I have always struggled with fatigue. I have always understood that to be primarily my genetic makeup. A complex combination of low blood pressure, a tendency towards insomnia and being highly introverted among other things. But a few years ago I suddenly noticed that my fatigue also has an emotional component. It was a real shock – one of those ‘scales falling from your eyes’ moments. My world fell into a new relief as I realised that fatigue is an escape mechanism for me.
A few years on, I can read my fatigue a little better. I beginning to be able to discern the qualitative difference between genuine fatigue (like the end of semester fatigue I feel right now) and the fatigue which is about avoidance. The physical experience is slightly different, and most importantly, the avoidant fatigue doesn’t really go away when I hibernate.
Recognising the difference is a bit of a pain sometimes, it means that it is harder to kid myself that an afternoon bonding with my bed with make me feel better when I have acknowledged that I am in the midst of an emotional reaction rather than genuine fatigue. It often takes me a while to figure out what the real issue is, and I am more likely to do that if I go for walk than if I curl up in a ball.
The point is simply this, something that I took for granted as being an inherent part of me turns out to be, at least in part, a coping mechanism. And as I grow in my capacity to read the subtle differences, I think I am living better – dealing stuff a little more directly, and being a little more honest with myself.
So, my question is simply this – what are your warning signals that things are little off kilter?