Here's Dr James Davies' tweet on his top 9 completely fictitious psych-diagnoses. Oddly, they all relate to burnout, and are difficulties my clients resolve through the Burnout Recovery program.
The suffering inherent in these conditions is immense, and it's no wonder that burnout sufferers buckle under the collective weight of them.
In this episode I give you some tips on how to deal with each of them, using the same methods that work for all my clients. You absolutely CAN recover from burnout and thrive again, at a level beyond anything you think possible.
Come talk to me about exiting burnout
Dr James Davies' tongue-in-cheek tweet
"My most-used psych-diagnoses* would be:
-Sane reaction (to e.g. poverty, abuse, overwork, inequality)
-Existential dread (of varying kinds)
*Shame they don't exist."
Ep#36 Championing Yourself
Ep#35 Taking your power back
Hi everyone, my name is Dex Randall, and this is the Burnout to Leadership podcast, where I teach professional men to recover from burnout and get back to passion and reward at work. Hey, lovely people, back with you today on the topic of well being, lost well being to be precise, or maybe you'd like to describe it as lost mojo. And if you're in burnout, lost well being will probably be kind of at once uppermost in your mind and also in the last peg, the one that's too painful to think about. And the reason this is coming up as a topic for me today is I saw a post on Twitter recently from an Associate Professor of Medical Anthropology and Psychology, and his name is Dr. James Davies, and he's a psychotherapist in the UK. And his tweet was about the top nine psych diagnoses he makes in his work, and I think it should be 10, he's missed one out, burnout. Anyway, his tweet says this, "My most used psych diagnoses would be," and I quote, "social suffering, situational distress, sane reaction e.g, to poverty, abuse, overwork or inequality, complex trauma, meaninglessness, existential dread," and he puts in brackets, "of varying kinds, loneliness, unmet needs, and just surviving syndrome." And he closes with, "shame they don't exist, these diagnoses." Anyhow, I'm gonna put the link to his tweet in the show notes if you'd like to find out more. But if all of that doesn't sound like the exact definition of burnout, I don't know what does, raising the question in my mind, in these interesting times, Are we all in or on our way to burnout? What do you think? And by the way, I'd say I do love Twitter because I follow basically quite a random bunch of people on there, and I'm perpetually surprised and quite often delighted by what comes up. And the common theme really in the people that I follow tends to be that they lead from the heart. I mean, not that other people don't, but I do like to see it made a very prominent and visible as a beacon to all of us, to take heart really and choose to reconnect. Because burnout is a disease of disappointment, disconnection and despair. And before I begin today, I'm just gonna say that I went to a funeral yesterday of a man from our surf club and he shocked the hide off me the day before he died when we were having coffee together and he seemed completely fine, but he shocked me by announcing his age, which was 81 and that was right after he told us that he was going skiing next week. Anyway, my next show was his funeral because he had about 500 mourners present and I was thinking, some people live a really big life, and in burnout, we do the dead opposite. Don't we? We live this tiny shut down damage control kind of life that feels awful. So I guess what I'm saying in this, if you're in burnout, any kind of burnout under any circumstances, at whatever age, gender, occupation and all that, it's not the end of the story. You're not dead yet and you can recover and have a big life. But you've got to do something. You've got to reach out for help. So, if you want that, I'm actually an expert in helping people re fluff their lives and return to deep fulfillment. That's what I do. And I'd love to help you do that. No matter how grim things are for you right now, you know the show is not over, you can have your mojo back when you're ready. I know, I just say all that because I see how many people pull off a miraculous and wonderful recovery from burnout against their own expectations usually. They usually think they can't, because I've got this guaranteed process and within a month, things are gonna look a ton more hopeful for you. I'm very passionate about this, as you can tell, because the suffering you have, the loss of well being is optional, it's temporary. So please don't give up, I beg you and don't stay bogged in it. Anyhow, I hope you're gonna think about that as we go through today's topic, on loss of well being. I'm going to go on to address Dr. Davies list of diagnoses. So alright, let's go through them together. Number one, social suffering. In burnout, as in probably so many other experiences of life, social suffering is prevalent simply because we feel inadequate. We think we should be other than we actually are. Social engagement seems kind of performative and we are giving ourselves a grade C or quite frequently below that down to an F, but that, if we do that, my friends, that is unfair. If you've got a kind heart and any ability to communicate, speech, eye contact, touch, energy, singing, a smile, an email, a hug, then you can give love. And if you're giving love, everything else above that is really optional. So be kind to you and take only your tender vulnerable heart into social situations. Observe, be