I read a book a couple of years back it was in German and it was called “Soul attack”. It is basically like a heart attack, but of the soul. It talks about burn out syndrome and feeling completely at the end. A family member of mine has been signed off with ‘burn out’ since October. I have to say that the health system in Germany is managing illnesses like that much better than over here. They do take it seriously and offer a lot of support, because after all they want you back at work. In Germany you can apply for something called a ‘Kur’. depending on your illness you get send to a kind of Spa place for a maximum of six weeks and you receive different treatments, depending on your illness. This is a fantastic thing in my opinion. After those six weeks or so the doctor decides whether yo are fit for a phased return to work or not. Now this distant family member of mine has been has been offered such a ‘Kur’ (cure). After a long wait for a place he had a letter last week asking him to start treatment next week on the 23rd March. But guess what…he refused to go. This now has huge consequences for him, because your health care insurance does not supply you with endless sick pay. And in their eyes he refused to get better and declined treatment. He has now been asked to return to work full time on Monday or he will lose his job with no unemployment benefit either, as he refused help. This seems really harsh in a way, because he has been at home for over 6 months not coping with his illness and all for sudden he has to go back to work full time or else…
Even though I thought the system is better in Germany it is still lacking the empathy and the background knowledge of what ‘burn out’ does to you. Has his therapist actually asked him why he refused to go? On the other hand if you have a heart attack you go and see a doctor immediately, infact you get taken to hospital and treatment starts straight away to safe your life. But when your soul suffers an attack nobody seems to care? Your on your own. And if you are so low that you can’t face leaving the house and seek help yourself you could basically end up losing everything. And if you didn’t already feel depressed enough this could actually push you over the edge.
A few years ago I fell into a deep hole myself and it is so hard to actually carry on it physically hurts. If it hadn’t been for really caring friends I would have lost my job too. Seeking help was hard for me. I hated going and explaining why I felt like I did to strangers. I also came across a few counsellors were I was wondering why they actually did the job they did. I had CBT and after 3 sessions she pronounced me cured. Really? I saw a grief counsellor who cried when I told her my story and left me feeling that my life must be pretty shit if I make her cry.
Over the years I have learned that your mental health is just as important as your physical health. Body and mind are one and they are working together. if one is broken, the other one suffers too. I hope that in time there will be far greater awareness of this fact.