My brain never stops. I’m constantly on hyper-alert about the things I should be doing – but just can’t bring myself to do. I already suffer from anxiety and depression, and this stress has disrupted my sleep and led me to have mild insomnia.
I think I’m one of many in my generation suffering from ‘millennial burnout’. This is not currently a recognised medical condition, and there are no specific stats for it, but in the UK, 74% of us are so stressed we’ve been unable to cope. That same study found that 49% of 18-24-year-olds who have experienced high levels of stress felt that comparing themselves to others was a source of stress, which was higher than in any of the older age groups. This is essentially burnout – a state of chronic stress that leads to physical and emotional exhaustion.
My job is a big priority for me, and I put a lot of pressure on myself to work hard. It means I’m always on – replying to emails at all hours, and bringing my work laptop home at night. But while I’m doing well in my career, my personal life admin is a mess. I have endless to-do lists that I never complete. Recently, I even made a list of lists and sectioned it off into the different rooms of my flat, with a weekly list of chores to do by each room.
It’s affecting all areas of my life and I just don’t see an end in sight. This is the main symptom of ‘millennial burnout’, according to British psychotherapist Beverley Hills. While the condition isn’t medically recognised, Hills says it is something she has seen in her clients.
“You can feel stress, insomnia, self-doubt, cynicism, and as though you’re in a void, like, ‘How can I possibly succeed when there are not enough resources left for me?’ There will be emotional exhaustion, a feeling of dissatisfaction, inadequacy, and also anger, and maybe physical pain that could take the form of Fibromyalgia or constant feelings of ‘unwellness’,” she says.
I know a lot of people think this is another typical ‘millennial snowflake’ issue. But the world changes and generations adapt. I know life was also difficult for our parents and grandparents, with a lot more hard graft, but things are tough now in different ways. If previous generations knew what I went through on a daily basis, they wouldn’t think of millennials as lazy and entitled. We’re just trying to do our best, and often, it’s harder than it looks.
Excerpts taken from a BBC Three article.