fatigue

I Ignored My Fatigue, and Here’s Why You Shouldn’t

Author: Maria Pappas, Real Life Stories

My summer was, in a word, hectic. I moved, traveled to five states, and worked at three different summer camps, all while I maintained my full-time job. Naturally, when I started becoming really tired, I wasn’t too surprised or concerned. I thought that it was normal to be tired from doing all of these things. And, usually, it is. I was run down, and it just made sense. 

Fatigue, however, is not normal. And unfortunately, I learned that the hard way, by letting it get really bad before I did anything about it.

I first noticed that something was weird when I was not able to sleep through the night for a few weeks straight. Usually, I’m a pretty heavy sleeper. But even though I was so tired, my body would not shut off. It took a toll on me in every imaginable way.

 

Physically
In the past, I could run five miles a couple times a week. However, this past summer, I could barely walk half a mile to the train without my legs feeling sore for hours. My muscles always ached like I had just lifted 100-pound weights. I rarely felt “good” for more than a few hours at a time.

Socially
I’m usually a very empathetic person, and all of a sudden I felt nothing, even after hearing startling or upsetting news. I found it difficult to focus on anyone or anything except how tired I was. I didn’t remember the things that people told me, which was frustrating to both me and them when we tried to have conversations. I was often frustrated and impatient with myself and with others, and it made me think that no one wanted to hang out with me (even though I was never told or shown that outright, thankfully).

Mentally
Work was extremely difficult. Simple tasks that I would easily do daily became difficult. I craved mundane and repetitive work, when usually I do a million things at the same time. Why? Because I felt like that was all I could do.

My memory took a toll
At summer camps, I couldn’t remember my campers’ names after having spent days with them. Yes, there are lots of kids at camp, but I’ve worked at camp for years, and this was never a problem before. Even more concerning? When I looked back at the end of most days, I couldn’t remember anything that I had done that day.

Anxiety, and depressive symptoms
These were also at an all time high, and besides minor anxiety here and there, I had never felt these types of symptoms before in my life. I never wanted to get out of bed, and I constantly had anxiety about whether this would go away, or if I would ever feel okay again.

 

As you can imagine, I tried everything I could think of to fix it. I drank endless cups of coffee to make me feel less foggy, I took naps whenever I could with the vain hope of revitalization, and I spent my weekends, days off, and nights doing as little as possible. 

When I’d tried everything I could think of to no avail, I became very concerned. This wasn’t a normal tired, I eventually admitted to myself. I was sure that something was wrong. I started calling it “fatigue” instead of just “tired,” hoping that someone could give me an answer.

Well, people gave me answers all right.

“You’re not eating well. “You’re not exercising enough.” “You need to sleep more.” “Well, you’ve been doing a lot. This is totally normal.” All of these were things I heard way too often. Or, more annoyed answers: “I’m tired too, you’re not the only one working hard,” and “you’re overreacting, it’s all in your head.” I found myself Googling “symptoms of [insert malady here]” way too often. So I stopped telling people, for fear of sounding crazy or dramatic.

And I decided to do something about it: I had blood work done, and it came back positive for Lyme disease. How I felt when I got the results back was the most scared and relieved I’ve probably ever felt in my life. The diagnosis explained all of the things that I was feeling, and I’ve since started antibiotics and feel a thousand times better.

I didn’t have the tell-tale signs of Lyme disease: the bulls-eye rash or the fever. If I did have a fever, it was low-grade enough for me to work through. So really, the fatigue was the only sign that I could go on. I wish that I hadn’t ignored that sign for so long, because this problem could have been resolved much sooner.

The thing about fatigue is that it looks normal to an outsider. You walk and talk like you always have. No one really notices anything except that you’re tired, and maybe moodier than usual. But in your head, you know that something is different. It’s not dramatic. It’s necessary for your health to address fatigue.

 


For more information on Lyme disease, visit www.lymedisease.org

office

When Millennials Rise Above in Their Careers

Author: Vanessa Constantinidis, Career Advice

I worked in my alma mater’s study abroad office for four years during my undergraduate career, and was so excited that work-study experience landed me my first “big girl job” at an international non-profit organization in Washington, D.C., working as a Program Assistant. The following summer felt like eternity. Waiting, waiting, waiting to get a call back for a job opportunity. It didn’t help that I was determined to work in international education.

Finally, after three months of postgrad anxiety, I finally had what many millennials want: a salary job working 9-5, moving to a new city, and my very own apartment (with a roommate of course). But most importantly, finally a step into my chosen field.

