Monday, August 24, 2015

Burnout, Real Life Edition

This is post 17 of 31 for the Blaugust event. To check out more Blaugust posts and sign up to participate, visit the Blaugust Nook!

We've all experienced burnout before in games. We play it so much that we just get drained and are over the game, so we move onto something else. And I'm sure folks have experienced this to a degree in real life--work gets overwhelming, or you're just extremely busy with other obligations and you get tired and drained.


But did you know it can actually cause harm to you physically and emotionally? Burnout isn't just something that we think of as "overworked". Burnout is considered a psychological disorder as a part of the DSM-5, and is, according to various recent research, probably a form of depression.

(Granted, I feel there's some over-diagnoses going on in mental health as a whole (EVERYTHING IS A DISORDER! WHEEEE!), but that is neither here nor there, and I do recognize that there are some disorders and diagnoses that are tried-and-true, as it were, as I do suffer from some of my own mental health problems.)

How does this relate to depression and burnout and gaming? Well, let me tell you.

If you didn't know, I suffer from minor depression/anxiety issues, and as of late, I've felt completely overwhelmed in my personal and work life. And not just "oh man, work was busy" (thought it has been). I'm completely and utterly drained. I've been on "Energizer Bunny" setting since we moved at the end of July. Considering it is the end of August, that's a whole month.

And it is definitely something that's been affecting me in many ways. Not only has my depression and anxiety gotten worse, but my value systems have changed (prioritizing everything else above my own needs is a big one), I've been neglecting myself (not just hobbies and the like, but emotional and physical health and well-being), I've withdrawn, felt like a shell of myself, and just generally experienced extreme symptoms of depression like being constantly tired, overeating, etc. It's gotten to the point where it's extremely difficult to concentrate on anything, including gaming and blogging.

I'm sure most of my friends didn't notice. Aside from maybe being sparser than usual, and not spending a lot of time in TeamSpeak or multi-player games overall.

For those who have never suffered depression, consider yourself lucky. Trying to dig yourself out of a hole like that is extremely difficult. At least, it usually is. The hard part for me was talking about it, and addressing it. But once I told Chaide about how I was feeling, I started to feel a little bit better. I could see the sun's rays through the clouds, so to speak. What's helped me the most, though, was getting permission to turn off Energizer mode. Once I had that permission, it was like I was able to move past a lot of my stress and start taking care of me.

As of today I'm feeling a whole lot better. I'm still trying to take care of me, but I feel like I can better balance my obligations and the like. It helps a little to talk about it, too. Burnout is real. And not just "I'm tired of games" burnout. Real-life burnout is vicious. But it's not something one has to struggle with.

Mental Health Awareness Month was back in May, but it is always relevant to say that if you ever feel unlike yourself for whatever reason, know that there are others in the same position, and that it is not a sign of weakness (or whatever negative attribute that has been attached to it) to search for help, or even just to talk to another person about it.

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