1.2 Alleen

Alone or Together

Recovering from a burn-out is a process that you, for your feeling, will go through alone. The struggles you will experience will mainly be with yourself. 

These can be intense and quite heavy.

Prepare yourself for the fact that your environment (especially in the beginning) well not understand you very well. They don’t know what is going on to you. This can lead to misunderstanding and false expectations. Back and forth.

Perhaps you have (or will still get) help from a supervisor / psychologist. Or have you logged in to a facebook group or do you follow this site, that’s fine. It can give you insights, at least the consolation, that more people (thousands!!!) are walking this path. Each in their own way.

Own experience

I had and have a wife and 3 adolescent children and was surrounded by colleagues, family, and friends and all well meaning. I regularly received these kinds of questions,

  1. How’s up with you?

-Yehh, and what do you say. Not so good yet. It’s not going so great yet.

  1. But what exactly do you have? You don’t see anything about you.

-Inside I don’t feel so good. A feeling of darkness, fear, and fatigue. I couldn’t explain that well because my environment didn’t know that.

  1. How long do you think you’ll need?

-I can’t say that because I don’t know where I am

  1. Do what you like. Practice a nice hobby. Or maybe you need to find a hobby?

-I have no energy so hobbies? I don’t have to think about it.

  1. If we visit more often, or you come to us, that is still cozy and relaxed.

-No, I prefer to be alone.

  1. What do you need to recover. What are your needs?

-I don’t know, but I want to be left alone.


It was all equally well-intentioned, but it wasn’t what I needed at the time. In fact, I felt alone. No one got it and maybe me the least.




Despite the feeling of being alone, that of course was not the case. The fact that my environment didn’t quite understand what was going on with me didn’t mean I was on my own.


This was also new territory for them. They had to figure out how to deal with me.


Because a lot of experiences were new, I didn’t quite know either wat was going on. I was often overwhelmed by all kinds of phenomena that I did not understand. Like:

  • abdominal pain, ringing in the ears, stress spots and a constant flu-like and sick feeling (physical complaints)
  • feelings of loneliness, depression, homesickness,
  • thoughts of emptiness, self-pity, melancholy,
  • demons in my head, worrying, loss of self-confidence


These phenomena all played out in me and were new to me.


I initially chose to keep this to myself. I found it difficult to harass others with my misery. Also, because I was ashamed of the state, I was in.


However, that made it more difficult for my environment to help me. I found out later.



It took me a while to realize this. I couldn’t expect them to be able to assess how I was doing if I remained closed. My environment could not think along with my needs.


When I noticed that, I very slowly began to realize that this path was mine. That I had to figure out what worked and what didn’t. That I had to get to work myself. That I had to indicate where the boundaries were. That I also had to indicate what I expected from my environment.


So, the change I felt very much was that I must do it. That others want to help, but that I am at the wheel. That I am the one who must indicate what I want from others.



Our family and I really had to look for the right key to get me out of this.   I had to develop further. Continue to grow out of the burn-out. Physically, mentally and in my mind, I needed    them.  


By talking a lot, consulting a lot, and sometimes not knowing. We tackled the burn-out. That went through trial and error. It really wasn’t fun at times.


I had no energy, so I was extra economical and careful to use that. I was going to learn to climb out of the valley with small steps.   That was quite difficult in the beginning and I was regularly wrong.


But through trial and error, supported by my family, we are (still) trying to get out of the burn-out.




Even though I felt alone and experienced all kinds of phenomena, I had my environment. I had to learn to trust them.

Occasionally, I would sink into a dark hole of self-pity. Then I needed someone to pull me out. My son or daughter would take me for a walk. We also sometimes went to the Mc Drive as a family, as an outing. Or got a sandwich somewhere. It didn’t matter that much. But sometimes someone had to take me out.


Over time, my family came to understand me better and better. They became more and more aware of my needs and were able to deal with them better and better. It was sometimes the case that they could read me better than I could.


I have learned to trust my family and feel less and less alone. There is room for me and my boundaries. That’s profit.


What is positive?

At first, I was alone. I felt the depth and heaviness of my burn-out, alone. This had quite an impact on my family. They really wanted to understand what was going on and where they could help me. Letting go of the resistance and giving up my resistance gave them the space to face the burn-out together.

That felt strange at first but turned into trusting.



  1. Accept that this is your path and no one else’s
  2. Accept that your environment may not react the way you would like. People don’t always understand what it’s like to have a burn-out
  3. Family, friends, and colleagues need to know that you will be busy with yourself. Discuss that this is necessary.
  4. Be careful with facebook groups. Don’t also take the misery of other people into your head. There is no room for that now.
  5. Make your environment part of your burn-out. So that you can come up with the solutions together
  6. Give your environment time to grow in to this.

Don’t give up!!

Especially in the beginning I tended not to be a burden to anyone. I wanted to solve this myself and preferably alone.  I hoped that I woke up in the morning and that it would be over. That was never the case.

I had to have the help of others. My family and frieds as the most important and most involved.

Open and honestly telling what was going on inside me made me feel less alone.