Eight months in, I was literally referred to as a paper pusher. I looked to my two co-workers in the cubicles next to me, also millennials, to see their reactions — and their faces resembled mine in all ways. Appalled. Discouraged. Confused.

Paper pushers? No, no! We are young and we are innovators. We know how to connect best to students, because we just graduated. We know how to communicate. We are smart, well-traveled, and fluent in multiple languages.

Being referred to as a paper pusher made me question every single academic choice I had ever made. And, I’m sure my inner dialogue will sound familiar to many of you.

Should I not have been an English major? Did my double major even matter? Did I really just spend four years taking out loans to afford my dream school… to do a job that an intern could be doing? Maybe if I had studied business my colleagues would take me more seriously and understand that I matter.  

I’m supposed to be changing the world. I’m supposed to be guiding students to study abroad, and gain a global perspective. I’m supposed to be helping students step outside of their comfort zones. Even though my job position was low on the totem pole, I knew I was more than just a paper pusher.

That comment made me only want to work harder. Immediately, my next step was to consider Master’s programs to advance my education. Not just for the degree, but to continue learning and challenging myself.

In a sense, I was a paper pusher. I had to literally print out health forms and acceptance forms and bring them to our Program Officers to review. But that wasn’t what defined me, and I knew that the job was just a stepping stone.

The truth is, you will always have to start somewhere, and it’s usually at the bottom. The thing that you cannot do is let it keep you down. Be humble and patient in your first step, but remember that you have the power to change your future, and eventually to change the world.

Four years later, I’ve gone from being an assistant to co-managing a college admissions office as the Associate Director. I understand the importance of “paper pushing,” because I once had to do it. I see how the small things affect the big picture. I also see how studying two majors that I love, at a small, liberal arts university that I adore, turned me into the person that I am today. A person who believes that everyone is important and able to make a difference, especially millennials.

And, of course, it was a learning experience as well.

Don’t let the millennial stereotype be true
Yes, you can change this stereotype, or at the very least, take a step in the right direction. Be on time. Be attentive. Work hard. Don’t look for excuses. Don’t go to work hungover. And, if you do, make sure no one can tell.

Learn from great managers and terrible managers
Both will make you grow. You’ll learn what to do, and what not to do. And both do have the power to help you in your long-term career growth.

Don’t text or pick up your phone during a meeting
In fact, do not even take out your phone during meetings. Give the meeting your undivided attention. People will notice. And they’ll especially notice if you’re not paying attention because you’re on your phone.

Don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t good enough
And, if they do, don’t get mad — prove them wrong. Work harder than you’ve ever worked before. You know what you’re doing, you know you deserve this job (and more). Let them see it too.

Don’t give up
You are young, and that is why you are going to change the world. You’re equipped with new ideas, energy, and have the sparkle in your eyes to keep learning. You will have setbacks, we all do. But you can rise above them as well.

And most importantly, when you start to manage the assistant, intern, the paper pusher — make sure to buy them coffee.

roommate

How to Survive Living With a Roommate Who’s Also Your Friend

Adulting, Author: Danny Abriano

I didn’t go away to college, so the first time I ever had a roommate was when I was well into my career. And that roommate just happened to be one of my closest friends.

There are all types of things — good and bad — that come along with having a roommate. When that roommate is one of your best friends, those things present themselves in different ways. And how you handle them will impact not just your living situation, but your relationship with someone whose presence in your life you value.

 

Rent and bills are business, even when your friend is involved
Do not be the person who needs to be asked more than once for the rent. If only one of you has your name on the lease, the other is responsible for paying the rent each month. That means the other roommate has to transfer the money over at least a few days in advance. Whether it’s with Venmo, by handing your friend cash, or some other way, do not ever slack off and pay late. It’ll put your friend and roommate in an awful spot. The same goes for bills (cable, internet, other utilities, etc.). Pay your share immediately.

Understand that you’re a team
If you’re a millennial who is living with another millennial, odds are that one or both of you has an active social life that often precludes you from paying attention to the cleanliness of the apartment. When you do have time to focus on it (at least once per week, unless you want visitors to think you’re a slob), help one another out. Dishes in the sink aren’t yours? Wash them anyway. The bathroom is filthy and you don’t want to clean it alone? Guess what, someone has to. Your roommate will recognize that you did something you didn’t have to, and take care of it for you next time.

