I knew that burnout was real. I found that out after long hours worked, and undergraduate studies. I found that out on some early mornings at 1:00 a.m. with my head stuck in the books. I additionally found out that burnout is real when I worked my first 6:45 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. shift without a break. I sat down that night and my feet ached. I laid on the bed and fell asleep sitting up. Woke up the next morning to my alarm, I didn’t even remember falling asleep.
Little did I know however that there is such a thing as emotional burnout. In my life I’ve lost a handful of people very close to me in one way or another. I’ve buried people I’ve loved, buried friends as well. I had no idea that the wounds of never fully being able to let go, to never fully grieving could aide in my own emotional burnout. But it did. When explaining in front of my coworkers during training about my parents I burst into tears. The topic of conversation was Cancer. Both my parents passed from Cancer, a very close aunt as well. My mother when I was ten, my father when I was eleven. My aunt passed when I was seven. When people mention Cancer, when I hear that someone may have it, when I hear of anyone dealing with it, I tear up. I hope, I pray to whatever Creator will listen, and I hurt in silence while trying to remain optimistic that someone’s mother, father, aunt, sister, cousin, etc. may be a survivor. That not many others will have to say “My (Insert relative here) passed from (Insert type here) Cancer”. I didn’t know the scars that I carried with me from losing so many people. Acknowledging my emotional burnout forced me to deal with numerous aspects of it.
After acknowledging holding on to pain for many years I had to acknowledge other aspects of my life that I had control over. I had to acknowledge failed relationships. I had to acknowledge how bits and pieces of myself I’d left with other people. I had to acknowledge the feeling of feeling less than. Less than beautiful, less than perfect, inadequate, and all those lovely feelings. I had to acknowledge that at one point that feeling consumed me. That I attempted to over compensate when I never should have. And that I’d given so much of myself to others that I’d neglected self in the process. Burnout, indeed is real.
I realize that many of us suffer from emotional burnout and suffer in silence. I realize that some of us go to sleep at night crying. I realize that emotional burnout spans race, class, gender. And I realize that acknowledging it, is the first step to getting out of it. This is my acknowledgement. I’m hoping it helps someone realize that they aren’t alone. And that taking care of self should always be a priority.