Burnout, stress and depressive states

Really, he was irreplaceable!
Everywhere, where something happened
for the good of the community,
he was active, he was there.

Shooting festivals, casino balls,
horse races, prize-giving,
the singing group, the fire drill rehearsal,
without him it was impossible.

Nothing could be done without him,
Not an hour was he free
Yesterday, when they buried him,
he was also right there.
(Wilhelm Busch)

According to ICD 11 (International Classification of Diseases), “burnout is a syndrome resulting from chronic stress at work that has not been successfully managed. It is characterized by three dimensions:

  • feelings of lack of energy or exhaustion;
  • increasing mental distance from work or feelings of negativism or cynicism about one's work; and
  • decreased professional efficiency.
Burnout refers specifically to phenomena in the work context and should not be used to describe experiences in other areas of life.”

Burnout is not an acute deterioration of health. Burnout is a process. It develops gradually, step by step, until the point where nothing works at all. Therein lies the great danger, because: “We don't notice slow change. We get used to it. Chronic tension is difficult for us to perceive, and we get used to constant stress. Nevertheless, at some point we feel the effects,” says Ortwin Meiss in his book “Hypnosystemic Therapy for Depression and Burn Out.”

In his article “Die Müdigkeit von Rastlosen” (Süddeutsche Zeitung, March 14/15, 2009), Sebastian Beck describes burnout as a “socially recognized noble variant of depression and despair that leaves the self-image untouched even in the moment of failure” and states that “Only losers become depressed, burnout, on the other hand, is a diagnosis for winners, or more precisely: for former winners.”

The difference between depression and burnout lies in the way to exhaustion. Childhood experiences and possible traumatic experiences are experienced and processed in different ways, and everyone finds their own “strategies” and concepts for action for everyday life.

As the U.S. psychologist Marshall B. Rosenberg said, “Depression is the reward for being good.”

In my work with those affected (burnout, overwork, depressive mood), I combine several therapy methods. I always address the individual situation and needs of those affected. Most often I work with trauma therapy, hypnosis, client-centered therapy, relaxation training as well as some elements from systemic therapy.