“She was tired with that tiredness that only emptiness brings.” – Paulo Giordano
In the recent past starting in the pre-pandemic period, with disruption of our lives, we starting experiencing some level of fatigue. As it’s scientifically evidenced, humans are habitual creatures thus with the disruptions, we had to form new habits which were not as welcome into our norm. Consequently, the changes were not coming with a replacement of our earlier responsibilities which needed us to keep on working to make a living, sustain families and even make merry while at it. These disruptions then came with additional demands on lives, piling on psychological distress that was already being driven by the pandemic then media did their part. In every single news brief we would be imbibed with gloom and doom of the devastation of the pandemic ranging from job loses, salary cuts, disrupted supplies of essentials among others. It was all draining our energies and ultimately we were now faced with a second pandemic, the tiredness pandemic. I’d call it chronic fatigue but in this case it’s fatigue that’s not associated with any activity.
Yesterday I had a moment to catch up with a friend of mine and one of the discussion points we had was around this tiredness pandemic that’s affecting us with a keen interest on understanding how it comes about. This is not to indicate that we have the answers but rather will hypothesize. Generally, from a psychological standpoint humans live on hope and aspiration of a better future. With this, we get bouts of energy to keep us going, some motivation and positive energy to lift our moods. This helps us weather the storms. On the backdrop of the pandemic from our reflection especially among young people and Kenyans in general, a struggling economy took a nosedive for the worse. Coupled with social vices such as corruption which has taken center-stage we noted that most Kenyans especially the hardworking ones were feeling frustrated as they were not able to realize the fruits of their toil. They are forced to toil with no hope of ever achieving the better future or living the dream life they had hoped of. This leads to disillutionment and apathy which we believe is contributing to the chronic tiredness.
Considering this analogy would work for those who are in the working population, we got concerned about the students’ population especially those in universities and tertiary colleges. On this account we noted that as much as when we are growing up, we are sold the hope of a better life through education. Unfortunately, as we graduate we are faced with the reality that jobs are not there. The education which was the key to a better future, doesn’t open the lock anymore and the future seems so bleak for young people. In universities, they hope to graduate but as this happens, they also worry about what the next step will look like. This apprehension drives chronic fatigue among students including among those who in societal standards were poised for a successful future e.g., those who pursue medical courses as even doctors are not assured of employment anymore. Graduate doctors after internship are reduced to locum experts moving from one clinic to the other, hospital to hospital to make a living with little room for professional development. All these contribute to the tiredness pandemic.
Reflecting on the work we did awhile back with Ryculture Health and Social Innovation under the Bonfire Chats program, we were keen on exploring how such social support programs would serve to give hope to young people especially university students and more specific, young doctors trying to make ends meet in a society that has lost touch with their experiences.
“I am so tired even my tiredness is tired.”