In the previous post, I’ve tried discussing how chronic fatigue comes about reflecting on my conversation with a friend. As I think through this, I acknowledge that I have experienced this and still have moments when I am not able to overcome my exhaustion while at the very moment can’t point to any particular thing that’s causing it. On this account, I’ve been keen to try to make sense of this feeling, find coping mechanisms and most importantly find a way to change the narrative. In this article I propose some mechanisms that I believe are viable in helping us cope with this tiredness pandemic and most importantly how we can overcome it as a society.
As Jordan Peterson argues in his lectures, there is no way you will help the world when you can’t help yourself. It is therefore important for each of us to work on improving ourselves to be our best selves. When we feel exhausted and drained to the core, it’s advisable to take time off to regain and ground ourselves on what really matters to us at the core. I remember, recently having a conversation with some psychologist friends of mine where one of the key worries that people were having revolved around job insecurities, workaholism and lack of work-life balance especially with work from home arrangements. One of our friends made a pretty decent case that the worst thing that could happen to any of us was losing a job, which can’t be equated to breaking down in efforts to keep a job. She argued that we needed to be intentional with our wellbeing even though we had such high expectations on ourselves to be successful. We need to be alive and healthy to realize and enjoy our success. Dead people do not become successful.
Life is full of stressors beyond our control and we need to acknowledge that we occupy a relatively small portion of the entire universe for a relatively short period of time. By acknowledging this it is important to focus on the now and those things that are within our control. When we work in a world that isn’t as meritocratic as we would wish for, giving up isn’t the answer. All we have to do is acknowledge that it isn’t a fair world, be empathetic to ourselves and most importantly keep doing our fair share where and when we can. Operating within our circle of influence and making the best of it. This not only gives us peace but also relieves us of anxieties and apprehension of doom which may not come to be.
On a societal level, we have to acknowledge that we share the distress associated with social vices and unfavorable living conditions. It is not an isolated case but a shared narrative with far reaching ramifications. Our guaranteed way of coping and leading meaningful lives is by fostering cohesive, and supportive social structures to serve as safety nets for us. Reflecting on the model of the alcoholic anonymous, we acknowledge that individuals with drinking problem come together with a common commitment to work their way out of alcoholism. In so doing, they share experiences, learn from each other, hold each other accountable and support each other through the journey. In dealing with chronic fatigue driven and contributed to by the social dynamics of life, we have each other to hold onto in getting a way out. From a medical professional perspective, I believe we have the advantage of having professional associations where we can come together share our experiences with relatability and work to address them. We are our own safe spaces and we can change the narrative.
Finally, talking and being there to support each other will only achieve so much. We need action to change the circumstances we are dealing with. This is where I draw on the Ryculture Health and Social Innovation Bonfire Chats programs to explore mechanisms of addressing our challenges as individuals affected and adopt the social innovation hub model to design, deploy and institutionalize solutions to ensure they are sustainable and so that we get to change our narratives. We can’t and should not let the next generation go through the same experiences.
“Fatigue makes fools of us all. It robs us of our skills, our judgement, and blinds us to creative solutions.” – Harvey Mackay