->''So many long hours spent around sick people, and I got numb to it, I stopped caring. Do you know how many hours I’ve spent awake at night, wishing my powers would just go away, or that some circumstance would come up where I’d make some excusable mistake where they would eventually forgive me, but where I couldn’t visit the hospitals anymore?''
-->-- '''[[HealingHands Panacea]]''', ''Literature/{{Worm}}''

ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin, this is a trope where TheHero, suffering (or enjoying, depending on the mood of the story) from ChronicHeroSyndrome, spends so much of his time and effort helping people, that it is physically and emotionally wearing him down to the breaking point. It can be [[BlessedWithSuck even worse for him]] if he has something akin to [[SuperSenses super hearing]] or [[{{Telepath}} telepathy]], so he can always hear people calling for help, even when he's trying to get an hour or two of sleep before [[TripleShifter clocking in for his]] [[StockSuperHeroDayJobs Stock Super hero Day Job]] and [[MustHaveCaffeine chugging coffee for the entire day]].

This may lead sooner or later to PassingTheTorch and RetiredBadass, or in more cynical works, a HeroicBSOD or a DespairEventHorizon, as the increasingly strung-out and hopeless hero just loses it because he [[SamaritanSyndrome can't save all those people who need him]]. This could of course apply to the villain, for many of the same reasons (well, presumably not the strain of constantly having to save people, but certainly the stresses of dealing with the superheros and law enforcement would be an issue)
----
!!Examples
[[foldercontrol]]

[[folder: Comic Books ]]

* {{Spiderman}} has gone through this more than once. He got his powers as a teen, had no adult guidance and was trying to fight crime, help Aunt May with bills, keep up school work and try to have something resembling a social life all while being the quintessential HeroWithBadPublicity. He's been shown quitting, trying to get rid of his powers and even resorting to crime to get whats owed to him.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Film ]]

* ''{{Film/Daredevil}}'': We see the hero going through his before-bed routine, getting everything put away in just the right place, climbing into the sound-proof casket (necessary due to his [[SuperSenses super hearing]]), only for him to hear a woman somewhere nearby crying for help. He only lets out an exhausted sigh before slowly closing the casket to close out the sound.
* In ''WesternAnimation/{{Megamind}}'', [[spoiler: Metroman gets so tired of being a hero all the time he fakes his death.]]
* As with the comics, this is a recurring theme in the Spiderman films. Its most pronounced in the second movie where the stress of his chosen life causes his powers to start failing. By the beginning of the third film, he seems to have found some balance and Mary Jane being in his life helps.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Literature ]]

* It is not uncommon for HeraldsOfValdemar to experience this, however Vanyel suffers worse than most. Throughout the second two books he is in almost constant state of overwork, starting with returning after an entire year of simultaneously filling in for five other Herald-Mages on the battlelines.
* [[Literature/TheDresdenFiles Harry Dresden]] goes through this all the time. Often he will forget to eat, or sleep when he's on a case and the world needs saving from supernatural doom. By the time he manages to solve everything he's usually so strung out that he often ends up just blacking out from exhaustion.
* Alaric Morgan is particularly prone to this in regards his {{Deryni}} powers. He is apt to use use his powers literally to the point of falling over at times, unless he he is prevented from doing so. Kelson scolds him for it in ''The King's Justice'', and Azim forbids him from helping with [[spoiler: Derry]] after he and Dhugal have just spent themselves Healing [[spoiler: Mátyás]] in ''King Kelson's Bride''.
* ''[[Literature/{{Chalion}} The Curse of Chalion]]'': Poor Cazaril! To list all his tribulations would be a massive wall of text, but to sum up: in the novel, he rides 800 miles on horseback with a demon-infested tumor in his stomach. ''Before'' the novel takes place, he holds a fortress against an extended seige, and the starvation and disease that go along with that. ''Then'' he's sold into slavery aboard a galley, where he nearly dies to save [[ChekhovsGun Chekhov's Oarman]]. By the end of the novel he has literally almost hero'ed himself to death.
* The protagonist of ''Literature/{{Beachwalker}}'' develops a bad case of this partway through the book as she tries to juggle treating her patient, surviving the aftermath of an earthquake, and [[spoiler: a bullet wound]] all at the same time.
* In ''Literature/WorldWarZ'', the American President during the latter part of the zombie outbreak is described like this. Though he is, by all accounts, an incredible leader who kept his country from collapsing from depression and fatigue, it's mentioned that he suffered from extreme stress during his time in office and died soon after stepping down.
-->"I have heard that hard times make great men. I do not know if that is true. But I do know that hard times will break great men."
* ''{{Literature/Rule 34}}'': [[UsefulNotes/BritishCoppers Detective Inspector]] Liz Kavanaugh is realizing that not only has she been ReassignedToAntarctica, but that she has become burnt out by years of policework and just doesn't really ''care'' about her career anymore. She still cares about solving the ''case'' she's on, but much of that is simply following leads and passing information back and forth with the other cops. It's the big picture she no longer cares about.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Live Action Television ]]

