16 Smoking-Gun Signs Of A College Burnout, Because Where There's Smoke, There's Fire

16 Smoking-Gun Signs Of A College Burnout, Because Where There's Smoke, There's Fire

How to notice something is wrong before it's too late.

We are hitting that time in the semester where midterms are coming, and spring break is almost upon us and we are tired of the hustle and bustle that life brings. It is a stressful time of year for most of us and for some, myself included, it’s when we start to burn out. This is something a lot of overachievers, like myself, hit and don’t realize it because we have that “I can do everything” attitude and take on too much.

What is burnout you ask? Burnout is a state of chronic stress that leads to physical and emotional exhaustion, cynicism and detachment, and feelings of ineffectiveness and lack of accomplishment. This is something that takes time to build up. It doesn’t happen suddenly so the goal here is to recognize the symptoms to try and avoid it. Some of the symptoms include:

1. Chronic fatigue

At first this may just feel like a lack of energy and just being tired most days. But as time goes on you begin to feel emotionally exhausted as well and begin to dread things ahead.

2. Insomnia

Basically, no matter how tired you are you can’t fall asleep or stay asleep.

3. Forgetfulness/lack of concentration and attention

Self-explanatory here. But as time goes on you won’t be able to get your work done and things will pile up.

4. Physical symptoms

This includes chest pain, heart palpitations, shortness of breath, gastrointestinal pain, dizziness, fainting, and/or headaches.

5. Increased illness

Because of your exhaustion, your immune system is weakened and therefore unable to fight off sickness

6. Loss of appetite

It may start off as skipping a few meals here and there, but then you lose your appetite altogether and lost significant amounts of weight.

7. Anxiety

I think we can all relate to this one where we begin to worry and become edgy but then grows so large that your productivity is affected, and you can’t any work done.

8. Depression

Again, another a lot can relate to. Starts off mild with some sadness and maybe some hopelessness but then escalates to feeling trapped and worthless and that the world is better without you. (For the record it is NOT. The world is always a better place with you in it.)

9. Anger

This one I may relate to a little too much. It can start off with some tension and irritability but then it escalates into outbursts and serious arguments that can cause problems. (Unfortunately, this led me to break a door at work because of lashing out at one of my coworkers, who may have deserved it but not to that degree.)

10. Loss of enjoyment

You lose all interest in the things you used to enjoy. You can stand work or school and avoid everything and everyone altogether.

11. Pessimism

This is kind of my whole personality so its hard for me to consider it a symptom but if its abnormal for you than it is. This is negative self-talk and can lead to distrust in those you love.

12. Isolation

I am all too good at this one. You pull away from people and pull out of activities and sometimes at its worst you lash out when people approach you.

13. Detachment

This is related to the last one and another one I am too good at. This is feeling disconnected from others or your environment and result in you removing yourself from your responsibilities. This may be seen as “calling in sick” to work often or habitual tardiness.

14. Feelings of apathy and hopelessness

This like depression and pessimism. You are negative towards most things and have that “what’s the point?” feeling.

15. Increased irritability

This comes from feelings of ineffectiveness that you get when things aren’t getting done like they used to. This can destroy relationships if it gets out of hand.

16. Lack of productivity and poor performance

Despite long hours, chronic stress prevents you from being as productive as you once were, which often results in incomplete projects and an ever-growing to-do list. At times, it seems that as hard as you try, you can't climb out from under the pile.

Cover Image Credit: hackny / Flickr

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.

Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.

Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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To The Person Struggling, It WILL Get Better, Even If You Have To Fake It 'Til You Make It

You don't have to have your life 100% together.


If you are one of those people that are on the struggle bus, it's OK and you aren't alone.

Some days the bus is full and sometimes that bus is mostly empty. But the thing is, you'll get off the bus. And yeah one day you'll get back on it, but what would life be without some kind of struggle?

In all honesty, everyone is struggling and no one really has their life figured out.

People can tell you their life plans and their goals for a month, a year or their life, but the thing is that can always change. Life cannot be planned out completely nor should it be!

I've had multiple adults (the ones that pay rent and have jobs that they love) say that it's all about faking it 'til you make it. So if you are struggling and unsure how to do things, fake it! Of course, if you need help, ask for it! It would be much better to ask how to do something than stress over it for days. But there are just sometimes you might need to pretend like you know what you are doing.

Honestly, confidence is key.

One thing that might help is being organized (if you aren't already). That has helped me. Just being able to know what was where and when my next assignment is due. Lists are your best friend when you are trying to keep your head up in a sea of assignments, projects, exams... you name it. Have as many as you want on the walls, in your phones, on your laptop or anywhere that you can look at it.

Because nothing is worse than feeling like you are forgetting something.

And just like with many things, drink lots of water. It helps. And breathe. It may seem silly, but even ten seconds of focusing on your breathing and closing your eyes helps. Remind yourself that you got this. Because you do.

Above all, relax.

Don't overwork yourself and take breaks doing something that you enjoy. It's better to take breaks than working for hours on end.

So this New Year, remember that it's okay to feel like you're struggling. Just try and enjoy life and breathe. Because one day, you'll get off the struggle bus and to where you need to be.

And you'll get there. It takes just takes some time.

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