Friday, August 21, 2020

Friday Feature: Tired of Being Tired

"Who knew that not leaving your house could be so exhausting?"

Who indeed.

One of the toughest things about sheltering in place is the social isolation -- but that's hardly news. Even if you're with family or staying in touch with friends through the wonders of technology, it's easy to feel alone. Each of us processes this situation differently and it's easy to feel misunderstood when your way of coping is not the same as those around you.

One of the reasons that therapy works is that a good counselor makes clients feel safe and understood. All feelings are okay (although all actions are not), even if they sound illogical. After all, emotions are, by definition, illogical.

This week, I found two articles that gave me that sense of therapeutic embrace. The first one, quoted at the opening of this post, was actually posted by Derek Beres in Big Think last April. Just the sheer reminder that fatigue arises from so much more than physical activity made me feel a little less guilty about my wacky sleep schedule.

I stumbled on the second one very late last night (in my world)/early this morning (according to the clock and my husband). The thread is the same -- that sense of mental exhaustion we all feel after being trapped for months in a situation that seems inescapable -- but it adds a new label.

Crisis fatigue.

Maybe you've heard the term before -- I had not -- but it once again summed up so much of what I'm feeling. Psychologist Dr. Eric Zillmer is quick to point out that this is more phenomenon than diagnosis, but the article goes beyond the label and shares coping tips nevertheless.

Alone isn't always a bad thing, especially now when our health may depend on it. But loneliness, on the other hand, can be debilitating. Kindred spirits, whether face-to-face, over Zoom, or on the page, can lift that cloud of loneliness by reminding us that we're not as alone as we fear we are. 

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