present, stay open. Notice if you have any embarrassment, awkwardness, shame, fear, anxiety or vulnerability, and have compassion for yourself first. And then notice others too probably also squirming a little bit on the inside and have compassion for them also. Just stand on your own two feet and be receptive to the flow of life, which really is chiefly a flow of emotion. An emotion is just a vibration in the body, it can't actually damage you. But shutting down your emotions, disconnecting from people, causes stress and disease. It's not protective. Really, when we open gently to the experience of being around people, we might find it's not so bad just being human alongside them being human too. So if you can, when you can offer yourself and them kindness in your shared struggles to belong and to be social. Number two on the list situational distress. Well that one covers quite a bit of life really, doesn't it? Situational distress. The distress we have when something happens or someone says or does something and we interpret it as adverse or threatening in some way. Most of us are highly trained and skilled in interpreting what happens in a negative way. That's not our fault. We've been under too much stress too constantly for too long. And our fight or flight is triggered all the time. So we're hyper alert to risk, to threat. And then that kind of traps us in this cycle of anxious thinking. And I think this is what we call modern culture, right? We actually do know what good people are supposed to be like because advertising and marketing and media tell us, and we know we're not like that. There's a gap. And in that gap resides our tender unique humanity, the most special part of us. The reason we are here on this planet but we make that wrong. We make ourselves wrong. So situational stress it really just means I'm stuck in fight or flight. A normal reaction exaggerated until it fills all of our days and nights. And the only antidote I know to this repeated daily situational stress is full acceptance of the human that we are. Is the exact human we're meant to be. We are in fact all inherently perfect being ourselves is perfect and sufficient. The human being that we are trumps the kind of human doing that we are every time we can't act our way out of our discomfort and our feelings of failure or not enoughness. And when we're just being a human being, when we're acting from... Operating from our heart and from our good nature, any perception of weakness or failure is really just a thought error. We're just thinking something that's not actually true and then we're believing it. And if you work with me, I'm gonna teach you how to come to peace with who you are and find yourself enough, such that situations no longer really push you constantly into feelings of inadequacy and into fight or flight. Basically what you'll do is you'll learn to put your sense of safety over here, out of reach of daily situational triggers. And I think that's the thing well worth learning because really the suffering we have it's too intense for the kind of world that we find ourselves in. It's really a lot of it's really not necessary. I kind of can't choose it for myself. I can't keep choosing it for myself. Number three on the list same reaction to poverty, abuse, overwork, inequality, and all the other things I could really I could really make a whole episode on just this one. But anyway, we know that on one level our reactions to life are sane. It's just that we think they're not socially acceptable, that we're not allowed to react that way. And then we make it wrong when we do react that way. And then we hide who we are, and this is kind of a hits up against our values. So then we become demotivated demoralized and kind of sad inside. We fear that we can't keep up with the system and events around us that we're not really handling life, but we know we can't change our situation easily or perhaps even at all. So no wonder we just have a flame out and we just trying to get through another day, maybe if the cat's throwing up or the kids are fighting or the boss want, yet another task completing today. And we feel a little bit overwhelmed. If that's you, you might get angry, resentful, you might blame the world or the boss or the cat. You might wish they'd all piss off and leave you alone. I know that used to be me and that's rational enough when you're exhausted and overburdened, but it also makes you feel worse, hating others or hating the world. Doesn't give us more energy or rest or resources or equilibrium. It just makes us feel more helpless and perhaps a little bit bitter. So I teach clients that all of their reactions are okay. It's okay to have any thought and any feeling, but at the same time, their reactions aren't always supporting them. So I teach them to kind of have it both ways to feel the frustration, the irritation, or whatever the feeling is for a minute, let the feeling cascade through the body of sensation, but just don't act it out. Just don't act out the anger. And then when the kind of sensation passes through when that wave of emotion starts to fade away, look for another way to think about what just happened. That generates a more useful emotion for you. Maybe even just thinking that it's not that important is enough or maybe that nothing, that bad's gonna happen either way, but there's gonna be a thought you can have about it. That puts you back in a little bit more positive frame of mind without changing anything that happened out there. So number four on the list is complex