Health Statistics, 2016)

3. People with mental health problems are good employees

http://www.blufftonsun.com/good-employee-relations-foster-loyalty-growth-cms-237

It is reported that they have good attendance, punctuality, they are motivated, and they produce good work.

4. The signs and symptoms of mental illness include:

http://www.tpr.org/post/how-can-we-change-minds-about-mental-health

Feeling sad, burned out, or useless that last more than a period of two weeks. If someone has ongoing worries/fears, sudden fear/panic, physical symptoms that can't be explained (like headaches or chronic pain), lack of energy, and when they want to spend their time by themselves instead of with other people, that's a sign of a mental illness.

5. There are a lot of treatment options, services, and community support systems

https://www.findtreatmenttoday.org/mental-health

Studies show that people get better and most people recover completely. And they also show that they work in helping the patient get better.

6. There are many factors that contribute to mental health problems

http://www.mentalhealthamerica.net/b4stage4-get-informed

Biological factors (genes, illness, brain chemistry), life experiences (trauma/abuse), and mental health problems in the family are just some factors that contribute to mental health problems.

7. People around you can make a difference

https://www.everypixel.com/image-4127722291700857603

There are ways that you can help someone with mental illnesses, like being there for them and not defining them by the illness that they have. There are so many ways that you can help someone with mental illness.

8. Generally, people that have a mental illness are not violent

https://www.shutterstock.com/video/clip-20200603-group-positive-mixed-race-young-people-having

There are only a small part of those with mental illness that are violent in any way. According to USC, they state, "...only 3-5% of violent acts can be attributed to people with a serious mental illness." (USC, 2017).

9. People who are a part of the LGBTQ+ community are twice as likely to have a mental health condition than those who are not a part of the LGBTQ+ community

https://www.youngisthan.in/opinions/lgbtq-people-reveal-hide-sexuality/55808

10. By the age of fourteen, half of all mental health disorders show first signs.

http://fancycrave.com/group-of-friends-partying-on-the-beach-during-sunset/

Then by age twenty-four, three quarters of mental health disorders begin.

Remember that mental health is important. People who have mental illness are not inferior to someone who doesn't have a mental illness. Mental illnesses are different for everyone who has it.

Let's start breaking down the stigma.

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