Many people do not fully understand the gravity of burnout and the devastating effects that it can have in both the long and short term. In an effort to illuminate the head to toe list of severe health issues that burnout can cause, I recently asked members of my Facebook and Instagram communities to share their biggest and most shocking burnout symptoms.
On today’s #straightfromcait episode, I read a list of these responses, which powerfully speak to the severity of burnout rock bottom. Some of items on this list include:
Trigeminal Neuralgia (severe nerve pain to the face)
Near death experiences
Three months (!!) of strep throat
And many more...
As this partial list demonstrates, burnout is not a joke. Instead, if it is not addressed properly, it can become the catalyst for a wide range of shocking health issues. If you are an employer, it is crucial that you properly support any and all employees who may be suffering from burnout. And if you’re not sure where to start, I can help. Just visit my website, linked in the show notes, to learn more.
“I asked all of you recently...to share your biggest and most shocking symptoms with me with the hopes that this information compiled in one easy place, you can use it to reach ears outside of just the burnt-out amongst us.” (01:33-01:50)
“Somebody might have a genetic predisposition to bipolar disorder that was not activated for any reason in their lives. And burnout activated it in their lives.” (03:18-03:30)
“Panic attacks feel like a heart attack. Panic attacks make you feel like you’re dying. This is really really scary stuff.” (05:08-05:15)
“Most commonly, the pattern that I hear is this: ‘I knew I didn’t actually want to die, but I couldn’t bear living anymore, so I started imagining driving off a road or falling off a cliff or jumping in front of a bus. And maybe I wouldn’t die, but maybe I’d get some time in a hospital, so I could rest.’” (05:25-05:45)
“‘I was afraid that I’d be found dead at my desk. I was literally working myself to death.’” (07:10-07:16)
“What we’re talking about with burnout is really severe illness, possible inability to function, and death. We are not talking about just being a little bit tired. We’re talking about bodies physically breaking down in various ways under the pressure of stress.” (09:34-09:54)
“When somebody comes and says that they’re burnt out, it needs to be taken seriously….A week or two weeks or even four weeks of time off is not going to solve someone’s burnout.” (10:08-10:47)
If you know that it’s time to actually DO something about the burnout cycle you’ve been in for too long - book your free consult today: bit.ly/callcait
Hello FRIED fans and welcome to season four ofFRIED the burnout podcast. I'm your host Cait Donovan and my mission with FRIED is to hashtag and burnout culture. On this pod we end burnout culture by sharing stories of people who have been through it all sharing expert tips from the best in the burnout field, sharing hashtags straight from key episodes with my own expertise and some fun research now that I'm a student again, plus sharing actionable steps to help you end burnout starting today. If you're feeling burnt out right now and you need personalized guidance, you can book a free breakthrough burnout call with me, you'll find the link Bitly backslash call Cait in the show notes. Also, if you love FRIED and want to be part of our community, we'd love to have you just head over to Facebook and type in fried the burnout, podcast discussion, and click to join our group. It's a place for continued healing deeper conversations and connections with people who just get it. And now for this week's episode. Hey FRIED fans. If you are here, you already know that burnout is no joke and that it can have real and serious life changing effects on your health, your career, your relationships, and more. What I found is that even though there are so many drastic stories about burnout, people still aren't taking burnout seriously, in order to help change that tune and help hashtag and burnout culture, and help people understand why burnout is so important to deal with. I asked all of you recently on Instagram and within my Facebook group to share your biggest and most shocking symptoms with me. With the hopes that this information compiled in one easy place, you can use it to help reach ears outside of just the burnt out amongst us. My hope is that you will use this episode to stress the importance of burnout to your boss, HR professionals, partners, spouses, family members and friends. And in order for that to be as easy as possible, I'm going to read through this list and that will be the whole episode today. And I'm going to take a second of pause in between each thing so that you have a moment to think about what this really means. So without any further preamble here is what can happen physically to your body or mentally to your to your emotions. When you hit burnout, rock bottom. vision loss. I just said vision loss you can lose your eyesight. The next is trigeminal neuralgia. This means this is called the suicide diagnosis because it is such severe nerve pain to the face in the face, usually one side of the face at a time because it's only one nerve that's inflamed. It is very hard to treat. There's almost no treatment for it and people that live with this. It's so debilitating that they are unable to function. The next is someone's bipolar disorder was triggered when they were at the bottom of their burnout. So we're saying that somebody might have a genetic predisposition to bipolar disorder that was not activated for any reason in their lives, and burnout activated it in their lives. The next on the list is a Maria, which is a complete loss of your menstrual cycle. We're talking about basically healthy outside of the burnout Of course, menstruating people who end up without any menstruation, because their body just cannot keep up with that anymore. So that's hormone dysfunction, and all sorts of things. The next on the list was three months of intense vertigo. Vertigo is a type of dizziness that happened. So think about having three months of being unable to feel steady footed, even in your own home. The next was another three month long symptom. That seems to be a pattern. Three months of strep throat. If you've ever had strep throat, it is miserable. And it's miserable when it only lasts five days and we're talking about three months of strep throat, multiple antibiotics, unable to make a change, all related to burnout.