Respect boundaries
Even though you’re close friends and have probably seen and done almost everything with this person, there are times when they’ll need space. Offer to be there for them if you think they’re in need, but back off if they reject it. If your friend comes home, and is furious for no reason, chalk it up to them having had a bad day. Don’t take it personally. And give them time to cool down.

Enjoy one another’s company
This seems obvious, right? You’re close friends who are living with one another. Hanging out and having fun should come naturally. But often, it doesn’t. If you both have full-time jobs, life will get in the way. And seeing each other every single day and night can take a bit of the shine off the friendship. But you’re close friends for a reason. Go out to dinner. Watch the game together. Sit on the couch and talk nonsense for a bit. Unwind.

Have an issue? Don’t let it fester
If your roommate/friend is doing something (or multiple things) that get on your nerves, tell them. If you keep it inside, you’ll start to resent them, while slowly going insane. That’s a bad combination. It can be awkward to tell your friend if something they do is bothering you. But the alternative is much worse. Tell them what’s on your mind. Your friendship and relationship as roommates will be better for it.

books

Very Adult Lessons from Beloved Children’s Books

Author: Kerrin Frappier, Entertainment

Once upon a time, parents read their millennial children stories to help them fall asleep, and to teach them about the world that they were growing up in.

At the time, these books gave us warnings about trusting strangers with very big teeth, and how pathological lying can prove fatal. Honesty and caution are important road marks for any responsible adult to follow, but even seemingly silly stories have their own pieces of advice to share. These books may not be fairy tales, but being open to their guidance as adults may make us a bit happier about our continuing journeys through adulthood.

 

REAL LOVE MAKES US “REAL” PEOPLE from The Velveteen Rabbit by Margery Williams
At first glance, the stuffed rabbit a young boy receives as a Christmas present is not much to look at. It doesn’t move on its own, and seems rather old-fashioned. The rabbit knows that the only way he can become real to the little boy is through the boy’s love for the stuffed animal. The rabbit sees little hope in becoming real, until he takes the place of another toy lost in the nursery. From then on, the boy and the rabbit are inseparable, that is, until the boy becomes very ill. All the toys and bedding in the nursery must be burned to prevent the disease from spreading, and as the velveteen rabbit mourns the end of his life with his beloved boy, a fairy appears and leads him to the forest to be with the real-life rabbits.

Truly, there is nothing as powerful as love. Not just the word love, or crushes, or lust, but real, genuine, unconditional love. This is the love from family, friends, mentors, and partners that can be life-changing. It transforms us into who we are meant to be.

YOUR OPPORTUNITIES ARE (STILL) ENDLESS from Oh, the Places You’ll Go! by Dr. Seuss
A common, yet thoughtful, gift for any graduate, the last book to be published while the author was still living is one of his most inspiring. The unnamed character in Oh, the Places You’ll Go! is leaving town and comes upon “The Waiting Place” (where people wait for things to happen) along their journeys. But the narrator makes it clear that the protagonist can go anywhere he chooses.

This lesson should not be reserved for those taking on new careers, or graduating high school or college. You can change your direction any time you want! It is never too late to embark on a new path.

EVERYONE HAS TO GROW UP from The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne
Even Christopher Robin’s time in the Hundred Acre Wood has to come to an end. It seems Piglet, Pooh, Eeyore, and Christopher Robin are all aware of this reality, and in the final chapter of a book full of adventures, Christopher Robin’s friends throw him a farewell party.

Growing up can be painful. A person leaves behind all the things he or she has known about the world, and who they have been to this point. Responsibilities can be overwhelming, and life is no longer as simple as visiting old friends. But as The House at Pooh Corner comes to a close, Pooh promises never to forget his friend Christopher Robin. We should never forget the places we have been, and the wonderful memories we made while we learning to grow up.

IT’S NOT ABOUT THE MATERIAL THINGS from How the Grinch Stole Christmas by Dr. Seuss
Sure, it’s a holiday favorite, but at the heart of How the Grinch Stole Christmas is the reminder that material things cannot make you happy, and being miserable hurts no one but yourself.

In this day and age, it is easy to see what we do not have, and compare ourselves to others. But does owning the latest iPhone give us anything but a fleeting sense of satisfaction? It wasn’t about the presents or trees in Whoville. Despite our collective desire to have it all, this is one lesson we should keep in our hearts all year long.

