Running on empty
“It’s just like, so hard. Every success leads to more work. Then, that will require even more work, and I have 0 motivation. I don’t think I can keep going on like this, but I do.”
“It is tough to look forward to things – finishing graduate school, moving up in my company, or buying a home – when the endpoint is sooo far off in the distance. How can I stay motivated when my future seems so far away?”
“So, then I don’t apply for the job or do my homework and think ‘Ugh, get your sh*t together,’ but I can’t.”
“I’m worried I’m falling behind. I am not motived, feel exhausted, and lay awake at night thinking of all the things I didn’t get done and need to do the next day. It is a never-ending cycle.”
Wobbling on a pedestal built by others
Hannah* grew up middle-class, mom and dad are together, and she is an overachiever. She went to an Ivy League school, and all her relatives and family friends doted on her and praised her potential.
Little did they know she had a history of self-harm, binge-and-restricted her food often, and secretly wished she could get bedridden with some benign flu so that she could take a break.
Over the years, everyone in her life had put her up on a pedestal, and Hannah was starting to feel lonely.
She could feel herself being raised higher and higher with so much “promise,” but she wanted to yell down to her family, friends, and professors, “I’m a liar! I’m a fake! You don’t know me, and I don’t deserve to be up here!”
But she didn’t want to disappoint them, so she kept on adding more and more responsibilities to her overflowing plate.
Burnout is a downer
Hannah went to the health center on campus because she was feeling awful and thought she had mono. Fortunately for her, a compassionate doctor informed her, “You don’t have mono… you’re burned out.”
Hannah read a pamphlet about how burnout can cause fatigue, feeling “down,” a sense of dread about the future, negative thoughts, irritable moods, and hopelessness. Damn, that doctor was right.
Learning to put yourself first
So, Hannah was given some referrals, and she called moi.
In therapy, Hannah was able to step down off her pedestal and be real with me – she talked about her insecurities, her fears of disappointing her parents, and her fears of being “found out.”
Through our work together, she was able to let go of her worries about what other people would think and prioritize what she thinks: me > them. Hannah made some decisions to simplify her life and is attending graduate school with plans to become a doctor.
Isn’t that a stressful job, you ask? Yes, but Hannah has learned to prioritize her needs, practice self-care, and she continues to go to therapy weekly to invest in her emotional health and stay on task with putting herself first.
Feeling burnt out?
Together, we can work through your burnout and begin to set priorities established by you, rather than someone else.
Holla ‘atcha girl (909) 851-5522
*Name changed to protect client confidentiality.