trauma. Now, I think what he's referring to here is CPTSD, complex PTSD. That's what we often think of as complex trauma. But complex trauma might not be only that all of us experience trauma in our lives and many of that trauma we have ways of digesting and accepting and healing from, or moving on from. And I talk about this really extensively in episode 45 of the podcast, so I'd encourage you to go and listen to that for more on trauma, the link's in the show notes. Episode 45. So let's go for number five and six together on the list, five is meaningless ness, lack of meaning, and six is existential dread, meaningless ness, I think is at the heart of burnout, ask the World Health Organization, they describe being in burnout as increased mental distance from one's job or feelings of negative ism or cynicism related to one's job, an existential dread really refers to the meaningless ness of life itself, the uncertainty and despair about the future, however, even when we experience this in our roles, whatever our roles are, it's not the end. Because humans are meaning making machines, we need meaning in our roles to really thrive in life, and we can actually find meaning in any role we can create meaning, 'cause meaning is only contained in our thoughts about our role, not in the role itself. So if we're disconnected from meaning, we might want to blame management or some external bad guy, but it really isn't all that useful because the management aren't going to change as a result of our thinking, So rather, if we want to reconnect... If we want to re engage with purpose, meaning, reward of our roles, vitality, we need to find a way to connect our values with whatever it is that we do, and we can do that ourselves, we can create that meaning for ourselves and... I sometimes use the example of the janitor. A janitor might be underpaid or mismanaged by their boss, let's say to put it kindly, but, they could ignore that and focus on service of the person using their facilities. For example, they could focus on how clean and tidy facilities or a little extra care or a few kind words in passing can alter the whole trajectory of that person's day that they are serving, and that is enough to create meaning, fulfillment and reward in any role. Janitor to CEO, it doesn't actually matter. So we can create meaning for ourselves, and I would encourage you to think about how that works for you in your role with your values. Number seven on the list, loneliness, a big topic and I speak about it in Episode 39, so I would really encourage you to go and listen to that in full if you are feeling lonely and it's ongoing loneliness, there's quite a lot of detail in that episode, so I'm gonna send you straight there to listen to that one, and the same, number eight on the list is unmet needs, if you've got unmet needs, it doesn't surprise me frankly, who hasn't... We almost all do, but look at episode 35, listen to episode 35 and 36, about that you're gonna find a real depth of knowledge there and some tips on how to work with it. So coming to number nine, last... Lucky last on the list. The just surviving syndrome. And I think this has to be the archetype of burnout, doesn't it... When you've got nothing left to give, but you have to keep giving it anyway. You know, you have to keep the lights on, your job, your family, and all your other responsibilities don't go away. So for me, survival syndrome is the expression of the exhaustion, de motivation, disconnection and despair, that becomes our daily affair and burnout, and every part of the program that I run with my clients to help professionals recover from burnout centers around resolving these very issues. It's quite a deep process, and I probably couldn't describe it in a few sentences, but I will say this, I help clients recover their energy, time, motivation, goodwill, purpose, sense of humor, resilience, desire to connect and to re engage, initially. I'm really focused on supporting people back to resilience without which they are still in, just surviving mode, and I help them find enough juice to be present, to work to families and friends with a lot less wear and tear. I really want to see the tiger back in that tank pretty early in the piece, and then we go on to resolve all of the other difficulties and challenges associated with burnout. So if you have any of the top 10 mythical and any mental health diagnoses invented by Dr. Davies, such as social suffering, situational distress, meaningless ness, existential dread, loneliness unmet needs, and particularly just surviving syndrome, and if you think you may be in or near burnout, help is at hand, I've got a tried and trusted method to reverse all of this strife, so you're welcome to come and talk to me at dexrandall.com. D E X R A N D A L L dot com. Let us make a recovery plan for you, and I promise you're gonna start feeling better in under a month. So thank you so much, it's been quite a deep episode again, today, thank you for listening, I appreciate your being here always. And especially to those people who've given us the five star reviews, love you for that. Please listen on for the link at the end, if you're in burnout, you must come and talk to me about how to recover quickly and sustainably and get back to your best performance leadership and most of all enjoyment inside work and out. If you're in burnout and ready to recover, come and join my burnout to leadership program, you can book in to talk with me at burnout.dexrandall.com, just tell me what's bugging you and let's make a plan to fix it.