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  • Khawla Shehadeh

Rather die tired

Lately I am feeling very tired. Maybe I have an underlying ailment, perhaps I do too much or I sleep too little. However, I have the feeling that I am not alone; many people around me complain about being tired. I am comforted by that. My mother thinks it's the aftermath of three years of Corona restrictions and that we can now do and want everything again and that it's all a bit much. Could be. I don't know.


Actually, being tired is not necessarily a bad thing. You can see tiredness as a side effect of an active life in which you pursue ambitions, contribute, create, learn and enjoy. In that sense, I would rather die ravenously tired than enter my grave well rested. I would say so.


However, one fatigue is not the same as another. We should distinguish more between the different kinds of fatigue, a bit like the degrees of a burn. Fatigue is often lumped together when in fact we experience different causes and symptoms of fatigue. The remedies are therefore also different. Sometimes fatigue needs rest, sleep, relaxation, sometimes you need reassurance or a good conversation and other times you need exercise and sport.


For example, you can come home from work feeling exhausted, you don't want to do anything else but hang out on the sofa looking stupid, as my aunt calls it. You think you're physically exhausted, but if you manage to drag yourself to the gym, you actually come back more energised. Explain that to me. You were not physically tired, it was something else. Your head was full, you had stress and tension, you may have been dealing with emotions like fear, disappointment, insecurity, anger. You are drained, but your body wants nothing more than to move, it relaxes your nervous system.


Fatigue can also come from a leak in the energy flow due to processes that are in the background. You are not necessarily aware of what is happening, but in time you will lose your vitality. They take place in your head. There are several variants of this, I will give them some names: Future Fatigue, for example. That's when you worry a lot about what can/will happen next. There might be scenarios playing in your head that you are afraid of and you start thinking about what you would do. Compassion fatigue is when you carry the suffering of the world on your shoulders. For example, you read in the news app about the child who is missing, about war victims or about animal suffering in the world. Or you are worried about your nephew's operation and your colleague who seems to be a victim of domestic violence. You can't stand it and you walk around with a bad feeling. You would like to help others, to save them. Maybe it makes you feel a bit more insecure in the world. It costs you a lot of energy and you haven't done anything yet.


Another type of fatigue is the helper's fatigue. This is when you are happy to be there for everyone. You are always willing to help and others always know where to find you. You think it's only normal and you also get a lot in return, but in the meantime you are exhausted from arranging everything and taking care of everyone.


Another kind of fatigue I call dissatisfaction fatigue. You wonder whether this is it, have I made the right choices, what do I actually want, do I really like this, do I want to keep doing this, shouldn't I be looking for another job, partner, house, car, hobby, friends. This borders on comparison fatigue whereby the grass is always greener on the other side. You keep mowing and fertilising and wondering how it is possible that it is not as green yet.


I could go on and on about types of fatigue: change fatigue, anxiety fatigue, inferiority fatigue, loneliness fatigue, unprocessed-emotions fatigue, etc.


Yet, if we are not careful, fatigue can develop into overwork and eventually into a burn-out. In the latter case, you are really burned out. You have ignored all the light and sound signals and levers and now you are under the train. You can't do anything anymore. All you can do is cry, be exhausted and feel nothing. If that is not bad enough, then you tell yourself how you have failed and disappointed others. You really don't want this.


Now you may think: "I know what you mean but this is not happening to me". In that case, you should be extra vigilant, because it is often not the usual suspects who suffer. Surprisingly enough, it is the resilient powerful people who never fall down - you. So take care of yourself. Look at my website for training in how to deal with stress, tension and negative thoughts.



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