Taking on everyone else's worries
Just feeling like I have fallen into a role at work, where I am the platform for everyone to offload onto. I am manager at work. Dealing with staff, people above me and clients. I am exhausted. I have been avoiding even going to the supermarket just in case i become a close contact and have to be tested. I cannot have a day away from work as my responsibility to everyone is far greater than what I need for myself to keep going.
Welcome to the Beyond Blue forums. We are community of open, compassionate and helping persons here to offer you peer support and a place to explore your thoughts and feelings
It sounds like you are caught in a position where you feel you are unable to create boundaries around what you can and cannot take on at work.
Have you been given any support from work on your own feelings and needs in this situation?
Do you have any supports outside of work that you have been able to share your feelings with?
If you’d like some support from us we’re available 24/7 by phone on 1300 22 4636 or on Webchat 1pm-12am AEDT on our website: www.beyondblue.org.au/getsupport. One of our professional mental health counsellors at our Support Service will give you support and point you in the right direction for help in your area.
Welcome again and we hope you find the support you are looking for here.
I retired 8 years ago after 2 psychotic episodes. Prior to that as a PI in my own business I'd travel up to 100,000 kms a year and even slept in the car on the side of the road when exhausted. Early in my life I'd work 12 hour shift work along with building my own home. Clearly I worked far too hard and with bipolar it was a recipe for disaster.
So, have you tried delegating responsibilities to employees. Can you have a "right hand man/woman" to make some decisions?
Relaxation/meditation can be a game changer, have you considered it? I think also worrying can lead to other problems.
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Hi Kimbo 1,
Is it possible for you to talk to your boss about your feelings and take some leave just for a break from it all? Sometimes you must put yourself first.
Seeing a professional can also help to learn some strategies for dealing with these overwhelming feelings. BeyondBlue's helpline is useful too.
All the best,
I'm sorry to hear about your situation. And once you are kind of it that "role" and can be really had to get out of. Trust me, I've been in the same place and it is just so exhausting - you constantly become the "fixer". This was the analogy used to describe it to me - "it's like the plane is going down and you are running around putting on everyone else's oxygen mask, that you forget your own". I didn't listen and I ended up in hospital, and then ended up resigning (I've been off work for 9 months now with brain trauma from constant stress and burnout).
So, what can you do? Well, you could do nothing like me....which I don't recommend. Or you have to have some serious conversations with your boss and peers. It's hard, but it's about setting boundaries. What is within your responsibility and time? If people are contacting you for advice, you might have to say to the "sorry, XX, but I really don't have the capacity to assist, could you ask XX for help?". Some people will apologise and only then realise that you have your own work. Other people, they're going to moan about it, because they've become used to you advising/taking over/doing their work for them. It's going to be difficult and uncomfortable, but you are going to have to hold your ground.
But the most important thing to remember every relationship (even professional ones) is that you are responsible for your 50% and they are responsible for their 50%. It's not fair for people to expect you to drop everything to help them, but you are going to have to remind them of that.
If you google "the Eisenhower Matrix", you'll find some good tools including the 4 quadrants of responsibility, but essentially it is:
- Do (urgent and important)
- Plan (non-urgent and important)
- Delegate (urgent and not important)
- Eliminate (not urgent and not important).
It's also important to remember that when people see someone who is doing everything and is capable, they sometimes don't consider the stress them coming to you can have. And that's where talking comes into it - but it can't be "hinting". If you have direct reports, have an open conversation with them about either assisting you (so you can delegate) or about them needing to work more autonomously.
Happy to chat further if you want to talk some strategies through.
But the most important this is to look after yourself.
With a background of HR manager, maybe I can give you some advice.
Looks like you're experiencing a burnout and need a break. You need to take care of yourself before taking care of others. Your company also needs you to be sustainable. I would suggest you to:
1. Talk to your boss about your challenge, and plan a few days off, free yourself from daily heavy work for a while and do more thinking;
2. Don't put too much on your shoulder, focus on your role, especially most important recent tasks. You're responsible for the purpose of your role, not to please people;
3. A manager is not a role for your team members to loadoff onto. They love talking to you means they trust you, which is good. But you know in your heart what is right and what is wrong, what is good and what is bad. Be gentle to your subordinates but make your position clear. As long as you are frank with them, they will eventually understand and thank you.