* ''Series/{{Angel}}'':
** As a human, Cordelia was not meant to shoulder the responsibility of Doyle's visions ("a big cosmic whoops", as Skip calls it). She secretly takes powerful painkillers and undergoes CAT scans that indicate the slow deterioration of her brain.
** Yet when presented with the opportunity to pass her visions onto someone else (the gallant Groosalugg, and later Angel in an alternate reality), Cordelia refuses, stating that the visions are a part of her and make her who she is.
* In ''{{Smallville}}'', ''Sneeze'', Clark wears himself out trying to fix an entire ruined Metropolis.
* In ''Series/{{Heroes}}'' season 4, Peter wore himself to the breaking point trying to rescue and heal people in his job as a paramedic using his abilities.
* In an episode of ''LoisAndClark'', Lois was near the breaking point when she realized that even with all of Superman's (borrowed) powers, she could not save everyone.
* In ''TheListener'' this turns out to be a plot point. Toby will [[spoiler: die if he continues to use his powers and in the second season finale, shuts off his telepathy]]
* ''Series/{{Merlin}}'': Almost every character will at some point suffer this, but Merlin the most.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Table Top Games ]]

* In the TableTopGame/{{Pathfinder}} Adventure Path ''Curse of the Crimson Throne'', most descriptions of Field Marshal Cressida Kroft--the captain of the city guard and resident ReasonableAuthorityFigure--stress how exhausted she looks from dealing with the various disasters of the city.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Video Games ]]

* By ''VideoGame/MassEffect3'', Commander Shepard really starts getting hit with this. Companions bring it up to him/her fairly often and by the end of the game, even before the final battle, s/he sounds completely exhausted and spent. The player is made to feel his/her exhaustion at the very end when [[spoiler: after being injured in the dash to the teleportation beam, Shepard is reduced to a slow stagger for the remainder of the game.]]
* [[spoiler:Aki]] in ''VideoGame/NamcoHigh'' has the problem of having not only superhero responsibilities, but also being possibly the biggest perfectionist workaholic in the history of the world, to ensure a state of permanent exhaustion and being late for things often enough to end up in detention.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Comics ]]

* A superhero in ''MandatoryRollerCoaster'' routinely stands atop buildings in order to curse the city's inhabitants and feel sorry for himself.

[[/folder]]

[[folder: Web Original ]]

* ''SailorNothing'' has a nasty case of this, to the point of her being constantly on the verge of a complete breakdown. Doesn't help that she gets splitting headaches every time a [[TheHeartless Yamiko]] is created, and goes out to fight even when she's badly injured.
-->[[CatchPhrase "I'm very tired."]]
* In ''Literature/{{Worm}}'', Panacea has the power of complete control over the biology of anything she touches. She uses this to simulate HealingHands, and she can cure virtually any ailment or sickness. From the moment her powers triggered as a child, she spent all her free time visiting hospitals, because [[SamaritanSyndrome she couldn't live with herself if she didn't.]] As time went by, however, she got sick of seeing illness and sick people around her all the time, to the point that she was almost on the edge of a complete breakdown, so when [[spoiler:Tattletale]], [[spoiler:Bonesaw]], and [[spoiler:Jack Slash]] administered successive {{Breaking Speech}}es to her, she had a nervous breakdown and [[spoiler:turned her sister into pure BodyHorror]]


[[/folder]]

[[folder: Western Animation ]]

* Franchise/{{Batman}} suffers an emotional breakdown like this in the ''WesternAnimation/BatmanTheAnimatedSeries'' episode "I am the Night".
* [[MartianManhunter J'onn J'onzz]] temporarily quits the JusticeLeague late in the third season of ''JusticeLeagueUnlimited'' partly due to this. Mostly due to becoming [[HumansAreBastards estranged from humanity]], which Wonder Woman pointed out.
----