Burnout ~ A Poem

As it’s Stress Awareness week and also Bonfire Night, I thought I’d do my part in raising awareness by writing a poem about burning out. It’s something that I, like I’m sure many of you, have experienced and are familiar with.

But as a writer, I had a helpful outlet and turned to my writing as an act of self-care.

It’s easy to get caught up with the stress of other people’s lives. But if you don’t take care of yourself, you’re useless to everyone else. It isn’t selfish to say no. And it isn’t selfish to take some time for yourself. x


We used to be a burning fire,
Roaring with love, life and hope.
Why is it that these kind of people
End up clinging to a rope?

Through endless waves in an ocean,
Drowning in our own kindness.
Keeping heads above water,
So people don’t think we care less.

Give us one second please,
For the world to stop.
Turning, spinning, thriving,
We’re just waiting for the drop.

Fingernails dig into palms,
Indenting fragile skin.
Slap on a smile, keep nodding.
Hide the turmoil within.

‘Chase this, come back, do that!’
Who am I? What’s my name?
‘Be here, go there, stay late!’
Now nothing feels the same.

Strip us bare, just take it.
Dignity clings to a single thread
We need fifteen, ten, five minutes.
Just to rest the heavy head.

Muscles ache, the mind is numb.
Our soul rattles an empty shell.
We sit and stare into the darkness,
Trapped in our own kind of hell.

The fire that burned so bright,
Is a flicker inside our hearts.
Flames licking up our matchstick.
Light another. Again it starts.

Someone please look, can’t you see,
It’s easier to give in to the tide.
Sink to the bottom, at least there’s an end.
Now, I have a place to hide.

Dig through the ashes and there you’ll find,
The glimmer of hope, that’s keeping me alive.
It’s a glow, an ember, to remember, remember,
That I control, when to leave and arrive.

© By Christina Alagaratnam


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