Every day, over the past few months, I have woken up with a different emotion pressing against me. It might have been anything. Sadness, fatigue, gratitude, anger, confusion, exhaustion, hopeful, perplexed, tired…
Some days I have woken up in a blur, wondering what day was the last one and what day will be the next. Each day interweaving into each other, confusing my mind about what each day should entail and where the motivation would come from. My mind encompassed by this over-arching and all-encompassing feeling of fatigue, contained by each hour, within each moment, that I was just trying to figure it all out…
Other days, I have woken up with a more optimistic view of the world. Hopeful, grateful, and accepting.
These days have ebbed and flowed, increased, and decreased. Sometimes those days felt like hours, and those hours felt like days. Sometimes I would just lie on the couch, staring at the ceiling, thinking what the hell am I going to do? Other times I would bound out of the house with my active wear on, pretending that I had nothing to worry about.
Many of us have been thrown into a turmoil. Our families, our communities, our businesses, our entire lives. The last few months, for all of us, have been confusing, and quite frankly, exhausting. Whether it be because you have had to become a home-school teacher, or you’ve had to work from your bedroom with five other housemates, or you’ve had to manage your first bout of intense anxiety, or you haven’t been able to turn on the news with the fear of what you might continue to hear.
The continuous word I hear from myself and others is “tired”…“fatigued”…“ but I don’t know why”…“why am I so exhausted?”… and even more so, “I don’t have a right to feel this way…”
These very thoughts and questions I remember asking myself a few years ago when I was unwell, and at the time, those in health positions around me told me that it was normal to feel this way, that what else could I expect if I was using my brain all the time, worrying, thinking, contemplating, about what was going on. What else could I expect from myself when I was consumed by things were not habitual, that wasn’t normal to my routine? Many of my days were spent arguing with myself, coming up against the system, fighting what was happening. I didn’t want to hear it, I didn’t want to see it, and that resistance is what made me completely depleted of energy.
In March and April this year, when I looked around me, all I could see was versions of myself 3 years ago, resisting what was happening, struggling to keep up with this facade that we keep telling ourselves that it’ll be over tomorrow, telling ourselves that we don’t have a right to feel the way we do, that someone else always has it worse off.
We aren’t allowing ourselves to accept the situation. We aren’t allowing ourselves to feel the way we have every right to feel.
One day, we all know deep down that this will be “over”. It will form part of our history books. The headlines will move on. The pages will have turned, and we will one day look back at this with a distant memory, thinking “Remember Covid- what was the number?” “Remember when we couldn’t leave the house…” “Remember when we managed to fast track our virtual products that we had been working on for years in the space of 12 days…”
“Oh yeah, I remember that… that was one hell of a time…”
We will forget about what it felt like to be in this situation, just like some days I forget what it was like to have had a severe mental illness. But right now, it doesn’t feel that way. It feels stagnant, permanent, as though it will be here forever.
Permanency is a feeling we get when we can’t emotionally see a way out. The logic might say otherwise but deep negative emotions can feel permanent in the moment that we are experiencing them. Just like when we feel a headache, we sit there and think “goodness, I can’t remember what it was like not having a headache” or when we feel a deep level of pain, in that moment, we can’t remember feeling anything else but that emotion.
I’ve experienced this feeling of permanency in so much of my life. It is a core function of human suffering, the feeling that it isn’t temporary, that it won’t go away, and that you might have to just come to terms with this forever.
But, just as I look back on the days when I didn’t think it would pass, that it wouldn’t only be temporary, I remind myself and I remind others… that we need to consciously be aware, be comforted even, that in this moment, what we are feeling, will pass. It is only temporary, and all of this forms part of the reality that makes up the fragility of the human race that we are. This is life, and this will be only a segment of that. We will get through, and it is going to be OK.
Reach out to learn more about Camille’s new talk Accepting the Unaccepted, a thought-provoking talk that takes attendees through the process of accepting change and adversity in work and life. Guided by lived experience, it uses story-telling to speak to four key points on why, as individuals, we find it difficult to accept situations that happen outside of our control and require us to adapt to change.
“Camille provides hope, understanding and strategy, with a sophisticated insight into how a person may think or feel in certain situations. Camille’s narrative style is captivating. We all had goosebumps in the room listening to her personal story being told in a eloquent but powerful way.”