Behind every burnout, there is a personal and intimate story.
We are so adept at adapting, conforming, playing roles or even, in case of emergency, keeping up the appearance that it is strange that burnout occurs so often.
Everyone experienced one or more mini-burnout moments. But we almost always managed to get there without damage.
Because this is probably not the first burnout article that you read and you may already be accustomed to many concepts and models, I will first try to make these models and concepts tangible employing a simple example.
A simple example
Think of your most boring and unpleasant school year, when you had the secret hope that the school would burn down, that the master would have an accident, in short, that something drastic would happen, if necessary something terrible, but something that would at least bring you back to the feeling that life was exciting and worth living with.
Yet you came back from the hopeless feeling of the most boring and unpleasant school years however long it took to turn into a new year, with new possibilities, and thus new feelings.
The three dimensions of the burnout
In the simple example of the school we recognise the familiar three dimensions of the burnout:
- Emotional exhaustion
- Not feeling involved
Compared to the example of the school it could look like this:
Tired before reaching school, no real friends at school and you couldn’t get your homework done, and you didn’t pay attention in class.
The six-factor model
There are more elaborate models of the burnout, such as the six-factor model:
- Job-person mismatch
- Work overload
- Lack of control
- Breakdown of community
- Absence of fairness
We can even apply this versatile model to the dullest school year ever:
You couldn’t spontaneously join the other kids anymore
No subject was fun for you, not even sport.
The amount of homework seemed overwhelming.
The master and the other kids were in charge
Your parents, the school, the sports club, your old group of friends, everything seemed to fall apart…
It all just felt unfair
The flowchart model
Here we see a flowchart (well, my attempt at it). Although the terms do not apply to the primary school situation, it is a nice exercise to try to make your chart with your personal choices referring to the same category, it all becomes less abstract and strict. Try it yourself!
Why me, and why don’t I solve it?
And yet, let’s face it, during that terrible school year, some classmates were having a great time and bubbling with energy.
Of course, this is quite an annoying fact, because suddenly it seems as if you were responsible for your unpleasant feeling back then.
We can add that to the list of burnout symptoms; the guilt. It seems as if during the burnout there’s no end to the misery. The most annoying feature of burnout is that every lead you think about only seems to make the stress worse.
I fit in all the scientific charts, but I don’t feel acknowledged there.
We now come to an important intersection. When you have done the exercise to fill in the flowchart as a primary school child, you have taken a foretaste of what personal therapy can be. Because although the flowcharts from science are completely correct, it never says why you have a burnout (or the person for whom this piece reads has a burnout).
We live in a completely personal universe
When we go into therapy, a different world opens up. It is not about the scientific dimensions and models of burnout anymore. Your unique and personal story consists of all (and much more) of the above-mentioned elements, but your unique composition and interrelationship between these elements are nowhere to be seen. You could compare it to a painting. Of course, a painting consists of all the colours that can be found in an orderly manner on a colour palette, but in that palette, it is completely impossible to see the painting at all.
Therapy is making your flow-chart
In therapy, we are going to turn the dry inanimate theories about burnout piece by piece into an exciting story that has never been told before. Part of that story will be everything that you have made of the outside world, the so-called extended mind.
The reason you get into burnout is that somewhere in the unlimited number of possibilities of a flowchart there is one small internal memory-emotion-thought cluster that doesn’t automatically align to your (in itself fantastic) adaptability. This cluster has ‘hidden’ itself and you’ll never find it in the Google doctor’s office.
There is only one deep cause for your burnout.
There’s only one reason why you have a burnout. However, you don’t know that reason, for the real cause of your burnout you suffer from the conceptual loss. There is always a reason for that loss (grief, hurt, fear… ) that is pulling you down (unconsciously) for lack of care and acknowledgement
In your personal, unique and complex flow chart, you defend your individuality, your individuality. We are going to describe this unique self together in therapy. Then we take a close look at it and make sure that it regains a glorious existence.
Learning to recognise and acknowledge your individuality is what we offer you in travel and therapy.
In Travel and Therapy, we offer you two way of consulting. One form is from your home situation, the online therapy (e-consulting) the other is a short intense process in a beautiful location in the heart of Andalusia. (See the program) Together we can determine what suits you best, whether it suits the person for whom you want to seek help best. (See offers –> pricing page)
About Francois Weber
Born in The Hague 1n 1956.
Doctor with extensive luggage in regular and complementary/alternative views on mental health.
A strategic approach for recognising and restructuring mentally-emotional unconscious “default” clusters.
Assistance in developing flexibility of thinking and feeling with the extended-mind model.
Painting; Claude Monet (1840-1926) Setting sun on the Seine.