View Full Version : I burnt out

09-19-16, 12:03 PM
In our lives, we often look for the worthiness to feel justified in our emotional pain. As if our emotions could help us come to some kind of resolutional paradox. But pain, breeds more pain.

I've tried to understand my pain of failure and shame of being considered extremely bright but failing life.

One of my coping mechanisms is to try to understand pain. I think the reasons are partly because I never had anyone to blame for it but myself. I thought that I could rationalize my emotional pain or control it through medications.

The meds made it worse however. It was in hanging around the clinical system and watching how people handled pain, that I got a sense of normalization over how I felt.

It wasn't until a lecture was given about burnout by a therapist and former firefighter that I started to make sense of my pain and the universal suffering of systemic healthcare.

Both men were different from other speakers on this topic as they had personally witnessed the deaths during the morning of 9/11.

The firefighter gave an order that led to the death of his entire department and the therapist told an equally compellingly sad story of being a young therapist that was now in over his head in having to deal with the aftermath of the trauma that they both found themselves in. They had burnt out not too long after that ordeal, and they changed their lives. The firefighter was no longer a patient of the therapist and the therapist was now a shoe salesmen. They became good friends under these circumstances.

They talked us, the audience, about recognizing burn out within yourself and others.

I asked a question at the end that made me think about their answer.

I asked if people bring burnout into the helping professions before they were ever burnt out?

The therapist answered and said, it was in his experience, that people with a troubled past such as experiencing early abuse and trauma, go down one of two possible paths, they either become criminals or they go into the helping professions (firefighters, police officers, therapists etc.)

That isn't to say everyone in the helping profession is burnt out or had hard childhoods, but his answer caught me by surprise.

Unfortunately, I couldn't ask anymore questions as they were out of time.

I spent a year thinking about that question and the answer that was given.

I saw my coworkers differently. I saw my coworkers as people in need of support and not the emotionless mechanizations of an incompetent Healthcare conglomerate. They hated me but
I actually tried to advocate for my coworkers as often as I advocated for the clients.

I confronted my boss, told her that the team was falling apart because no one was acknowledged for their hard work or efforts. She probably would have thought it was about me, except that I had just been yelled at by one of my coworkers and my boss expected me to be angry at the coworker.

I didn't really blame the coworker, I felt like it was job stress due to no one hearing "good job." The company had lost millions, and it was now under pressure by Medicaid to do more with less or it could expect to lose millions more.

Productivity "measures" were being put in place and it seemed like everyone was on a witch hunt.

I was singled out a lot, but I didn't blame my team. I was angry at the system the management was creating because I believed there were better ways to react.

I just wanted to see a system that didn't encourage internal competitiveness. I had a lot of ideas as to the solutions but no one listened to me for a long time.

I emailed, bothered, bugged everyone in positions high and low. (Topped out at bugging the COO.)

I had found myself in several semi secret committees, that were held by the leadership of the multimillion dollar company. These committees prepared for nothing and seemed driven to solve nothing. They felt more like social clubs.

I felt like I was really close to the solutions however, so I spoke up and went anyways. People listened a bit but In spite of that, I felt like my position in these committees were just to shut me up. When I talked, I received silent glares and stares.

I learned to adapt with meetings, when I was interrupted frequently, I learned to speak last but even if people were now listening, it didn't mean that they felt moved to risk their careers and change anything.

I think that I would have given up if not for one clients progress.

I was the last stop between him and no service provider or care. He had been through many therapists, so much so that he seemed untreatable by many of the therapists accounts.

In spite of that, I took on his situation. The original objective was for me to convince him to want to go back to therapy, but I could see by his strong resolve in stating that "I am not going back," that this wasn't going to happen.

I decided, and with my bosses approval, to mentor him instead.

I don't know why but something within me just knew I could help him. I did have a plan however. He was the first client I worked with.

Over the course of 6 months, I and others saw him improve significantly.

When I first started working with him, my boss wanted him to go onto mood stabilizers such as anti psychotic medications. The system protocol was to drug him until he was "manageable."

I managed to get more time before this happened and he systematically went off of all of his meds one by one. This choice was made by his care provider and adoptive guardian. I didn't know this and neither did anyone else.

As he improved, the therapists thought it was the medications that worked so well for him, but I always knew,otherwise.

I don't believe that I was the reason that he got better. I simply helped him find the questions he needed to ask to make the choice to live up to what he believed he was and wanted to be.

One day he made a choice to live up to the person that he knew that he could be.

One day, after a few a few months of making many gains and getting better, he relapsed and became severely depressed and unmotivated. It was the anniversary of his mothers death.

When I saw him, he was just laying on the carpet depressed, unwillimg to move or get up. I asked him who he was. He told me he had the heart of warrior when I first met him. He told me that he wanted to fight. So I told him to get up and realize that he was a fighter. That he didn't have to do anything for anyone else but him. That he could make a choice to live up to the man that he knew he was.

The kid got up and seemed to snap out of it.

He told me later on that his goal wasn't to fight people anymore, but to fight hard enough every day just to say thank you and to honor his mom's memory.

When he said that, he taught me something about life. That we don't always know where we are going, or if we can successfully make a difference in our lives, but no matter what happens we can choose to live life giving thanks and honoring the memory of the ones that inspired us.

