I am dealing with burnout. Over the past few days, I have been so focused on what I love that I have spent hours non-stop on my computer learning, listening, giving in to my addiction, and isolating myself. Yes, it is that time of year called March Madness and my addiction right now is to college basketball and I have been filling out my brackets!!!
Ha, Ha, Ha … had you worried, there didn’t I?
My sobriety is going well. For the past 6 months, I have had very low levels of temptation, for which I am very thankful. However, burnout is a very real thing in many of our lives so I thought I would write about that today. Here is something I found on the Mayo Clinic website;
“Burnout” isn’t a medical diagnosis. Some experts think that other conditions, such as depression, are behind burnout. Some research suggests that many people who experience symptoms of job burnout don’t believe their jobs are the main cause. Whatever the cause, job burnout can affect your physical and mental health. Consider how to know if you’ve got job burnout and what you can do about it.
Job burnout symptoms
- Have you become cynical or critical at work?
- Do you drag yourself to work and have trouble getting started?
- Have you become irritable or impatient with co-workers, customers, or clients?
- Do you lack the energy to be consistently productive?
- Do you find it hard to concentrate?
- Do you lack satisfaction from your achievements?
- Do you feel disillusioned about your job?
- Are you using food, drugs, or alcohol (or sex) to feel better or to simply not feel?
- Have your sleep habits changed?
- Are you troubled by unexplained headaches, stomach or bowel problems, or other physical complaints?
I know that when I was in the depths of my addiction, 1997 – 2005, I had to deal with depression and burnout. It affected how I was feeling and what I was thinking and was a heavy burden crushing me every day. I am not sure if my depression was the cause of leading me to sexual sin for relief or if my sexual addiction was causing my depression. The answer doesn’t really matter. I was burned out and depressed every day and was acting out multiple times a week. I shudder to remember that hell that I was living in.
I believe that many of you might be in that place right now and my heart goes out to you. You feel trapped and hopeless and there are some thoughts entering your head about ways of escape. Most of them are bad thoughts and need to be rejected especially if they are suicidal thoughts.
For me, the journey of my recovery has included medications prescribed by my doctor and a visit to a psychiatrist. Getting out of the throws of depression AND fighting through the withdrawal symptoms of sexual addiction is an incredibly difficult battle. These two things feed on each other and can drive a person into deeper and darker caverns of the soul.
However, because you are reading or listening to this you have made a decision that you want to change. You have realized that your sexual sin, whether it be the cause of or the solution to some mental illness doesn’t matter, has you in a horrible place. It is a place of deep fear and loneliness. The meal of the day is bitterness and anger. Self-loathing and denial are the craft brews on tap and the bill is going to be enormous.
I just want you to know there is a reason to hope. There is no place so deep that the Lord will not repel down and come to your aide. As David writes in Psalm 139:7-12…
“Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.
If I say, “Surely the darkness will hide me
and the light become night around me,”
even the darkness will not be dark to you;
the night will shine like the day,
for darkness is as light to you.”
Burnout and depression are real and dangerous things and I hope you have someone you can go to and talk about these things. Depression can be dealt with by medications. However, it is not just you take a pill and suddenly it all goes away. You have to find the right medication, the correct dosage, and stay on it for a month to really begin to feel the effects.
If you are feeling depressed go, see your doctor. I have battled with depression for 30 years and I was amazed at how much better the medications helped me feel. If you have others around you saying you do not need medications, punch them in the face and go see your doctor. It is not a sin or a lack of faith to take medications. Aspirin can bring down a fever. Insulin can save the life of a diabetic. Medications are good things and for some of us…essential to good mental and physical health.
There is also healing that comes from the Lord and living in a community of others who will give you encouragement and support on a daily basis. Let me know if you are interested in visiting one of our Online Support Teams.