Burn out sneaks up on you. Don’t let it keep you down.

Everyone has experienced burnout. As I write this article on my phone, I’m experiencing burn out.

I’ve got no pretty banners or sarcasm fuelled frustration this time.

This time, I’m letting the words flow. It may seem like verbal diarrhoea with no particularly good structure to it, but thats what burn out is.

Exhaustion; mentally, physically, emotionally… there’s so many different ways to feel tired which is a bit bonkers itself.

Let’s have a look at what impending burn out might come from. As everyone’s lives are different, I’ll use my own as an example.

Pure love. That’s how I felt about code up until roughly December time. I found my thing! Yes, I was in a traumatic car accident in August. That out a damper on things. Come September though, after absolute terror of traveling, I managed to make it to the hybrid hackathon hosted by Deloitte, Trust in Soda and Code Institute.

The night before, in the Airbnb, I cried myself to sleep. Literally. I’m not being dramatic. I ended up paying €40 the next morning for a taxi just so I wouldn’t have to deal with public transport.

Once I’m there, I’m in my element. Car crash, money problems (having to spend all your wedding savings on medical scans and a new car adds a bit of stress), all of that. GONE. I was there with my team, we had work to do. It was one of the best days of my life. It was one of the first times ever I felt like I was in the right place, not sticking out like a sore thumb.

People came and spoke to me. I was asked advice about improving coursework to make things more accessible to students with extra needs. This made me realise, wow, this is actually something I’m interested in doing more of. It gave me a boost of confidence. Could I turn around my bad experiences and use them to help make education more accessible to those that are neurodivergent?

Then the snivelling mess from 20 hours earlier (me) presented our project to a room full of people. I was unbelievably proud of our work and when there were very few questions I initially panicked. I was told afterwards that that meant I answered anything worth asking with my presentation. I was glad. It’s a project I actually cared about.

It felt good. I liked our chances of placing. Then when we didn’t get third place, or second, I held my breath. No way could a fairly basic project built just with html, css and JavaScript win. No way.

WE WON. I have never been a part of a team that wins things. I felt like someone had numbed my legs and had me floating above the ground. I was so over come with emotion that as soon as photos were taken, I had to run to the bathroom and sob.

For the record, before our crash, I didn’t cry easily. Especially in public. Never in public.

Yet here I was. Choking back tears as I said thank you and goodbye to all the wonderful people I had met and the staff who had put the whole thing together.

I even sobbed quietly to myself at the bus stop. why though.

Easy. I was burnt out. The hackathon was the perfect escape, but once that was over, the reality of the world was back and the heaviness on my shoulder just got a whole lot heavier.

This was one example of burning out I’ve experienced recently. Another one was just tonight.

I already have a month extension for my Django project for my course due to being in hospital in October. Well, back into hospital I went last week. Even thought I am extremely physically unwell, I refused to ask for another extension because I want this project done.

This project has burned me out. I want it done and dusted and at this point as long as I pass it, I don’t care. I’m burnt out from working on a framework I’m really struggling with. I’m burnt out working with a language I’ve grown to hate. It’s made me question my ability to code at all. How could I ever be good enough, how can I ever get a job, how can I blah blah blah blah - spiralling into self destructive thoughts with my ass ending up in depression town.

This is burn out. So I know it will pass. I know that I’m fine with other languages like JavaScript and this is just a really big mountain I’ve made out of a molehill.

It will be fine. Eventually. In the meantime I’m making myself do things I enjoy more. I’m visiting family. Removing exterior stress.

If I remove all the other things building up in the background that are stoking the flame, the burning will die off and I will be left with a basic project that just needs finishing.

Step 1. Figure out the bug that’s been preventing me from moving on. If I can’t squish it myself, there’s nothing wrong with asking for help.

Step 2. Get the basics done to pass and move on to the next project.

Step 3. Breathe.

Step 4. Travel to London for the next hybrid hackathon and AVOID getting burnt out 👍

Avatar for Grace McKenna

Written by Grace McKenna

Full Stack Development student with Code Institute! Passionate about coding and making the world more accessible for those that are neurodivergent.


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