When his body gave out and he yelled at his son over something small, his wife showed him the red card. Here, IT specialist Orhan G. explains his way out of the burnout trap.
Recorded by Bernhard Albrecht
It took me seven years to fight my way out of a phase of constantly increasing demands in my everyday work. On my path there are two psychotherapies, a happiness seminar and finally, last autumn, a five-day intensive course “Personal Stress Management”, which was perhaps the most decisive step. But without the previous experiences it probably wouldn’t have helped me so much. Because apparently it’s part of my nature to work beyond any healthy limits, as I now know. And I also learned that you can – and must – do something about it.
Until last summer, I worked for an insurance company that was growing rapidly, and my workload grew at the same rate. Seven years ago I came within a whisker of burnout for the first time. We were supposed to install new inventory management software, a project that we initially underestimated. The deadline was tight. For several months I often worked 60 to 70 hours a week, often including weekends. I never relaxed, stopped exercising, lived on fast food and sweets, and gained almost 20 kilograms. I lay awake for hours at night, working through to-do lists in my head and thinking that I couldn’t do it all anymore. This combination was a powder keg that was ignited in early 2017 and then exploded. Suddenly I no longer had any energy or strength.
I used to not be able to talk about my feelings
I went to see a psychotherapist. He wanted to put me on sick leave for a longer period of time, but I resisted because it would have felt like “giving up”. So I continued to maintain my facade and tried to convey to my colleagues and the managing directors: We can do it.
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I’m Caroline, a journalist and author for 24 Hours Worlds. I specialize in health-related news and stories, bringing real-world impact to readers across the globe. With my experience in journalism and writing in both print and online formats, I strive to provide reliable information that resonates with audiences from all walks of life.