As some of you know, for the past almost 2 years, I’ve been dealing with a burnout. The buildup, the breakdown and now recovering. I am, in fact, doing quite well! :D
I volunteer once a week at a volunteer restaurant and work small design jobs as well as exercising, all to get my stamina back up. With rest in between. Slowly but surely, I’m improving.
But as I’m moving forward, boobieguy seems to be starting to fall apart. He’s been dealing with the stress of, well me, for the last 2 years. Dealing with the worries as I got sicker and sicker, breaking completely down mentally and physically, ending up having to quit working and then long months of yoyo-ing my way back to where we are today. Besides that he’s had some very high stress things happening at work, at his previous job, then here and now lately again. I can tell the stress is getting to him and I’m worried.
Today he said that he was scared. Scared of becoming broken, like me. Which is a very realistic thing to fear. We are very alike, him and I. I told him earlier this week that I’m seeing warning signs in him, several of the phases of burnout apply (a psychologist identified 12 phases of burnout that one goes through -not chronologically- before getting to a burnout). He has great trouble letting go. When I suggested taking a few weeks off, for a holiday, this seems like an impossible ask for him. He’s afraid the company will fall apart or go bankrupt without him. Which it won’t. And even if it would, it wouldn’t be his responsibility.
If he keeps going down this road, he’ll end up where I did. And I badly want him not too. I told him many times that if he steps in now, takes some time off and learns how to manage his stress then and/or afterwards, he’ll likely be fine. My cousin was in the preliminary stages of burnout but after hitting the brakes as soon as he could and taking a month+ off, he was back at work and just fine. He’s still good. (we’re going to barcelona for 5 days and then he’ll stay with his work for another 3 or so days, but that really isn’t enough time to create mental distance or enough chance to chill the f*ck out)
He just seems extremely afraid of even taking a bit of time off. And it’s exactly that fear that worries me. I know, from experience, that he needs to take time off. To get some distance. To let his breath catch up. To let the stress that’s built up in him go down, an inch at a time. To enjoy himself. But he can’t imagine that right now. And that’s exactly the problem.
He’s talked to his boss. He’s been going off at work more and more and he’s expressed that he’s not been having a good time and they’ve noticed. They are sympathetic and understanding. They say they don’t want to create a work-culture where overtime or stress is considered normal, but the last weeks have been rough. They are open, but I don’t know how cooperative they’ll be. Another colleague of him just took ill for mysterious reasons (burnout, if you read it, I called it first) so they have every reason to be careful.
I’m worried and I don’t know what to do. He has too learn on his own, I know that. I can only share what I’ve learned and hope he doesn’t have to get so far down this road. That we can take a U-turn before he gets too far.