Burning Out

Burning out is horrid.

Burning out is not wanting to read the comments…or the piece.

It’s sitting in front of your computer for hours, trying to write, and finally concluding that maybe it would be nicer to just put your pajamas back on and sleep.

It’s when taking a walk around the block to clear your mind turns into running every errand you can think of. Having this brilliant idea that gnaws at you….and then sitting at your computer listening to music, because you want nothing less than to cudgel together a coherent post and then watch people react to it.

And burning out is not knowing if it’s the movement or the people or just your own exhausted brain.

This is the part I struggle with most–do I want to step away from the movement because I’ve overworked myself. Or do I need to pick a different cause?

On bad days, it’s the latter.

On the good, I remind myself that I’ve met nearly all my close friends here. That nobody offers me homeopathy in response to illness. That I’ve never been told mental illness just happens for a reason. That the movement means a place to write, speak, think with people I admire, and who challenge me to do it all better. I get to do FtBConscience and talk about mental health. I get to watch people light up while they talk about their passions, and there’s almost nothing better.

So this, you lovely people, is an encouragement to keep doing that. Keep lighting up when you talk about biology and physics and communication and neuroscience and bugs and rocks. Smile when your favorite topic comes up. Write long and impassioned blog posts and give talks and refer us to new books. We’ll have delightfully eclectic reading lists and weird snippets of facts–did you know there are caterpillars that wear old heads as hats?–and I think we’ll all be a little less on the fizzling end of burning out.


  1. Anthony K says

    My spouse-to-be will be delighted to know that I’ve found a use for all those old heads kickin’ around in my work room!

  2. Anthony K says

    Also, I for one appreciate your thoughts on and experiences with mental health issues. I talk about mine all the time, and I’m still astounded by how often people say to me, “Oh? Those thoughts/emotions happen to other people too? I thought I was the only one!” It’s a truly great feeling to help someone feel less distraught and alone, even if only for a brief conversation.

    • Anthony K says

      Ooh, if we’re talking about cool spiders with amazing web modifications, can I toss ladder-web spiders into the fray? Spiders of the genus Scoloderus feed on moths, which they ensnare in elongated webs like the chain ladders in playgrounds and such. Moths can sometimes escape typical orb spider webs because they’re covered in a dusting of loose scales: they hit the web and bounce/fall off, free to fly away. It’s suspected that the long ladder webs are an adaptation to counter this: when a moth hits the web, it again bounces or falls off, but there’s more web below. The moth flips and flops its way down the ladder until enough of the loose scales are lost that the moth finally gets caught near the bottom.

      • Anthony K says

        Other genera of ladder-web spiders build similar webs, but for different prey with different principles in play.

  3. says

    I think you are a great writer, and an asset to any movement you are a part of. Keep writing and don’t let the haters get you down.

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