Burnout and advocacy

I don’t know much about burnout. I’ve never had the initiative to go after more information about this thing that I have, and recently my therapist told me not to. She says it’s like when you read information about a medicine you’re going to take: you tend to feel all the adverse reactions you read.

What she has told me is that burnout is common among health professionals. They deal with the pressure of the line between life and death, and all that repetitive pressure with different results causes them to feel they’re not being able to help people. Or, from what I heard from another therapist, they might feel they don’t actually care anymore.

I’m not a health professional. My advocacy, however, is health-related, which makes me think there’s a relation between my burnout and my advocacy.

After Raul’s death, the news broadcaster CBN tweeted a pool asking whether people agreed with the reduction of speed in two dangerous roads. Respondents massively answered no. They prefer deaths rather than stepping on a brake. Raul died, and nonetheless São Paulo’s mayor is eliminating cycle lanes and making laws to make it harder for the municipality to create more cycling infrastructure. Regardless of Raul’s death, people in cars keep threatening people on bikes. They’ll – again – call it accident after someone else dies.

I believe advocacy is intrinsically idealistic. And perhaps it’s the gap between reality and ideal what makes us anxious or depressive or both. It is difficult, when you see all the things that are not being done and all the cruelly egotistic irresponsible attitude of powerful people, to see a silver lining.

Maybe because the silver lining is us. And when we’re so busy watching the cities, we forget to realize that there are people watching the cities. It is difficult to see ourselves. And hope comes from nowhere else than those who are struggling for change.


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