Monday, October 9, 2017
6 Signs that You're Burning Out
I really feel the need to share with you this post. It was inspired by a recent case study that's been going on for the past couple of months.
6 Signs that you are burnt out:
1. You have no desire whatsoever to continue the project.
And when I say that you have no desire, I mean that you have no desire. Nothing, not even failing the project, can get you motivated. Your brain literally REFUSES to function.
2. You have frequent spells of crying, anger, frustration, etc.
Or, worst case scenario, you end up with all three at once.
3. You do anything to avoid the project.
Like... to the point when you drive out of the state once a week for an entire day. Literally.
4. You feel that the project is a total waste of your time (or worse, money).
This is the worst feeling ever. This is when the doubting thoughts really start rampaging through.
5. If you try to perservere, you feel ten times worse.
You still feel the obligation to try to finish, even if it means finishing badly. But the mental fog is increasingly difficult to pierce, and your body is steadfastly refusing to apply itself.
6. The quality of your work decreases. Drastically.
And when I mean drastically, I mean like a drop from A grade papers to C grade papers kind of drastically.
Remember that I said that this was inspired by a case study?
That case study has, unfortunately, been myself.
No, the project is not Seeds of an Orchard Invisible. It's graduate school.
Let me explain.
Most of you know that I graduated college this past may. Well, I was starting to feel the beginning signs of burnout then but I chalked it up to plain senioritis. Summer job would fix that. It did before.
The next few months was taken up with a very intense summer internship up in a brand new state...another 8 hours from my house. In that internship, I was doing some very tedious and detail-chocked research as well as learning to interpret historic agriculture in a totally different time and setting that I was used to. As time dragged, my research was becoming very boring, and I was starting to lose focus. I pushed myself to do the very best I could, and wound up impressing my boss with the quality of my work.
Less than a week after my internship ended, I moved again...this time to a neighboring state to the one that I worked in. Still, it was a new state again, the 5th I've lived in the past year.
My workload tripled over time. I started a new job that I quickly hated. I tried to work more on family genealogy and started volunteering at the place I worked this summer. Both provided mental releases, but that burnout that started in May was growing...exponentially.
End of September rolls around. My interest in my schoolwork is waning very fast, and my retention is dropping even faster. I started having crying jags on a regular basis and bungling simple assignments. When I started having crying jags at work, I knew I had to do something.
I met with the chair of the History department, who is my supervisor. We tried to work out a few solutions. However, things spiraled very quickly out of control the next week. After receiving a particularly deserving bad grade on a paper that I had slapped together, I had a full emotional breakdown - to the point that I shouted to my family over the phone that I wanted to quit and come home right then and there.
I haven't felt like I needed to quit something with this intensity ever since I was eleven. That time, eleven-year-old me was being made to teach 4-year-olds how to do simple dance steps. The girls would want to do anything but learn the steps - most of the time, they wanted to talk. I'm not a talker, I'm a task doer. That experience has taught me that I'm not cut out to be a teacher.
Now, this isn't my first case of severe burnouts - one happened in sophomore year of undergrad. That was strictly just being overwhelmed. I had a nit-picky professor (very similar to a current professor that I have now) that gave me heck over papers. I responded to his challenge and won. But that took a severe toll on me mentally. Scaling back on involvement on campus and a summer job cured that case of burnout.
This time, this burnout is so severe that it's causing me to have a depression. Looking back, I realize that I haven't had a true vacation in at least three years. Three years of intense working and studying has taken a major toll on me mentally and now physically.
That's why I've been scaling back on my Rebellious Writing stuff. That's why I had such a blogging summer, and now am scaling back on that. I'm not worrying whether SOI actually makes it to Rooglewood or not. Never fear, it will be written. But I need to gain some mental stability before that happens.
I'm in the process of attempting to get a temporary leave of absence from the university. Whether it turns permanent or not will depend on my mental state and the employment options that I have.
I apologize that this post turned from informative to ranty/emotional. I didn't intend for this to be as personal as it came out to be. This is the first that anyone, besides certain family members, have heard of this. But it's time that I acknowledged that I'm hurting. After all, it's the first step to healing, isn't it?
Please pray for me, y'all.