I struggle a lot with feeling like I don't do enough to justify how stressed and anxious and tired I feel a lot of the time. I hide it but the truth is that there is a constant nagging fear that I am just faking it and being overdramatic for attention or because I'm really just lazy. You know, all those things I've written about as being capitalistic value judgments that ignore reality. I have so much trouble with applying the things I preach about giving people a fucking break to myself.
And I'm sure a lot of people can relate really hard to that. There's never enough you can do, right? It's never enough for that voice inside your head to be satisfied. And no matter how exhausted you feel or what physical symptoms manifest from your stress, you never really, truly believe that those feelings are real or unexaggerated. But sometimes you feel so tired that you literally can't make yourself move. And you think, "what's wrong with me?"
Part of it is culture. Hopefully you've already seen stuff on the internet decrying those absurd calls for people to be extra productive right now, gaining new skills during a global crisis involving a deadly virus or starting a new business venture at the advent of a global depression. They're right, we are all going through a period of trauma together. And even when it feels like it's no different from before, maybe if it feels like nothing is really worse or harder, that trauma and stress are still there.
My life really is not all that different than it was pre-pandemic, but today as soon as I was finished with my regular work, I was hit with a feeling of absolute, all-encompassing exhaustion right in the middle of my gut, or what felt like the deepest depths of my soul. And all I could do was lay down. There was nothing particularly hard about today or over the weekend. No news that was particularly shocking.
But I felt like that.
I think we could all use a global campaign of giving ourselves a fucking break. For real. It's not just the pandemic. Do you remember the shit that was going on before this? What about the national trauma of an impeachment trial that was just pure gaslighting from Republicans, which followed numerous scandals and investigations because the president just would not stop doing completely fucked up shit. It's been three and a half years of fucked up, people! Starting with that other national trauma that was the 2016 election. When did we recover from that? Oh that's right, NEVER, because we didn't have time for that, did we?
It's just been one clusterfuck after another and thinking about it like that makes me wonder how the fuck we all held it together? What kind of animal are we? Like what the fuck?
And let's expand out even further. Do you know how fast technology has been advancing in the past few decades? Do you know how many massive cultural changes have happened, all on a global scale, just since the internet became widely available? It took us millions of years to figure out tools and invent the wheel, but in the past 30 years we've become a species that spends the majority of its waking hours looking at screens and getting a ton of information shoved into its brain all day every day.
We lived in fairly small tribes, isolated from one another, for millions of years and then all of the sudden we can all talk to each other from all the way around the world any time we want? We all get to find out the kind of shit our national leaders get into and how fucked the system is for the rest of us? We see terrible things happening to our fellow human beings and learn about horrific injustices every single fucking day, and we still get out of bed in the morning?
If the human species does survive past the next couple centuries, this time will be looked on as a big period of change, maybe the biggest ever to happen to the species. They'll study how our brains rapidly changed to cope with our new realities and how the advent of internet technology fueled renaissance and revolution. And they'll be like "wow, can you imagine?" They won't know how we got through it.
I hope that day comes. But in the meantime, please give yourself a break. If you give yourself a break then I'll give myself a break. Deal?