Burnout | Inquirer Opinion


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The University of the Philippines, Diliman, academic oval. INQUIRER.net stock photo

When I was in high school, I had to present a report in history class about the Dark Ages. I don’t exactly know what happened in that era, what I know came only from research, but I do remember that I myself had a phase in my life I refer to as my dark days. Those were the lowest times of my life.

I had many of those days, and probably those days come back from time to time. In fact, I experienced another such phase recently.


Sometime last month, I just felt so tired with everything. I got exhausted physically and mentally, like I almost felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. I feel that I have to exert too much effort on things, yet in the end, things do not come out as planned. I lost every motivation I had, and I reached the point where I just want to call it quits and never pursue anything greater anymore. I was afraid that I would not be getting them anyway, why else should I try?

I was my own devil. I was the one shooting down the remaining dreams that kept me afloat. I could not refrain from entertaining the idea that things won’t work, that this or that would be overwhelming, and they will require so much energy from me, and the steps from where I am to where I want to be are endless. Even just lying on the couch felt like torture. No matter how bright the lights we had at home, nothing could spark my mind or vision.


How come I used to give inspiration and motivation to others, yet I woke up one day doubting if what I used to believe were even true? Could someone who read and studied so much about goal-setting and mindsets be lost? What happened to my faith? Has my personal relationship with God been compromised, and is my lack of direction the symptom?

I hoped I was not alone. I was desperate to have assurance that others also experience what I was experiencing. That there is a certain time or phase in our lives when we go through each of our own “Dark Ages,” a time when we lose all motivation. That no matter how we believe we can, we would rather listen to voices saying we cannot and we should stop.

But I am thankful because somehow I found the light beyond the darkness. I realized that no matter how much I thought I could, I am an ordinary human being who will use up all his battery over time. I also realized that I need to recharge my batteries once they reached that draining stage. Like the others, I do not have unlimited energy.

Before the pandemic, there were a few places where I went to, to recharge, like church, UP, or anything outdoors. I might be tired for a week from endless work and activities, but every time I went to either the church or the campus, I felt restored.

During the pandemic, I still attended church online and occasionally attended webinars by professors. I still prayed, read and studied. But somehow I suddenly felt the urge to go to the same road where I walked every weeknight, after I attended my classes. I missed the smell of the sunken garden and the feeling I get when I stand anywhere in the campus and forget everything — deadlines, to-dos, goals, etc. I just wanted to stand, sit, or walk inside the campus without anything in my mind. For once and even for a while, I wanted to be free.

And sometime again last month, I did just that. With the company of a few good friends, we sneaked into the campus. We strolled and made new simple memories amidst this long lockdown.

I was able to breathe fresh air, and as it came into my lungs, I felt as if I became normal again. I could feel my heart beating and my blood flowing. I felt stronger and braver, and everything I worried about somewhat dissolved. Not totally, but now at least I feel like I can handle them again.



Khristian Ross P. Pimentel of Antipolo City is a teacher who enjoys writing, reading and travel. After earning his education degree from Philippine Normal University, he pursued further studies in the University of the Philippines where he received his masters in Education, and majored in Educational Psychology.


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TAGS: burnout, dark ages, Depression, motivation, psychology
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