Something that to be honest, isn’t that well understood unless you or someone close has been like that.
Personally, I didn’t realise how badly I was burned out until I’d had to be signed off work. I was having distinct changes in mood, happy, sad, upset for no reason. I couldn’t remember things I’d done the day before, things I do every day, work I’d done months ago that I’d usually recall easily, I just couldn’t remember it. My brain was just mush. Like a fog had settled inside my head. I couldn’t think straight either. I made simple mistakes way out of character. Trapped in a cycle of anxiety resulting in feeling worse, more mistakes, more anxiety, and finally breaking point. I struggled for a fair while just getting myself to work never mind actually managing to carry out my job, but somehow maintained the façade until as previously written, I cracked. I wasn’t sleeping very well, and the sleep I was managing wasn’t good quality, I was ruminating about things at work that I knew were out of my control, and I couldn’t seem to relax on an evening after work.
Aside from that, it’s a slow recovery from burnout. I’ll be honest (when am I not!) It’s a struggle to adjust from working , being in that set routine day after day for almost a year, to suddenly not being there any more, not speaking every day to my friends at work, that I unknowingly was pretty close to, well I suppose when you speak to someone almost every day for over 3 months you get close, not sticking my head into my bosses office to check in on a morning talking about random rubbish, not meeting up with everyone in the canteen at lunchtime to chat, even to the point of almost losing the familiarity and the feeling of isolation, or being out of the loop. It’s particularly hard as I know it was absolutely the right call. I’m already missing my workmates, even my boss, it just feels so…. strange. Like a little piece of me was left there. It will probably be like that for a while to be honest. Mental illness is no walk in the park, that’s for sure, it loves to kick you when you’re already down. Sometimes inside I feel like crying but on the surface, nothing comes out. I get the feeling at some point I’ll just have a small meltdown then be able to finally put it to bed.