Part 4: The Phases of Burnout
Are there different phases of burnout?
According to doctors and therapists, there are three main phases of burnout:
In the first phase, we feel excessive enthusiasm and have high, idealistic goals. We tend to overestimate our potential and are willing to work tirelessly.
As problems arise, they slow us down. To compensate, we work even more. As we exert ourselves more and more, we come to feel that our problems are insurmountable. If fears didn’t begin to surface during phase 1, they begin to do so now. Yet we ignore these fears. Instead, we blame others, criticize the system, lose interest in our work, and start to question our own expertise. We consider quitting altogether. Our first physical symptoms become evident and we feel increasingly irritable.
We are totally disappointed and unmotivated. Depression is part of everyday life and life itself seems pointless. We feel that we are at the end of our ropes and want to give up entirely.
The German psychologist Matthias Burisch provides a different and more detailed description in his 2005 book Das Burnout-Syndrom (Burnout Syndrome):