How did you get your nervous breakdown

Burnout symptoms: How I noticed that my battery was empty

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It's time to tell about my depressive episode. Do not think that this is easy for me. Even though burnout is being diagnosed with increasing frequency today, it still is a taboo subject. What should friends, family, acquaintances, colleagues, ex-colleagues and employers think? What if everyone only sees me in this light?

I've had these concerns for a long time. Today I come to the conclusion that it is ultimately a disease like any other. Only that there is no plaster of paris, the nose is not running, but the head is simply not playing along.

A good year ago I would have been very happy if I had one on the internet real, honest and detailed experience report found. Maybe that would have accelerated my way, i. H. made me realize more quickly that I was stuck in a burnout for a long time.

In this post you will learn my story so that you can understand where my insights come from. I also want to tell you about the symptoms I had at the time. I don't hope they look familiar to you. But if, this article may answer the question in the back of your mind: "Am I burned out?"

How exhaustion came about

In 2011 I quit my job in Leipzig and went back to university for a master's degree. It didn't cost me much to overcome because I liked studying and student life. Because of my relationship at the time, I decided to commute. It was sure to be step 1 into exhaustion. I was partial more than an hour and a half each way on road.

I was often stressed when I got home on my bike across town after half an hour. Cycling may be relaxing, but only if you don't have to fear for your life in urban rush hour traffic.

From then on it felt like it went downhill all the time. The one at that time The living situation also annoyed me. There was an ignorant property manager who didn't want to do anything about mold in any of the rooms, and tourists who trudged past the terrace and stared into the living room, shielding their eyes with their hands.

Student job and other construction sites

When we were forced to move, the next effort was imminent: the Relocation and some expansion work, since we moved into a former attic. Employment during the semester break was thus set. My way to university was shortened a bit, but it was precisely during this time that I landed another project: one student job.

I was right away with full commitment and also got a lot of tasks. Of course I felt honored by that too.

I was hardly at home in the fall. My tasks did not let me go. At the end of the day I also had to finish my master’s degree.

With the waning sunlight, strength and energy left me. The winter was hard. I was growing callous, unbalanced and certainly difficult to bear. With a lot of diligence I fought against the mountains of tasks and always thought to myself:"Once I ... have done it, things will get better."

So I shook myself from week to week. Surprise: It didn't get any less work. Why also? I finally did well.

Final sprint master

It soon became apparent that I was sure to have a job at the university. All I had to do to get the job was mine Master speed up and be ready in July - instead of September.

So I gave it my all and wrote my master’s thesis in half the time. At least I was able to get a 10-day vacation in the correction phase of the master's thesis. But then it started immediately. Ten minutes after my defense I learned my new responsibilities. After a few days, the first business trip was due. Preparation and follow-up work immediately took over me.

Within a very short period of time, I was so deeply involved in my work as if I'd been employed for years. I also enjoyed it, but my strength was noticeably dwindling. Sometimes I was so stressed that I didn't go to the bathroom for eight hours. Sometimes I ran in the hallway to save time. Sometimes I could have screamed because I was so overwhelmed.

I got up in the morning and could have cried. A certain hopelessness spread, because I saw no end to this high-performance phase.

After another long business trip, the year and I came to an end.

New year - no new luck

I started 2014 with just as little energy as I ended the previous year. I hardly managed to do anything either, because I did couldn't concentrate. If I read something for half a minute, I felt like I had to do something else.

I couldn't sleep, my work seemed pointless and doubts were spreading whether such a life is worth living. Of course, my exhaustion also affected my social relationships. I just didn't have the strength to take care of my relationship and friends. I also only talked about my work and my problems. I constantly wondered how long I would be able to hold out.


If you have any doubts as to whether you suffer from burnout, the following are the symptoms I have had. In any case, I would advise you to seek advice from a professional (family doctor and psychologist).

15 symptoms that indicate burnout

The whole months were overshadowed by an unbelievable one Powerlessness and lack of drive. Even doing laundry seemed unimaginably exhausting to me. I put it off as long as possible. It was the same for me with calls, errands, tidying up, cleaning, cooking, washing up, even showering.

In my free time I couldn't think of anything other than work. Usually I came to my (really nice) apartment after a few hours of overtime, sat motionless on the couch and after a few hours went to bed to lie awake for a few hours. My Thoughts revolved around the tasks and problems at work.

My mood was permanently in the freezer area. Even on TV shows like The Simpsons, I couldn't even smile anymore. In general there was with me hardly any emotional impulses. No joke, no good news, no encouraging words could make me feel happy. I was often in a bad mood and sad, although I couldn't give an explicit reason. Several things always came together, but I couldn't always explain them exactly. I was most likely to cry while watching sad movies, but overall I was as emotional as a paperweight.

My work seemed pointless to me because I kicked and kicked, but it didn't get any less. My leisure seemed pointless to me because I couldn't enjoy it.

When I noticed that my strengths were close to zero, I went into a protective energy-saving mode in which I fended off all "superfluous" activities. I said more and more often: "I can't possibly take care of it." For example, I prophesied months in advance that I would not be able to organize a birthday party.

Thanks mine Negative filters everything seemed bad to me. No matter what happened. I only talked about my problems when I talked to someone on the phone. Problems and excitement at work were very popular. Today it seems almost unbelievable to me how much time and energy I put into it.

To make myself less alone with my worries, I sometimes tried mine Interlocutor with pulling down. So I wanted to feel less bad about myself. That might work for the moment, but of course not in the long term.

sleep disorders I had for months. Some nights I didn't sleep at all. My carousel of thought spun and spun.

Often my day was over the moment I put one foot on the floor in front of the bed. I was absolutely annoyed.

When I was exhausted, I withdrew - like many others, I am sure. To regain my strength, I skipped meetings and birthday parties. It was a fallacy because friends are the most likely to help you out of the depressive episode (or prevent you from sliding into it). But the Withdrawal reflex prevents that.

Just before I was taken out of service, mine sank Productivity to zero. I could hardly concentrate on anything for more than half a minute.

Those who have many tasks and solve them well get more and more. At some point the feeling spreads: 'The store won't run without me' and 'Nobody can do that except me'. It's rubbish, of course. But this feeling moved me to persevere for a long time. I saw no way out.

When I had been on sick leave for a few weeks and finally went to the hairdresser again, my hairdresser asked me what had happened so many months ago. I had right at the time of High stress phase. Hair lost all over the head. They were just about to grow back.

It is clear that the skin does not look great. It is not for nothing that it is considered a mirror of the soul.

If you are more likely to gain weight with stress because you are a stress eater, you may be seeing this symptom in yourself. I was more likely to lose weight because I didn't have time to eat and so often went hungry.

Here are my symptoms again clearly presented:

  1. Powerlessness and lack of drive
  2. Can't switch off
  3. No joy in anything
  4. Feeling of futility
  5. Fending off all "superfluous" activities
  6. Negative filter and only talk about problems
  7. Try to pull others down
  8. Cannot fall asleep / thought carousel
  9. Bad mood in the morning
  10. Neglect friends and hobbies
  11. Lack of concentration / unproductivity
  12. Felt isolation
  13. Hair loss
  14. Skin problems
  15. Increase decrease

When I began to doubt whether I might be burned out, I clicked through a few Online tests (here, here and here) and lo and behold: of course I answered all questions with yes. It became more and more clear that I couldn't be quite fit anymore.

Of course, there is never a good time to stay home. But sometime in February I decided to see my family doctor. That immediately pulled me out of circulation.

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