So the other day I was asked what for me was or is the difference between burnout and depression. Since I’ve battled both on numerous occasions, I never have been asked that question before. And safe to say I really never thought about it.
What is the difference from my perspective?
In my heart I feel the two are very close together, they both make you feel paralyzed and confused. They both bring up emotions that are new and are so profoundly hard to go through. The best way to describe it is to look at them separately.
Burnout, to me, is feeling lost in your day to day life. Mostly focused on your day job, in my case, it was having a job and fulfilling a position that wasn’t at all satisfying. Or working at a firm that was not in line with my own principles. I’m a social worker at heart and in the corporate world its best to leave your heart at the door. During my burnout, I felt confused, exhausted, pep-talking to my self while driving to work trying to say thousands of things so my brain would feel okay with doing that shitty job and not actually helping anyone except for filling my bosses pockets. I would not have an appetite during those periods, and ultimately I would turn my frustrations towards my clients, who had absolutely nothing to do with it.
That for me was rock bottom, turning my frustrations towards my clients. Overall I would say that burnout causes you to carry around a stone in your stomach, constantly trying to overrule your own brain, you know your feelings are right but you just won’t listen to it. Why, because you feel like you have to do this job, you’re a loser if you would quit, give up, you won’t have any money if you even had the guts to leave your job, so I felt that I had to hang in there. Exhausted and emotional, I could literally cry about anything in that period of my life.
For me feeling depressed or being depressed is a sense of numbness. It can literally make me freeze and I’m no longer capable to feel for others, only for myself. Its kind of egocentric, its all about me, my feelings my pain my sadness. Depression takes away my ability to focus on others, I just don’t care anymore. Which is so weird because I’m HSP and so emotional about even a little kitten, and to then don’t care at all that’s so harsh.
It brings all the negative thoughts you could ever think off up in my brain, I feel worthless, ugly, fat, stupid, a total loser. I’m no fun to be living with, and constantly battling these emotions so my children won’t think I’m totally mad. For them, I use my last tiny bit of energy to somewhat be a normal mom, for whatever that means.
If I put depression and burnout next to one another I would say that burnout takes away a certain amount of joy in something you have been doing for quite some time, it makes you look around for answers which then will create an inner battle that you can’t come out of and that will exhaust you to your bones. Depression will totally shut you down, makes you irrational, emotional on a level you normally never would and will make you feel that the only way out is to just do nothing and wait for your last day to come and in the worst case scenario make you want to take your own life (which, I thank god, never ever did!!).
You beautiful person, please never forget that you are not alone! I see you and I feel your pain. There will come a day that it will be better and you will feel joy in your everyday life.