How to Escape the Anxiety Burnout Depression Cycle


 Do you ever do that thing where you start to feel a little anxious or a little worried, or a little stressed out and then you try to do all the things and you keep yourself really busy and you pile on extra tasks and you try to take care of everything.

You control everything but then you burn out and then you beat yourself up and you're exhausted and you feel like you're a failure or whatever. And then after you've rested for a little while, you're like, hmm, you know what? Maybe if I just try harder, the next time. I can do it. 

And then you start that whole cycle over, Well, this is a super common cycle. I see it in my family, I see it in my clients, and today, we're going to talk about how to break the anxiety burnout, depression cycle. 

 I'm currently working with a couple of clients who all get stuck in this pattern where they feel anxiety and then they try to keep super busy to avoid feeling anxious and then they burn out and they end up Depressed.

 I don't know. My Family, a lot of my clients, and from what I can tell, it's a pretty common way that anxiety turns into depression. 

So in this article, you're going to learn all about how to identify and replace this pattern with a more helpful sustainable approach. So, let's start by taking a look at each of those stages. 

So, stage one is anxiety. Now, this anxiety may not seem to come from anywhere. It might be due to old trauma, or it might be more genetic. Or just an old habit.

But regardless of why you feel it, it's the feeling of anxiety. So you might feel uncertain if you're good enough or you might feel jittery or unsure, or you might feel worried that you're going nowhere or worried about the future or worried about money or something, or it might just be more in your body. You know, you might just feel tenser or more stressed. Anxiety is uncomfortable and most of us just wanted it to go away. 

So step two of this cycle is to run. To run about. To keep busy. To try to do as much as you physically can. So for example, one of my clients took too many classes in college.

 She was trying to train for a marathon. She started a really intense diet and she was also working a bunch of hours at her job. This stage, stage two, is where you try to use willpower to get everything done. 

You try to control everything. You wake up early. You say yes, to too many things and you just try to work harder, or faster, or you try to be more perfect. 

You think if I can only do everything or if I can at least just stay busy. Then I won't feel anxious. 

Burnout and Depression

So then comes burnout. This is the exhaustion stage. So for example, one of my clients felt tired overwhelmed and depressed. She felt like she wasn't good enough. 

She had a hard time feeling motivated but for a while, she kept dragging herself out of bed until she reached the breaking point. And then she had to the meltdown of work. She got a stress fracture. She ended up quitting the marathon training but she was exhausted and she started to sleep for like 12 to 16 hours a day. 

And at this stage depression kicks in, right, you may feel like there's no hope. this is the stage where you wonder what's the point in trying? My client started to beat herself up and ask herself, You know, am I a failure? 

You put in all of your efforts, all of your willpower and now in your mind you're like, well my best efforts, just leave the failure. 

So when you've tried so hard to escape feeling by doing everything, you can do everything that you know how to do, but you still feel crappy. 

This is when some people start thinking of suicide, as their only escape. So for many, they've tried everything they know of, but their attempts to, run to go faster, just leave them feeling anxious and exhausted. 

So for my client, the semester ended, she took a couple weeks off of work and she just slept for most of the day and then, you know, watched Netflix for most of the rest. 

Step 4 Just Try Harder

And, and then, when she started to feel less exhausted she started thinking Oh I'm not a failure. I just have to try harder next time if I only try harder or do it better, then I won't fail.

So as her worries started to build, she signed up for more projects. She started a new diet. She enrolled in more classes and that's how the cycle repeats. So, do you see this cycle in yourself? You don't have to stay stuck in it. So let's talk about breaking the cycle at each of the four stages. So, in this video, I'm gonna give you an overview of the skills you can use at each of these stages to break this cycle. But I'm not going to teach each of these skills because each of them takes some time. 

So, I teach each of these skills in my anxiety skills playlist, my grounding skills playlist, and in some of my other videos. So check Out to learn how to actually do this. Let's talk about stage one, which is anxiety. So, anxiety is all about perceived danger. So instead of running away, create a sense of safety. So, if you fear, not being good enough, building your self-worth on something, you can control your integrity and your values instead of on accomplishments or doing more. 

When you feel anxious practice grounding techniques and calm your body before you choose a course of action. Don't let your anxiety brain convince you that everything is awful. 

So instead practice, gratitude and look for the good in your life and in yourself. Managing anxiety is all about slowing down and restoring your sense of personal power and safety. It's about understanding your locus of control which is accepting what you can't change and changing what you can. The second part of the cycle is the fight or flight response. 

It's a short-term sprint to get away from danger. So trying to do a marathon, a school, an extreme diet, and a relationship and a work. It's like a gazelle running away from a cheetah. 

It works for a little while but it's not sustainable in the long run. So don't get stuck running, don't get stuck running away from your anxiety. 

So slow down. breathe calm, your body even in the middle of stressful tasks. Choose sustainable action instead of a sprint. This includes saying no to a few things.

 Stage 3 To avoid the burnout stage, you need to plan and schedule time for regular rest and self-care. This creates the opportunity for regular and sustainable growth. And when you do fall, learn to respond to your mistakes with self-compassion, instead of self-flagellation. So beating yourself up or using fear as your motivator. It only works but in the long run, it's going to drain you of motivation and energy. 

So instead, Practice self-compassion. And at Stage Four, instead of just repeating the cycle. Identify it write down what it looks like in your life. So identify each of the stages of your personal anxiety, burnout. Exhaustion cycle. 

Um, use a growth mindset and ask yourself like, what can I learn from this? For me and I think, for a lot of people journaling, or writing things down, can really help you. 

Look at the big picture. Like do you really care?  you really can't intervene at each stage of this cycle in your life. When you start to practice the little skills and incorporate them into your actions, you can turn this downward spiral into an upward spiral of sustainable growth. So slow things down, choose intentional action instead of just reacting. Instead of just running, take the time to take care of yourself, and treat yourself with compassion. Don't forget to breathe. You've got this. Thank you for reading.

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