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danni
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It's time to admit to myself and everyone else that I'm not happy. I thought when the employee whom I've been covering for since May came back that things would be better. The work load is. It's managable. But my feelings about my job are not. I continue to paint on the smile. I'm supportive and enthusiastic. But...I'm not happy. I recognize that I am completely burned out. Trying to do at least two full time jobs and at most 4 on and off during the last 3 months has tapped all my resources. So.....now I'm doing some soul searching. Is the reason I haven't finished my PHD dissertation because I don't want to be in this business anymore? Have I ever really helped people or was I deluding myself? I've always felt that what I have to give is never enough and this summer has really cemented that belief. I could not only not get everything done....everything I did do felt like such a compromise!! Along with that, another employee just told me she is having a baby. I can't do this again in a few months!!

So.....if I get out of human services/therapy.....then what??? That's all I've ever done!! Maybe my mom's right. I am a waste of a life :D

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Ach, you're not a waste.

You may be a bit lost. But that's what you've been trying to do: lose yourself in your work. It's not work's fault that the thing that's driving you is inside your head with you ...

Please. Would you consider getting it out of there, before doing anything more drastic?

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Have I ever really helped people or was I deluding myself?

Oh danni ...

I think you are deluding yourself if you think that you HAVEN'T helped people.

My opinion is, you need a break from your profession. Go and do something else - anything, really, to keep financially afloat. Have a good long think about everything from the vantage point of distance. Become aware of what you miss and what you don't miss. Become aware of what it is you love to do, the role you love to play in life. Become aware of what you need and how you can get this from a job. All these things become clearer when you aren't immersed in a situation.

It's your time now, danni.

(and this 'waste of a life' thing has got to go ...!)

{{{hugs}}}

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I'm sorry I missed this last night. :)

I agree that your mother's words have got to go...

I know you don't see it or believe it yet, but you are a gift.

You offer a calming and firm voice of reason. (Great for helping overly-emotional types such as myself stay grounded) I have NO doubt that you've helped people.

What about an extended vacation? Would that be possible? Also, maybe consider what Malign suggested? Take care of your own needs for a while and see where it leads you.

(((danni)))

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C'mon you know your not a waste fo life, Danni. You are a very strong, compassionate workaholic who just need to sit back and reflect on YOU for a while. Career changes are hard but how about a little diversion in the same field of work?

I'm not sure exactly what you do, you say you are in human services/therapy is there another path in the field you can take that will help you and still feel productive and useful without burning yourself out?

I wish you luck in reflecting and making a positive change in your career... :)

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I do have a vacation planned for October. I'm going on a Disney cruise with 12 of my friends and I'm really looking forward to it. It feels like such a long time since I've had time away without being on-call or anything. Maybe I'll get a second wind when I get back.

I'm very happy for my employee who's having a baby but the thought of doing another 3 month stint covering for someone leaves me feeling even more empty and it hasn't even happened yet.

I should be thankful I have a job when there's so many people struggling to get by.

Linda, I'm a department director for a human service agency but when I was promoted to that job, I kept a small caseload of clients whom I had been seeing for a long time which was my choice, not a requirement. I have been considering stopping direct therapy. I'm probably not in the best place to do them any good when i have self doubts anyway. I would feel bad referring them to one of my staff because we have been working together for awhile but I also know that I have awesome people working under me so they would all be in good hands and probably better than in mine.

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Your vacation sounds like exactly what you need, enjoy every minute of it :(

I see and understand your predictament with feeling responsible for your clients.

I guess you have a few choices to make, if you decide to eventually stop you could include another therapist in almost like an intern position and do the session together and see how the client reacts.

Then that might ease your feeling of burden or it might be just what you need to realize although you are having self doubts and difficulties right now, you may not want to give up that small piece of who you are and know you do make a difference.

We all need to feel like we make a difference. What else can you do that will make you feel good in doing what you do best?? :)

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I couldn't make myself go to work today. I called in sick although I'm not. I guess now that I'm letting myself off autopilot I'm finding myself more burned out than I thought I was. I'm running on empty and keep thinking about another 3 months picking up someone elses's job and it deflates me all the more. Hmmm....wonder if I'll be "well" tomorrow. :(

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Danni,

You know about negative self-talk. Of course, thinking about extra work ahead is deflating. Can you check that talk for the usual stuff: awfulizing, extreme thinking, distortions of all sorts? Can you bounce your talk off of someone else, for an objective opinion?

If you won't do therapy, you're going to have to find another way to get yourself through, when the depression starts to talk.

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I'm actually not depressed right now. I'm just burned out and tired. I've been thinking a lot about how to make it managable for me. Hiring for the interim isn't really a possibility because it would take as much or more work to train that person than to do it myself. By the time they got going the other employee would be returning soon.

I also thought about dividing her caseload amongst the others. But they are overworked too and are drowning with the caseloads they already have so I would feel bad dumping more on them. Especially since I'm already thinking about spliting my caseload amongst them permanently.

I have talked to the other department directors and they're just as much or more burned out as I am. My load is crazy but I'm not the one struggling the most there. I'm probably 3rd on the intensity scale :(

Maybe I just need to get past this initial panic moment and think a little more rationally. I'll figure it out. And if I need to just suck it up and do it...I will and it will probably be fine. It's only 3 months...right??

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That sounds like a great idea, and you may want to do that as often as possible before the 3 month overload time comes along....like take every Friday off for awhile, or work from home 1 day a week. I went through a period in the spring that was very intense for about 3 months, and frankly I was starting to break down both psychologically and physically. I too was feeling so overtired I wondered whether I could/should keep on doing this... but then I took Fridays off all summer, and reduced my stress to almost zero in my life so that I could rest my head, and I feel much better now than I did a few months back. It's important to recoup your energy, or else you become like a cell phone that you did not take the time to recharge, you become useless :( Time to give to youself as you give to others... it's important...

As to the useless part, that speaks of your mother's poor parenting skills and knowledged of psychology, who would say such a cruel thing to her daughter ???? Strike that from your mind and know that she is in error about you... and shame on her for saying such a thing!!!

Edited by Symora
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I like that idea symora. god knows I have plenty of vacation time!!! I did end up taking this whole week off. I spent a lot of time at the barn and with the new puppy.

Another part of me is in overdrive thinking that I HAVE to find a way to make that next 3 month stint managable. I did OK for the first couple of months this last time but the last month was sooooooo hard. A few crisis came up so that didn't help but the only through was to become so focused that it excluded the rest of my life. My friends were mad that I was non communicative but I needed just to back away and tunnel vision what I needed to do just to make it work. I don't think I can do that again though. The price is too high.

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Sometimes you just have to do what you have to do to keep afloat.... I'm so glad to hear you say that you took that time for yourself this week.

It does sound like your job will continue to be very taxing, so taking the time to recoup now will undoubtedly help you long term. I found that taking Fridays off for a couple of month was invaluable - having to work only 4 days a week, plus having 3 full days to do all my stuff what a perfect combination - I wish I could do it all the time! If you can't take 1 day off a week, perhaps you can at least work it from home so that you have one day where you can be in a quiet environment to get things done...

Did you get a new puppy or is it at the farm?

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danni-

Does it have to be YOU who takes on the extra work-load? It tends to land on the one in charge, but are there not some aspects you can give to others? Or failing which, aspects of your own job that could be handled by a temp or by others - the more mundane admin, say? It sounds only fair to spread the load, why do you have to assume it all yourself? You can tell them you took too much strain the last time and just won't be able to do it all again?

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