To the driving, striving, perfectionist highly frenetic work patterns can be challenging and stimulating. Excessive striving or excessive demands over a long period take their toll.
For workaholic overachievers - overwork is a norm and sleeping problems and sleep deprivation are par for the course.
Wired’ and hooked on stress - artificial stimulants maintain alertness and drive. ' Leisure ' time tends toward substituting one kind of high for another. Once conditioned this way the system cannot slow down - but oscillates between ‘flat-out’ and ‘wiped out’.
Self inflicted or not - such stress generates fatigue. Many report feeling tired all the time and intermittent exhaustion. The end state may be physical burnout - where the system is out of energy - or nervous exhaustion and mental burnout or even nervous breakdown.
On the way there are usually plenty of warning symptoms. Headaches and various other local or non-specific physical aches increase with rising levels of stress. Type-A drivers and strivers - proud of their toughness and ability to survive - are generally in denial of all this.
This sense of feeling wired may extend into states where sufferers feel agitated and can’t stop thinking. Now at an elevated level of stress, they are in constant need of an energy boost and feel they are losing their edge. With diminishing motivation and morale they beat up on themselves and try to flog themselves harder to get back on the pace.
They begin to make mistakes and their capacity to make a decision is eroded. The process of making decisions may become unduly disorientating because they can't think clearly any more. By this stage - most people realise that something is going badly wrong.
Excessive sweating and dizziness may begin - together with other anxiety symptoms. People may feel detached or out of touch - even quite unreal - maybe hovering on the edge of panic or experiencing full blown panic attacks. A sense of hopelessness and impending collapse may finally force them to seek help
Fairly advanced degradation may be characterised by fibromyalgia - not a widely recognised medical condition ( see footnote ) - or adrenal exhaustion - a diagnostic category which is heavily disputed.
Ultimately, in chronic fatigue the system may fall into a state described but not universally recognised as chronic fatigue syndrome - or M. E. - where the system is unable to re-charge or get energy with which to recover. Like a badly tuned car with an emptied tank - a mere refill will not allow it to start or run again. The system has to be re-aligned and cleansed of ' sludge' before it can begin to function properly. Ominously - some ‘bits’ may need to be replaced ! The longer it is over-driven' the bigger the necessary overhaul.
These end stages are frequently accompanied by depression, making recovery more difficult.
out of touch
can't make decisions
syndrome / M. E.
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