Caught off guard by burnout
From the beginning of my being on this planet, I was diagnosed with epilepsy, so you can only imagine the adventure of everyday medication schedules, doctors’ appointments, surgeries, and social differences. But when I was hit with burnout because of school, work, and planning for the future, I didn’t even have a name for it.
What is burnout
Once I heard and skimmed through what “burnout” meant, I wanted to know more, so, of course, Google gave all the answers. According to an article by Evie Muir, who experienced burnout herself, “The experience of burnout can be ferociously acute depression, and those impacted float in a cloud of despair, exhausted and on autopilot.”
Adulting is hard
The older I got, the more difficulties came my way. Starting at the age of twenty-one, I was diagnosed with anxiety and depression due to social and emotional problems. Well, entering adulthood was nothing I was exposed to or explained; I didn’t even get a manual.
I’m entering the junior year of being a university student at the University of Central. I’m close to the finish line, but many things are stressful on my end. Knowing that I have only one parent who continuously is investing in my education, money is a lot, and as a starving student, it’s beyond stressful.
I’m getting older and my life hasn’t started. It’s becoming uncomfortable and yes, living with epilepsy and having flair-ups due to lack of sleep, stress, new medication, and simply neglecting myself has affected me. And of course, developing burnout and didn’t even know there was a name. I figured I was just exhausted. Well it’s more than that.
What are the signs of burnout
According to the Cleveland Clinic, Fatigue is a major symptom of burnout and can affect all areas of your life. I became too exhausted to sleep, which is a big deal since sleep is important to help manage my epilepsy. I even became too tired to have full meals. In fact I dangerously lost too much weight overall.
Being a student abroad, missing my family and friends, and wondering if my pathway to success was meaningful and if it makes any sense. With a ton of anxiety, worry, emotional distress, and educational expectation, I felt stripped of myself and what I could do. Even with limitations and questioning my value, I’m losing my identity, and it has become too painful and exhausting.
With my dream and already having an established start as a writer, I wanted and drove for more. This ended up placing me in a dangerous adventure and sacrificing my health and my education. As months went by and my unbalanced experience of being burned out continued, I was forced to stop writing altogether. I’ve never felt so lost and filled with pain, especially when passion filled with opportunity and happiness was about to be taken from me due to my health which doesn’t have a cure, and understanding that I might not wake up due to my sacrifice and stress level.
Everything gets under your skin
According to the World Health Organization,”Burn-out is a syndrome conceptualized as resulting from chronic workplace stress that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:
- feelings of energy depletion or exhaustion;
- increased mental distance from one’s job, or feelings of negativism or cynicism related to one’s job; and
- reduced professional efficacy.
Finding a Better Way
We understand that no part of any career should ever consume our everyday lives during this adventure. Burnout turns into flare-ups that affect both my very own mental experience and physical health. Especially someone like myself, who’s not just a woman, or even just a woman of color, but a woman of color with a neurological disorder.
As an individual with dreams and drive, I have no choice but must push myself ten times harder than everyone else, which can be extremely mentally and physically exhausting.
I guess you can say that change is incremental, but sometimes it has a lot easier said than done. Especially when you’re trying to graduate, be healthy both neurologically and mentally, be comfortable in the category of “adulthood,” live my dream and become a professional writer.
As I always say: everything is in moderation … right?
Amanda Miller is a Toronto, ON-based soon-to-be graduate with a BA and AA in English. She has several years of freelance writing with articles featured in Sheen Magazine, Femi Magazine, Unwritten, SpokenBlackGirl, and many more. She’s been living with epilespy since the womb and continuing to fight the good fight and spreading awareness one article and conversation at a time. Her clips can be found at https://linktr.ee/MandieeMiller.