OUR DAMAGES DO NOT MAKE US WORTHLESS from Corduroy by Don Freeman
Lonely and perched on a department store shelf, Corduroy is spotted by a young girl, Lisa, whose mother refuses to buy him because of a missing button on his overalls. Corduroy searches the store for the long-lost button, but to no avail. To his surprise, Lisa comes back into the store the next day without her mother, and purchases him with her own money. Once they arrive home, she sews a button on his clothing, happy to have found a friend.

Our shortcomings and scars do not make us less worthy of love and friendship. They may teach us painful lessons, but people who truly care for us will take the time to make us feel safe again. Knowing you are worthy of such love helps to stitch those lost pieces back together again.

Leaders

Millennials Aren’t Getting Jobs, But Unqualified, American Leaders Are

Author: Mary Grace Donaldson, Current Events/Politics

It’s no secret that millennials are looking for jobs, and attempting to forge stable careers, in a difficult market. Just look at the numbers.

As of March 2016, a Generation Opportunity report states that 12.8% of millennials ages 18-29 were unemployed. A May 2017 report from CNBC discusses how millennials are stereotyped as “job-hoppers,” but the reasons are not what they appear on the outside. Almost 90% of millennials indicated that they would stay in a job for more than ten years if promised salary increases, as well as “upward career mobility.” But, seeing as 36% left a job they liked to move on to a company where a better opportunity was offered, it can be deduced that collectively, we millennials aren’t getting those increases and mobility that we desire, and deserve.

While millennials continue to struggle in the job market, America has been watching as both elected and appointed leaders, with little to know experience in their respective fields, are essentially taking jobs that they are not qualified for.

 

Donald Trump 
Ah, the seemingly obvious example. Trump may have talked about hypothetically running for office back in 1987, but he didn’t actively start campaigning, and putting his metaphorical ducks in a row until 2015. In other words, he talked about being President, just as children do when they’re young, but did not prepare himself for the job through acquiring the correct education and training. His lack of foreign policy experience, as well as political experience as a whole, made him a completely unqualified and unfit candidate — not to mention the Twitter rants that took away (and continue to take away) from his legitimacy as a role model for the American people. This tweet kind of sums it up:

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Steve Bannon 
While Bannon isn’t part of the “White House Gang” anymore, his appointment as Trump’s Chief Strategist caused many to scratch their heads. He possesses a great deal of political knowledge, but his political resume (you know, where you actually list jobs showing that you have worked in the political sphere) left little to be desired. Prior to Trump’s election, Bannon worked as his campaign manager. After Election Day, his new title was that of Senior Counselor. While Bannon admirably served our country as a naval officer, his true forte came when he “found success in entertainment finance.” What’s Bannon up to now? He’s back at his old gig as CEO of white supremacist news outlet Breitbart. The questions to be raised here? Why any President would appoint a known white supremacist supporter to any position, and why someone who made his success creating political documentaries would be offered the job of Chief Strategist.

Jim Bridenstine 
Trump’s pick for the head of NASA has a bit of political experience. He has served as a Republican congressman representing his home state of Oklahoma since 2012, and also held the job of Executive Director of the Tulsa Air and Space Museum and Planetarium. He has also served our country as a Navy combat pilot, and currently continues his service as a member of the Oklahoma Air National Guard. Not a bad resume, right? But… one would think that the potential head of NASA would have some experience with, well, space. And Bridenstine doesn’t have that. Being a “big fan of the moon” does not a head of NASA make, and neither does reluctance to “study the climate.”

Sam Clovis
Just a tip: the possible Chief Scientist of the United States Department of Agriculture should actually be… a scientist. And Clovis isn’t one. Sure, his credentials are impressive, as credentials generally go — “he holds a doctorate, but it’s in public administration, and not a scientific discipline.” What else is on Clovis’ resume? Creation of a blog that published posts indicating that homosexuality is a choice, and known opposition to farmers, a population that largely relies on the USDA. So, some very bad publicity, as well as a known grudge against what would be a key part of his constituency in this job.

 

The takeaways? We millennials should all become President because we once mentioned, possibly as children, that we’d like to be President one day. We should put together poorly produced documentaries about our non-inclusive political beliefs, and then, we’d be appointed to a very important office within the Cabinet. We should make it known how much we love something and then should be asked to be the head of a department. And, we should look to be appointed to positions that are very different than our respective backgrounds.

Instead, we are networking through any means necessary, tirelessly revising our resumes, and hoping that one unusual experience will be the thing that will land us the jobs we truly deserve.

 

Disclaimer: The political views presented in this article do not necessarily reflect the views of Not Another Millennial Blog.