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Mark Gorkin, LICSWMark Gorkin, LICSW
A Blog about reducing Stress in our lives.

Personal Discovery as Burnout Recovery: An Intimate Story of Hell to Glory - Part I

Mark Gorkin, LCSW ("The Stress Doc") Updated: Sep 19th 2013

Part I of "Burnout Recovery" poetically captures my own personal descent into the "erosive spiral." Part II further sets the stage for the importance of recognizing the potential for as well as the power and prevalence of burnout.

Personal Discovery as Burnout Recovery:
An Intimate Story of Hell to Glory - Part I

Let me tell a story from burnout hell to some glory
In which you'll discover six ways to recover.
But first some personal background, not particularly profound
Still, will set the stage for rage and "coeur-age."
(Let me take "courage" apart; coeur is French for the word heart:
Unguarded heart and on purpose rage - the crux paradox of human courage.)

Like a Humpty who's manic, dancing off the wall academic
Ready to SHOW one and all…alas, no grace; only disgraceful fall.
Compelled by mad genius; an out-rage-ous project
In the shadow of animus; little time to reflect
Trapped by the spurious: you're still a REJECT!
Get real, it's now over, stripped of all cover.
Reduced to gray ash, bereft of PhD. sash
Finally raised the white flag…then packed my doctoral bag.

From Insult to Injury

The prolonged tension bred screaming stress symptoms
Not just dead on my feet; a scary cardiac beat.
No time to ponder…tied to a heart monitor.
The ceiling was spinning, on my knees crawling
From the bedroom to the kitchen; man was I bitchin…
How slow letting go of inner ear vertigo.

Still the ebb had some flow in this world a tad psycho:
Not running from shame; allowed time healing pain
To gently massage a much wounded brain
Now rubbing out some chronic self-doubt.
Yet still unseen a deep scarlet vein -
Critical source of deep-rooted ghost pain
To be touched in vain until grief tears pour like rain.

Transforming Fire to Controlled Burn Desire

One more silver lining, from heartfelt resigning
And mind rambling about: becoming an expert on stress and burnout!
Beginning with an exercise regime,
Later sharing with friends those muted dreams
Slowly evolving my rehab scheme -
Reading for cathartic laughs, then for empathic light
Keeping a journal of dark insight; writing essays deep into the night.

And then a most dream-like meditation:
Could a healing haven birth a media maven?
"To be or not to be" stressed out on radio and TV.
Seemingly rolling lucky sevens…
The airwaves were hardly a ticket to heaven.
More a white knuckle flight path, with pockets of wrath
But once in spin, now buckled in
Finally learning the graph of bipolar math -
With a head med and depression confession
Could I still ride the tale of moonlight obsession?

Can a Phoenix Be Sadder yet Wiser?

Perhaps a bit sadder, nonetheless a survivor
Grappling as a learner despite feeling a loser…
Still seeking the edge of hard-earned knowledge:
A Phoenix may soar with high octane roar
Just don't ignore: sky-high needs a floor
For crafting self-worth while returning to earth.
For "R & R" - "Rest and Refuel" - before the next duel
Pitting passion and will; raising again one "wise fool" on the hill.

And next time, from out of the blue…skywriting Part II
So pay attention - the Six "R"s conception
Without exaggeration, "Burnout Rejuvenation."


Mark Gorkin, LCSW (

Mark Gorkin, the Stress Doc ™, acclaimed Keynote and Kickoff Speaker, Webinar Presenter, Retreat Leader and Motivational Humorist, is the author of Practice Safe Stress and The Four Faces of Anger. A former Stress & Violence Prevention consultant for the US Postal Service, the Doc leads highly interactive, innovative and inspiring programs for corporations and government agencies, including the US Military, on stress resiliency/burnout prevention through humor, change and conflict management, generational communication, and 3 "R" -- Responsible, Resilient & Risk-Taking -- leadership-partnership team building. Email for his popular free newsletter & info on speaking programs. Check out his popular website -- -- called a "workplace resource" by National Public Radio (NPR). Stress Doc Mantra: "Think out of the box, perform outside the curve (the Bell Curve) and be out-rage-ous!"

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