The next on the list is panic attacks. This one came up really, really frequently. I would say that within all of the people that responded there were about 120 responses to this question. that I post on Instagram. And in the Facebook group, I would say about 30% of people said that they had panic attacks, panic attacks feel like a heart attack, panic attacks make you feel like you're dying. This is really really scary stuff. And it doesn't get less scary. The next thing that people talked about were suicidal ideations. This is something we've talked about a lot on Friday. And most commonly, the pattern that I hear is this, I knew I didn't actually want to die. But I couldn't bear living anymore. So I started imagining driving off a road or falling off a cliff or jumping in front of a bus. And maybe I wouldn't die, but maybe I'd get some time in the hospital. So I could rest, maybe I'd just break a leg. Right? When people are thinking like this, this is really scary. The next thing that came up really frequently was a fear that your personality had changed, or that you had become stupid, or that you will never live up to your potential that you no longer have capability. So this is a massive fear that people were carrying. And this is very strongly related to burnout. I've seen this in so many people. And it's amazing to watch people's brains come back. And to watch people sort of come back online is what I usually say, in coaching, like, you're back online, you're remembering your numbers, you're remembering to your grocery list, you know, and that's always a really fun thing to have come back in the burnout recovery process. The next thing that a lot of people wrote about was having an inability being so fatigued, so deeply exhausted, that there's an inability to get out of bed and shower, and change your underwear, etc. This is just a deep, deep inability to provide yourself with normal, basic foundational level self care. The next thing that I read in this list was I was afraid that I'd be found dead at my desk. I was literally working myself to death. Right? After that, there was quite a few people that wrote that they had massive skin conditions. There were some hives on the list, some eczema, some psoriasis, but so severe that they didn't want to go out in public for long periods of time, a year or two or more. The next was hallucinations. Yeah, I just said hallucinations from burnout. I did, I said that. The next war, there were multiple near death experiences, where people's comments were burnout actually killed me. But I didn't die. After that, about 60% of people wrote severe brain fog. So we're back to this sort of idea of being feeling stupid and not being able to think not having any clear thoughts. I think those two things are related. Another was hating my family. And being continually angry and resentful, and bitter. Right. So not being the person that I want to be in my life not being the woman I want to be or the men I want to be not being the parent I want to be not being the sibling or the friend that I want to be. The next was huge patches of hair loss. This is actually something that I went through during my burnout as well. When I read that I was like, oh, yeah, I forgot I forgot about that symptom, but massive hair loss. And then the last thing on this list, for now, of course, like I said, 120 people responded to this query. So there's lots of things that I could write, but I wanted to give you enough, just so that you understand that this is not a joke. And the last thing on this list is a triggering of various autoimmune disorders, anything from Hashimotos, so a fibroid disorder, to multiple sclerosis, to various forms of arthritis, to any other autoimmune disorder that you can think of.
So I want you to just take that list for a minute and pause and recognize that what we're talking about with burnout is really severe illness, possible, inability to function, and death. We are not talking about just being a little bit tired. We're talking about bodies physically breaking down in various ways, under the pressure of stress. So to all of my HR professionals and bosses and companies and burnt out people. When somebody comes and says that they're burnt out, it needs to be taken seriously. This like any other diagnosis, and like any other thing can be misconstrued, it can be abused, of course. But more often, I hear that people are requesting help, saying that they are burnt out. And it is being poo pooed. And people are saying, Oh, you're just tired, just take a break, you'll be fine. I'm telling you today, that a week or two weeks or even four weeks of time off, is not going to solve someone's burnout, there needs to be a different level of support, there needs to be shifts on an organizational level, a lot needs to happen so that someone can recover from this. And if they don't recover from this in a fair amount of time, we are risking this massive list of things that I just gave you, which we don't want to risk in any human, nevermind in our own employees. That is all I have to say today. This was a little bit hard for me to read. Because even though I listened to these stories all day, every day, it's still just so heartbreaking to me that this is what people are putting up with. And they are not believed. Because we don't really know enough about burnout yet to explain why all these different things happen and why this happens in person A and that happens in Person B. But what I need you to start doing is believing people, please, please believe people when they say I'm burnt out, because the they might not be sick just yet. But without the right support they will be and they deserve our support and our help. So if you are in a company where there is a large majority of people that are saying that they are burnt out, I do do corporate workshops, you can hire me I can come in, we can do whole programs that lasts three to six months depending on what your needs are. There's so many opportunities for us right now to change the way things are being done. Post pandemic because of burnout for all sorts of reasons. So if you need help and guidance on how to get this out of your business practice, please let me know. You can find all the information about speaking on my website at Cait donovan.com All right. You deserve all the goodness that's coming your way.