That was the day he set an unbeatable record at the facilities gym and I realized that he didn't need me now and I could take a step back.

In that moment I got back up the courage to speak again when I spoke in a meeting.

That weeks meeting when we were asked what we were thankful for I said that I was thankful for the fact that there was so much left for me to learn from both the clients and my coworkers. That there was so much good that I learned was possible.

After that, they seemed to listen more. My boss was willing to talk about the solutions I had. Plans went in place and change had actually happened.

They built three new facilities based on the ideas "my boss had."

It wasn't an easy thing though. The changes were too little too late and they didn't prevent lay offs.

Politics were still rampant but it was a start. I quit and gave my two weeks. I think I had gone past burn out. My last day there and the lay offs had happened, it was inevitable but I felt optimistic.

With the start of all these new places, I thought they might need a system to manage it. I started a company with just me and my fiancee. I Planned the design for a new kind of healthcare system.

We built a new kind of EHR system that would predict services, automate billing, and show capacity metrics.

The place that I used to work at, outreached me and I'm bidding the project for one of their clinics, to trial it.

I have no college degree and countless failures. This may not work out at all. But I feel optimistic. I found that no matter what happens, I can not leave behind the things that others have taught me.

I try now to say thank you to others in as many ways as I can. To the people I can not say thank you to, I try to say it silently, by living up to the values they taught me.

Namely the good things that can be brought and built by supportive communities like add forums.

I don't think I could thank this community enough for what it has done for me.

Thank you for skimming

09-19-16, 01:15 PM
Thank you for sharing your journey. I'd been wondering what you were up to these days. Good to see you around.

09-20-16, 03:23 AM
How is the master?

09-20-16, 03:24 AM
I thought it was going to be a sad story

09-21-16, 02:22 AM
I thought it was going to be a sad story

It's all about where one chooses to end the story that can make it sad or happy.

09-21-16, 02:36 AM
Thank you for sharing your journey. I'd been wondering what you were up to these days. Good to see you around.

I felt like I had to take my own advice before I gave any out again.

I had posted a post here on the forums about following ones passion at any costs, including ones job. I felt like I wasn't living up to my own suggestion.

So I held off on giving my opinions to the forums until I had quit my job to follow my passion, at least where it is at for now. :D

I think I am happier though for following my passion/dream. Even if it fails, I am happy for trying.

09-21-16, 09:12 AM
I felt like I had to take my own advice before I gave any out again.

Glad you are back and hope you are here to stay, especially if your reason for leaving is the above.

If all of us had to take our own advice before we gave it, well this board would be empty. Your advice can be good even if you don't follow it yourself or it doesn't end up working for you (it can still work for others). And not every single piece of advice a person gives is always right - we are human after all.

Your posts are always among my favorites because I love your storytelling style of writing that is often filled with passion. I find it among the most inspiring of all the posts here even though I don't always agree completely with everything you post.

09-22-16, 04:04 PM
Welcome back, and what an incredible story to share. It sounds like you've made some dramatic changes to your life, and that it's showing great promise. I'm happy you're not in a position to create the change you want to see in the system.

The information system is abysmal where I work, though thankfully they're currently evaluating its future replacement, so it's bound to be better than what we have now, right?

I've toyed with returning to programming, but I'm not there yet. Though I am accepted and supported by my colleagues, I do see signs of burnout in myself, and I don't want to wait until I'm completely falling apart before doing something to remedy it. It may involve a change in job, or career, or it may involve returning to the basics of my job here.

Change is scary though; I'm impressed with your bravery in taking the leap! I wish you all the best, and am happy that you're back so you can keep us up to date as things develop!

09-22-16, 05:42 PM
Whew ...that's quite a journey an artist, I follow a single path, and am in awe of people who can work with Dad was a doctor, and I always thought of him as a Dr. Welby in real life....totally devoted to his patients....everything else came second, and that included my Mom, sister and I.....but Mom knew that going in ...and made sure Katy and I understood that growing up ...not saying I thought it was a good idea, but that was Daddy ....

.....but he lived in a very different time ....( he's been gone for more than 30 years now) ...medicine was practiced in ways that are quaint now....the field has advanced so far in the last 30 years, that new methods for treatment require new ways of treating patients too .....

....Factor into that the change in society's view of work in the last 30 years, and the way that companies operate now ...and it's remarkable that any sort of humanity remains in the world of medicine ....and without the magic for lack of a better word that exists between doctor and patient, a great deal is lost ....the Kaiser sort of medical care is brutal in the way people are treated both the professionals, and the patients, ....they suck the humanity out of the whole equation .....personally I think that's a nightmare situation .....

....Any medical person who manages to maintain their humanity and sense of personal care towards their patients is becoming more and more rare .....burnout is hitting the profession hard ...and sooner than it used to ......doctors and nurses especially are bailing while they're relatively young might be that soon, the grey haired old doc has gone the way of the dodo.....

....We all lose and lose in a big way when medicine becomes a machine that humans go into a box, are treated and come out of that box .....when it's become mechanical instead of a human process.....

...I know there are many in the profession who are trying for fight this, knowing that respecting each human involved is essential for good health care glad to read your story and find here's yet another who gets it ...and is fighting for intelligent health care ....

...I am impressed ....