Updated: Dec 22, 2018
A lot of the reactions I get, including those here on the forum, are from the people who support burnout victims. So I thought, let’s give a few quick pointers on what to expect when you are part of the Help Team.
The first thing is: you don’t always need to offer help! A burnout patient is feeling bad. And here’s the kicker: they should allow that feeling. Feeling bad will steer them into knowing what behaviour they need to feel good again. So trying to help them or encourage is not always the way forward. Sometimes they just need to feel it all sucks. It is good to just acknowledge the negative, even when you don’t understand it.
Another tip is to back off when you feel like doing so. If the burnout patient is taking too much of your energy you should simply back away. Don’t hesitate and don’t give in to passionate pleas, just take some distance. This will actually help the victim. First of all they need you to remain strong. And secondly it is good for them to be confronted with reality, as it will speed up their recovery. Don’t be harsh… but do be firm.
It is also good if you have a sense of what the victim is going through. A good way to look at it is that they are suffering a traumatic experience, comparable in stress levels to accidents and war traumas. A burnout patient has so much stress hormones flowing through their body they have trouble living and connecting to the present. They are either mentally reliving the past constantly or creating non-existent scenarios in their mind about what could happen in the future.
So if things are going really bad you should reconnect them with the here and now. Connect them with their surroundings, with their body (a hug for instance will work) and by talking to them.
So those are just a few first pointers. Remember, they feel bad and need time to rebuild their body and psyche. But they will inevitably recover. So standing firm is enough.
And take it easy. Love.