In the early morning of June 24, 2016, I woke up with my phone ringing like crazy. An article I wrote heralding the outcome of the Brexit vote went viral, just hours after the shocking result.
Regrettably, this is not a case of the crystal ball staring at my part. One smart editor suggested that I write about the impact on both sides. So I wrote a ‘just in case’ piece that probably won’t be used, because the Remain vote – and common sense – is likely to prevail.
Yes, that’s then. What followed was a few years of heightened vigilance, as we all struggled to absorb the biggest event affecting Ireland since the War of Independence. I look back on those days with a lot of nostalgia and a feeling of sadness.
Of course, hot on the heels of Brexit has arrived, the global pandemic known as Covid-19. And now, as we temporarily remove the mask, along with a war. No one got bogged down in the conflicts of the ancient Middle East, but in Europe.
“Anxiety burnout” is the term psychologists use to describe feelings of chronic stress and depression. It comes from the body’s response when completely overwhelmed by life events, such as the feeling of a person facing a lost person to the breakdown of a marriage, for example. But now it has gone collective. We’ve all been living with severe anxiety for half a decade.
We have seen the great resilience of the Ukrainian people and those in Europe rallying their forces to help them.
But the other side of burnout anxiety is a vulnerability so large that you simply can’t deal with it all.
No personal worries, our privacy is gone. People are still getting sick, losing their jobs, caught up in tumultuous relationships.
It is the work of life that we all face in ordinary times.
Plucking into global events carries huge ramifications, and there’s every possibility that some of us will simply give up. Self-reliance has decreased.
A psychology article I read outlines the levels of the “fatigue problem” and what you can do to avoid it.
The first is to avoid the news. You can’t process another photo of bodies scattered across the street, or children gathered in a train station. You can increase your Netflix bubble viewing, only to feel guilty for avoiding the suffering of others.
Then there is ‘learned helplessness’ – a response to trauma. Adrenaline spurs the response – like we did on the first block, for example, drip away. Things get tiring, feelings of frustration mount.
It is described as putting your car in neutral and hitting the gas.
Next up: numbing emotions. Every day becomes the last day. You are tired, exhausted, depressed. Others get angry and say to themselves “we didn’t do anything wrong”. However, we are here.
We are all here, somewhere along this axis. And it’s fine. There is no solution, so all we can do is take care of ourselves. Process, balance, chat, distraction, conservation. Carefree life seems far away. But we have to find it in moments, not days.
https://www.independent.ie/opinion/comment/we-have-to-learn-to-deal-with-worry-burnout-by-taking-good-care-of-ourselves-41426089.html We must learn to deal with ‘anxiety of burnout’ by taking good care of ourselves