February 3rd, 2019

Overworked, overstrained, overly tired or burnt-out? Are they hierarchical terms and concepts? Does that even matter? At the end of the nineteenth century, with the arrival of the train, the telephone and the industrial society, the term ‘nervous weakness’ made its appearance. People in Europe went to recuperate in spas, at least if you could afford it, as this was not within reach for every class.

Millennials (mostly students), women up to about 36 years of age, people who teach or work in healthcare; they are just some examples of groups within our society that suffer more than average from severe burn-out. A burn-out is diagnostically close to depression, because from being low in energy it can be just a small step towards a mood disorder.

Psychiatrist and philosopher Denys observes that on the one hand we are confronted with the ‘vulnerability paradox’ – in which we think we live in a comfortable society but must relentlessly be successful and happy within it – and on the other hand with a new class system based on resilience and adaptability of individuals , who are then measured against its rules. Completely undesirable, in his opinion.

Suffering is absolute, and never relative: you can not measure the ‘height’ of your own suffering relative to that of others. If a person is obstructed in leading their own life, that will become suffering. And it will become time to seek help. And that is not something to be ashamed of, but, rather, a consequence of the ‘Zeitgeist’.

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