Concepts of the Good Life

By Dr. Margaret Rappaport

We have come to associate time pressure with feeling successful. People appear to thrive on busy-ness and boast about crammed schedules. Celebrity status is achieved when appointments can’t be made for months. Layers of message services protect the most harassed from any confrontation with real interactions. When people experience a sudden change in their time frames, they are perturbed. They feel the future is less certain; they are stuck in the present; or they are losing ground and going away backwards. Panic sets in when there isn’t a way to use time productively.

Yet, these same people feel controlled by their schedules. The recognition they get and the self importance they feel pales by comparison with the bothersome fatigue they fight.

Time Out!

Fatigue is a pervasive feeling of tiredness. It is the result of juggling too many demands. It happens when people are in conflict over how much to gratify and please themselves as opposed to staying in a harness of ceaseless work. Low energy and no enthusiasm are the marks of fatigue.

Looked at another way, fatigue is exhaustion which limits activity. This is a weariness that leaves your permanently drained of vitality. Sleep fails to pep you up. You start the day as tired as when you went to bed. It has several causes:

  • Presence of an infection
  • Nutritional problems; weight loss with resultant anemia
  • Low energy due to frustrated or unfulfilled goals
  • Unrealistic expectations of yourself

Fatigue stoppers include the following:

  • Keep a daily list to help you plan free time
  • Share work with others; delegate
  • Look after your health by eating good food
  • Exercise for thirty minutes every day

Time On Your Hands

Depression is a sense that time moves too slowly and there is too much time to fill. It is the most widely expressed psychological problem today. Approximately 20 million diagnosable cases are recorded each year. It is estimated about ten people in a hundred have a depressive episode at one time or another in their lives. The problem is pervasive. The cost of treatment exceeds $2 billion every year.

Even a minor depressive experience can be alarming for people. Symptoms such as

  • Sad feelings
  • No enthusiasm
  • No energy
  • Pessimism
  • Demoralization – that blah feeling despite and adequate life
  • Feeling that things are out of control must be taken seriously and remedied.

Often a brief respite will help. Taking time for a vacation, exercising more, or making a need change can sometimes help. The thing not to do is turn to drugs or alcohol, which only serve to complicate the problem.

Serious depression must be treated.

Severe symptoms make this remedy necessary:

  • A distressed mood
  • Sleep and appetite disturbance
  • Physical lethargy or agitation
  • Loss of interest in living
  • Self reproach
  • Concentration difficulties
  • Thoughts of death

Precious Time

Telepression is an avoidance of the future. We become unsettled when confronted with the uncertainties of the future. We stop thinking about it. We don’t plan for it. Feelings are confused and motivation to engage life is lacking.

Telepression causes us to behave as though life just happens to us. It blinds us to the reality that what happens to us isn’t about us. We are much more than our circumstances. Our relationship to the future is delicate. We develop hopes and dreams that we try to get by achieving goals. In order to realize our plans we extend ourselves into near and more distant future with a sense of possibility. Even so, we find it difficult to get an imaginary taste of the unspecified future. Facing the future with both its possibilities and its risks produces many responses.

Telepression is directly connected to the turbulence of our times. Upheavals in sexuality, sex roles, race relations, and political disillusionment have resulted in a lack of confidence.