Jack’s Burnout

I burned out over a fairly long period of time rather than any classical “one day I woke up in a foetal position”. Maybe two years all up…. It was so gradual it was hard to notice.

Work became harder and harder. Anxiety increased. Running on adrenaline for any extended period is bad for anyone. I worked long hours, nights, weekends. Even when I wasn’t at work I was working in my head. I wasn’t “present” at home.

I grew less tolerant and less patient. Certain tasks became almost impossible, like planning and budgets. I avoided dealing with certain issues.

Towards the end, I was giving everything to my work and had no reserves. Nothing for friends, for my wife or kids. At home I was intolerant, wanted to be left alone. Couldn’t engage. My anger grew explosive at home and my marriage started to unravel.

I hated meetings. It took everything out of me. I avoided staff and others. I just wanted to lock myself in my office.

It got worse though because the pressure on the marriage made that crumble and then it all spiraled downwards. Work got harder because I was up all hours fighting with my wife, then I worked longer, and left it as late as possible to go home, so the marriage got worse.

Towards the end I was suicidal. I started reading about asphyxiation. Got a bit obsessed with it actually. It all got very dark.

Burnout is different for everyone. Mine was slow and incremental so I didn’t get treatment for a long time. Others are catastrophic requiring immediate high level medical intervention. I think the most important thing is being equipped to stay healthy and having people around you that can interpret the signs. My wife couldn’t. She only saw me as being angry, critical, demanding, intolerant and had no idea why I was behaving so badly. I managed to hide it from everyone else.


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