AFL Executive Darren Birch opens up about Burnout, Depression & Recovery
An unbearable pressure
COVID-19 forced some of us to slow down, face extreme financial pressure with job losses or re-evaluate our connection with friends, family and an uncertain future. Yet others found themselves under even greater pressure to perform in their corporate roles as they restructured or adapted their business, products, services and marketing models to deal with the unprecedented crisis and closures. Prioritising our mental health at a time like that can easily mean it’s relegated to the bottom of the To Do list.
Has the pressure been building for some time?
With a high-flying dream career, a precious family at home and all the pressures of life on his shoulders, Darren Birch was at his breaking point. After 20 years experiencing atypical symptoms of undiagnosed depression, Darren reached the point where fear of failure in his career, as a father and as a husband, led to him experience corporate burnout and seek treatment that has changed his life.
Darren’s depression did not manifest in the usual ways – he was not unmotivated, unable to leave his bed most days or experiencing terrible lows – in fact he was highly functional, yet experiencing very few emotions at all. A combination of art therapy, psychotherapy, physical therapy, natural surroundings and true rest at Palladium Private allowed him the inward focus to assess and reset.
Signs you may be experiencing burnout
- Development of an escapist mentality
- Chronic sadness, depression
- Feelings of emptiness or pointlessness
- Uncharacteristic self-isolation (not COVID-19 related!)
- Weight gain or loss
- Changes in appetite, unusual cravings
- Increase in consumption of substances to cope
- Increased reliance on medications
- Physical exhaustion, inability to sleep normally
- Chronic headaches, neck or back pain
- Gastrointestinal problems
- Succumbing to illness frequently
- Irritable outburst (at home or at work)
- Unexplained anger, cynicism or pessimism
- Neglecting your personal needs
- Chronic mental fatigue
How does workplace stress contribute to burnout, anxiety and depression?
Toxic stress makes people feel pointless, like a cog in a wheel, taken for granted. To feel valuable as humans, we need to feel we are contributing to a greater good or cause. Corporate burnout is typified by a feeling of lack of control. You may feel you are not able to influence workplace decisions, or your work is not being recognised and utilised effectively because the overall procedural structure of the organisation is unwieldy. Or your exhausting daily experience may be due to personalities, flaws and damaging traits of close or powerful colleagues.
The longer you experience these factors on a daily basis, the greater the chances are you will develop corporate burnout. Unfortunately, anxiety, stress and depression are unhappy bedfellows of burnout.
On the other hand, not every stressful workplace causes corporate burnout. Certain types of stress actually have a positive effect on employees and can lead to outstanding performance, job satisfaction,personal and professional growth. However, this is not the norm in most of today’s fast paced workplaces.
Seeking help to treat burnout
Are you experiencing some of the symptoms above? If so, take these warning signs seriously and reach out. If you continue to grit your teeth, push on and stoically “get through it”, it will be unsustainable over the long term. You are pushing your mind and body to run on empty. Eventually, your tank will run out of fuel and every aspect of your life will splutter to a grinding halt with a hiss and a bang. Before you reach that point, turn the focus solidly on yourself and seek help.
Why does the Palladium Private program work?
At the heart of Palladium Private’s holistic, BioPsychoSocial program is a cognitive, evidence-based approach, meaning it examines an individual’s thinking patterns and tailors therapeutic treatment to address underlying beliefs at the core of the dysfunction. Our psychotherapists seek to modify or change the individual’s conditioning and thought processes in relation to historic, current or future events in their lives. In successfully doing so, this reduces and eradicates stress and its related conditions.
At Palladium Private, we teach that the belief system – which is unique to each individual – acts as the direct platform for our thinking, responses, and behaviours. We refer to this process as the mind-body connection. Not only do we live according to our conditioned belief system, it often goes unexamined or unquestioned throughout the rest of our life.
You can reset and regain your life like Darren did
If you are reading this and resonating with Darren’s story and the symptoms of burnout above, don’t worry – it is not too late! Recovery is possible, no matter how overwhelmed you’ve become. It’s far too easy to be so overcome by the situations surrounding us, we can no longer see a way forward. Undertaking a BioPsychoSocial program at Palladium Private, such as the one Darren engaged with, is a surefire way to re-align your personal values, career aspirations and satisfaction with life.
Find out more about the BioPsychoSocial programs offered at Palladium Private HERE.
Helpful Free Resource
If you or someone you love is suffering from corporate burnout, addiction, anxiety or depression and needs immediate help, please use the link below to access a FREE 12-page PDF booklet with practical insights and tools to read at your leisure: The Underlying Cause of Anxiety & Depression