Physician Burnout and the Definition of Crazy

Posted by Dike Drummond MD

physician burnout groundhog day definition of crazy 150x150Physician Burnout is CRAZY sometimes

Here’s a common definition of crazy behavior:

Crazy is …

Doing the same thing over and over again
and expecting a different result.

As Doctors … we often act crazy, especially when we are suffering from physician burnout and don’t realize it. Here’s my own story

I remember back when I was struggling with my own serious physician burnout. Every Christmas … when I would get a few days off I would write in my journal, “I have to figure out another way … I can’t go on like this much longer.” And then I would remember …

I had said the same thing the year before
And the year before that
[and the year before that ...  and ... ]

It was my own little version of the movie “Groundhog Day”

Are you noticing this in Your Life?
I hear it all the time from my clients when we first meet. One of the most common things they say is, ” Dike, I can’t go on like this for much longer” and it is true. They are suffering from physician burnout and they know it, but here is the massive challenge.

Even though you realize clearly that THIS can’t continue for much longer … most people don’t have a plan to do anything else. Hoping and wishing and holding on for dear life … going into the office one more time and praying it will be different today … you realize that’s crazy … right?

Let’s stop the Physician Burnout Crazy Dance  .. O.K.?

Physician Burnout is not a ride you take until its inevitable conclusion. It is something we can recognize and STOP Today.

Are You Stuck Like This?
… you know you have to change and have no idea what or how to do anything differently?

Here’s why that happens

1) It is your neuroanatomy … which is automatically focused on your problems.

2) Compounded by your Training and the Conditioning of Residency and Practice to always focus on meeting other people’s needs.

You come last

You are crystal clear on what you Don’t Want … and much less clear on what you really Do Want. I know this is a very simple concept and it is fundamentally true. It is invisible to you because it sits dead center in an Awareness Blind Spot that is unique to doctors. This blind spot is one of the key causes of physician burnout.

The answers are right in front of you when someone asks the right questions.
You just can’t see them from the fishbowl of your weekly routine as a busy doctor.

This sets you up to have a single dysfunctional coping mechanism … Working Harder.

One client said to me, “Dike, every time I have felt like this in the past … I just worked harder”. You and I both know that is an example of  “doing the same thing over and over”. It didn’t work for him … in fact it destroyed his ability to function as a doctor. AND he kept it up until he couldn’t get out of bed any more. Untreated physician burnout eventually took his license away. (note: he is feeling MUCH better today, now that he can see his blind spots)

Are you ready to break the Groundhog Day Pattern … Stop The Crazy of physician burnout … and get more of what you really want in your Life and Career?




Tags: Physician Burnout, physician burnout treatment, physician stress, physician burnout symptoms