Emotional tiredness

The so-called "crisis fatigue" is a new clinical phenomenon that arises as a result of the current context. If you feel identified, we will explain what it consists of and what you can do.

Crisis fatigue is a reality. Beyond being the new fashionable term or the classic label that runs through social networks, we are facing an obvious fact. It is a sensation that a large part of the population experiences in a context of uncertainty, changes, pressures and fears. Exhaustion, indeterminate physical pain, apathy ...

Psychiatrists and psychologists clarify that although at the moment we cannot define it as a clinical disorder , we must give it some time to see how it progresses. We are clearly facing a new situation worldwide: health crisis, social crisis ... Waiting for new psychological manifestations in the face of these events is understandable and even expected.

We are exposed to unpredictable, demanding and often adverse events that it is normal to feel overwhelmed. However, this fact becomes more complex when we are dealing with people with previous mental health problems . We analyze it.

Crisis fatigue: what is it?

Arianna Galligher , director of the Stress, Trauma and Resilience (STAR) Program at Ohio State University, points out something interesting. We are used to facing crises, however, the current situation is very different. To put it simply: it is a great crisis that leads, in turn, to multiple related crises. This kaleidoscope of challenges places us in a present and a future that sometimes overwhelms us, overwhelms us and immobilizes us.

Crisis fatigue is defined as a phenomenon in which the mind and body try to adapt to an environmental event that disproportionately accelerates the natural response to stress. The release of adrenaline and cortisol is continuous and excessive, that is, it is not limited to a specific moment, to a specific threat against which we must defend ourselves. Reality is full of small (or big) threats and this results in a series of very concrete manifestations.

What are the symptoms of crisis fatigue?

Something we must understand is that the signs and symptoms of this condition can vary quite a bit from one person to another. However, there are some common elements that we can highlight. They are as follows:

  • Hyperarousal A marked nervousness appears, an anxiety that activates us more than normal . Irritability, bad mood and the need to do things, act and respond (but without knowing how) arise.
  • Abstinence. In a second phase, we stop experiencing this hyperactivity to lead to apathy , reluctance and a state in which what surrounds us is perceived as a kind of unreality. Mental blocks also appear, not knowing how to react to things, suffering from concentration problems, not finding the courage to solve everyday problems ...
  • Accused and persistent physical exhaustion.
  • Fear, constant negativity, anguish ...
  • Sleep disturbances: either you cannot get a good rest or, on the contrary, excessive sleepiness appears.
  • The eating style also changes. The person eats poorly, it can even lead to drinking alcohol excessively or turning to unhealthy foods, etc.
  • In the most extreme cases of crisis fatigue, dramatic behavioral changes can appear . An example would be putting aside work responsibilities, neglecting the family, etc.

What would be the cause of this state?

There are several reasons that could explain crisis fatigue. The first we have already mentioned: we live an immediate reality in which there is not only a threat or a challenge, but also a multitude of uncertainties before which we can feel overwhelmed. Added to this is not knowing when this situation will be resolved.

  • On the other hand, we can also refer to psychological mechanisms. Many of these coping resources are exhausted , that is, we often get tired of being strong, we reach a limit where we no longer know how to react or what to do.
  • Likewise, another fact should be highlighted. The continuous release of cortisol, the stress hormone, causes numerous and dangerous effects : tachycardia, muscle pain, exhaustion, headaches, high blood pressure ...
  • In addition, and from an emotional point of view, it could be said that in the current reality fear and negativity are contagious. Sometimes, continued exposure to the media or the pressure of the closest environment can intensify the feeling of exhaustion and helplessness.

Strategies that we can apply

Something that we are clear from the field of psychology is that when the current situation stabilizes and we recover (in a certain way) the needed normality, the next step will be to flatten the curve of mental health. The increase in depression and anxiety disorders is immense right now.

Nor can we neglect patients with previous problems in this matter: borderline personality disorder, schizophrenia, bipolar disorder ... We are living a present of great harshness and need in this area. With which, the only thing that serves us now are real and close strategies and that community services know how to attend, detect and prevent problems.

On the other hand, with regard to crisis fatigue, it would be appropriate for us to take into account the following keys:

  • Let us try to take care of our life habits : carry healthy routines, take care of safety and hygiene measures, attend to food and know how to prioritize. All of this is essential.
  • Let us always have our support network close at hand, be it friends or family. It is vital not to feel alone, to have someone to share and talk with.
  • Let us seek specialized help when we need it.

Maintaining hope, developing new coping strategies in the face of stress, and managing emotions would be other basic nutrients to work on . Either way, it's okay to remember that these series of reactions are completely normal. Being ill, feeling fear and experiencing helplessness is something to be expected at this time.

Let us not hesitate to seek support to navigate a little better in the midst of this complex reality.

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