I am a 26 year old full time graduate student who also works full time. I have a bachelor’s degree in psychology and I am working on my masters in clinical mental health. However, even with all my knowledge of burnout and self care it seems that I may have done just that. Through all the stress of homework, studying and working with children with autism, I have started to think that my brain is mush. I am making stupid errors and mistakes some of them life threatening because of my inability to cope and be able to focus on anything outside of my schedule. Lately things have been getting worse. I have been crying all the time over little bitty things and I can’t seem to cope and jump back to situations at work. I took 2 mental health days off last week but through the weekend it seems like stress has still piled up. I have a history of depression and anxiety due to childhood illnesses. I was always in the hospital and I had a liver transplant when I was 17. Before then I was already seeing a therapist for depression because I felt useless and ugly and like i didn’t deserve to be on this earth. I used to self harm as well. I was able to make it through this rough stage seemingly unscathed, or at least it seemed like I wasn’t at the time. Now with stress I am beginning to have those feelings again. I have loss of self-worth and I have been wondering why I am here. I feel like a waste of life and like I need to just stay in my apartment and hide from the world. My anxiety of being out in crowds has returned as well. I am feeling defeated and like I was never meant to be happy in life because it seems that things just keep popping up.I know that time management is key, but it seems that even with that I am still finding myself extremely busy and constantly darting around and I still rarely have time for myself to relax.
A: You are describing a classic case of caretaker fatigue and stretching yourself too thin. It sounds like you know what you need to do, you just need a push to help you do it. If you “give it all away” you won’t have anything left for yourself, and then you also end up with nothing left to give others.
It is time to put yourself first and make some life changes quickly. I would suggest that you get back in therapy immediately and possibly be evaluated for medication as well.I would also suggest that you find a way to cut back on your responsibilities. There is no shame in knowing your limits and knowing when you have reached them.It may be that going to school full-time and working full-time in such a draining field is just too much.Go to part-time in one of these areas and find a way to build in time for exercise and self-care.Extending your goals is a much better option than not achieving them at all because you burned yourself out.
You’ve been through a lot already and have overcome many obstacles. Tap into this strength and wisdom to help you make the changes you need to make so that you can feel good about yourself again and all that you have accomplished.
Dr. Holly Counts is a licensed Clinical Psychologist. She utilizes a mind, body and spirit approach to healing. Dr. Counts received her Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Wright State University and her Masters and Doctoral degrees in Clinical Psychology from Nova Southeastern University. Dr. Counts has worked in a variety of settings and has specialized in trauma and abuse, relationship issues, health psychology, women’s issues, adolescence, GLBT, life transitions and grief counseling. She has specialty training in guided imagery, EMDR, EFT, hypnosis and using intuition to heal. Her current passion involves integrating holistic and alternative approaches to health and healing with psychology.
APA Reference Counts, H. (2018). Stress Is Causing Depression. Psych Central.
Retrieved on May 23, 2019, from https://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2014/11/18/stress-is-causing-depression/
Last updated: 8 May 2018 Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 May 2018 Published on Psych Central.com. All rights reserved.