I’m in the process of migrating my mental health blog, Understand PTSD and ADHD, over to this domain in an effort to centralize my blogging efforts. With that also comes a content strategy that I’m putting together. 2016 will be a busy year for this blog.
I’ve already republished my first post, The Co-mingling of Burnout, PTSD, and ADHD. As I was re-reading it, I realized something that hadn’t occurred to me before: burnout is nearly impossible to detect until it is too late. While my blog entry talks about the importance of recognizing the signs, I don’t really talk about distinguishing it from general fatigue and exhaustion.
You see, lately, my wife has had some issues with insomnia, and it’s usually due to higher-than-normal anxiety. PTSD is a 24/7 battle; it truly is. My wife deals with it from the moment she wakes up one day to the moment she wakes up the next day. Because PTSD is a 24/7 uphill battle, the level of exhaustion could easily be construed as burnout, even though it might just be exhaustion.
So what’s the difference between burnout and exhaustion?
It’s the same kind of difference as Alzheimer’s versus dementia. Alzheimer’s is a special type of dementia, just like burnout (also called emotional exhaustion syndrome) is a specialized form of exhaustion. I think of burnout as kind of the tipping point of exhaustion: once you cross that line, there’s no going back, much like the theoretical event horizon in a black hole. You may feel exhausted from everyday activities for a long time, but there comes a point that burnout is imminent. Where that point is depends on each individual.
I’ll be writing more about recognizing that threshold in the coming weeks and months. Be sure to stay tuned.
And as always, thanks for listening. ¶