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avoiding burnout in trauma recovery - surviving my past

Be Vigilant, Avoiding Burnout in Trauma Recovery.

by Matt Pappas

We’ve all likely heard the term “burnout” before. Perhaps you are familiar with it in the context of a burning through a tire on your car as you smash the gas pedal to the floor with the other foot on the break, which is way cool 🙂 , but let’s talk about it risking burnout in our survivor journey. After all, that’s what Surviving My Past is all about, the survivor journey.

I was sitting at my desk and thinking of a topic for a future podcast, and a thought popped into my head about getting burnt out in life. At first I was thinking of it in the context of our career, finances, perhaps hobbies, and also in worrying or over thinking too much. All of which are valid examples of course and burnout is possible in any of those scenarios.

As survivors though, we have to be careful about burning ourselves out while we work through our trauma.

Healing work is tough, it requires us to be “all in” and mentally focused in every aspect. Whether it’s talking with a professional, working through healing workbooks, journaling about our know when to slow down and relax during healing - surviving my pastthoughts and emotions, everything about healing takes a lot of brain power and emotional stamina. It’s important to be aware of how this can take a toll on our emotional and physical state on a daily basis.

We have countless things pulling us in a hundred different directions every single day: work, family, kids, finances, extra curricular activities, you name it. Each of them is vying for our time and attention.  In those cases, it’s important to know our limits and to know when we need to take a break.  We all have our limits, our breaking points, and so often we want to power through every task either to get onto the next one, or so we can look forward to a break afterwards.

But how often do we actually take that break and rest? We pour ourselves out constantly, but taking time to refill and recharge is just as important as that next meeting, next project, next kids soccer game, whatever the case may be.

In survivor work, we pour ourselves into sessions with a professional, into journaling, working through emotion tracking sheets, reading self-help books, analyzing flashbacks, trying to figure out why we feel the way that we do and how to feel better and treat ourselves better.

All of that, and everything that you do in your journey is extremely important and vital to your recovery. I know it’s vital to mine both when I first started healing, now, and in the future. But, we have to make sure that we are listening to bodies and our minds and knowing when we need to stop and chill out. The risk of burnout is a real thing friends, and the last thing any survivor needs is to be so exhausted and mentally drained that it hinders the hard work we are trying to put in.

I hope you’ll check out the podcast I made on this topic, and consider sharing it with someone who may need it.



Pictures courtesy of Pixabay and Pexels. Social Media images created by Matt Pappas using Canva. 

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J M Campos March 13, 2017 - 2:57 pm

Matt, Thanks for another insightful post. When I was first diagnosed I was just so excited to finally have a reason for all the symptoms I’d been having and to know that I could do something about it. I wanted to be healed like- yesterday. I threw myself whole heartedly into recovery doing anything and everything. But just like you said I burnt out, I pushed myself too hard too fast and it was a long time before I was able to get myself back on the road to recovery. I have learned to be patient, to really listen to my body, and to communicate well with my doctor so as not to cancel out all my previous hard work. Healing is a long journey pace youself.

Matt March 13, 2017 - 7:12 pm

So well said JM…it’s so easy to really get excited about recovery and throw ourselves into full blast. As you mentioned, as I’ve found out, and others know all too well, burnout is a real possibility. Pace yourself, use self care, and be kind to yourself every step of the way. It is indeed a journey, not a race.

anonymous1 April 18, 2018 - 8:05 pm

I just experienced a burn out. I can say I felt it coming weeks back but I tried to power through it and just crashed. Unfortunately for me, that means falling back on my addiction. I’m going through the crash and feel defeated even more than before. duh! I knew that; yet, I made the poor choice. Tomorrow I start counting days again.


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