ME,an abbreviated term for what most call chronic fatigue syndrome. He moved to Auckland, New Zealand to recover his health. While convelesing, Mr. Crawford learned to garden, fish and enjoy life in the moment. Recently he has returned to acting in a theatrical rendition of The Wizard of Oz.
I came across an article about Michael Crawford's illness, and read some of the subsequent comments. Many theorized that he wasn't sick, but exhausted by his years of dedication to performance arts. Mr. Crawford has a reputation as a workaholic: he would do 8 shows a week, usually showing up three hours before each performance. He has been in show business for 50 years--really. So what happened to him? One called it burnout. The commenter noted that Mr. Crawford refused to marry again because his work had cost him his marriage. So perhaps nature was catching up to him.
I'm not going to discuss the prejudice against chronic fatigue syndrome. But the subject of burnout is all too near to my heart. What can you do when your job no longer makes you feel fulfilled? When you dread your work, when the mere thought of showing up makes you feel tired and irritable, you may be suffering from burnout. And it is the public based professions that suffer the most burnout, from social workers dealing with wayward kids to rock musicians. Dealing with the public is very hard, people are callous and indifferent to the superlative effort it takes to deal with strangers with various agendas day after day. Burnout can cause some of the same symptoms as chronic fatigue syndrome. But it isn't a medical category for disability.
A tired, angry populace will cease to contribute productive value. It may turn on itself. Some people only define themselves through their work. Achievement is everything, because someone told them on their walk through life that they aren't important unless they do something. So they do, do, do and blame everyone else who doesn't act the same. They often give birth to children who are required to thrive in their love of massive achievement. At some point, there is a reckoning, a dull questioning stare as they march to the slaughterhouse of crushed energy. Am I happy? What did I prove? What price did I pay for all this faceless approval? Then the vision fades and it is back to the treadmill of look at me, look at my kids, look at my friends, please, just look and admire. Don't you wish you were me?
In yoga, this would be called an inauthentic existence, one that is based on sensory perceptions instead of truth. More on that later.