What You Need To Know About Disability Burnout

What You Need To Know About Disability Burnout

What is disability burnout?

The intersection of disability and burnout cuts two ways. Burnout and people who are disabled, and burnout and people who care for folks who are disabled. As Erin has ably talked about caregiver burnout, let’s talk about the first one. 

While there is more data on caregiver burnout, there’s quite a lot we can extrapolate from sheer logic. Being disabled means life requires more strategy, and adds another mental load to someone’s life that is not present in other people’s. Will the bus/train/plane have the space I need? Will the Uber be too high to climb into? The seats marked as “handicapped”– are they really adequate for my handicap? Even if a caregiver is present and active in that person’s life, these stresses are real. 

An NIH study reported that COVID-19 caused burnout rates in disabled persons to rise dramatically. This is due to the fear of not being able to find medicine or other supplies, plus the general health anxiety of catching COVID and how it may or may not intersect with what they’re already living with. 

Disability, burnout, and stress

Anyone who has a stress cycle that can’t be completed is at risk of burnout. Anyone and for any reason that cycle can’t finish. For anyone living in a body that the world is not built for, the ability to regulate stress is an especially pertinent routine need. 

And how does one do that, you may ask? Check out our book HERE for helpful tips.

But also…if you love someone who is disabled–visible or not–please remember that life does not happen automatically for them. Kristen’s back is severely damaged and has been for decades but you’d never know it looking at her. But it means she can’t stand for long periods of time, can’t perform certain simple tasks without a lot of pain, etc. Her threat of burnout is a little higher than most people, because her emotional capacity is permanently lower. 

If you, yourself, are disabled, we hope you’re taking care of your emotional needs as best as possible. If you are not, be aware that’s a privilege and mind others as best you can.