I don’t know about you, but for me exhaustion has got to be about the worst feeling in the world. Some people desire it, go out of their way to feel exhausted, start out their day seeking exhaustion – presumably so they can more easily sleep that night.
It’s probably best to differentiate between mental and physical exhaustion, even though in fact I hate both conditions.
With physical exhaustion you pretty much know that a good night’s sleep will revive you, unless you have worked yourself so hard physically that your poor body requires extra daytime hours to really get going again.
However, with mental exhaustion of a particular kind…
Oh, we ought to mention that kind of intermediate bodily/mental exhaustion; for example, following a hard day’s work or after driving a vehicle for innumerable hours, and that feeling of being shaken up that can go on for an indeterminate amount of time (though usually simply lying still for long enough will get rid of the symptoms).
No, what I am talking about is the type of exhaustion which follows an extended bout of mental effort that no amount of rest seems able to placate. At least, the intensity of the exhaustion is such that you feel it never will. A level of exhaustion whereby you cannot imagine ever feeling peaceful or at ease again. An exhaustive state which takes over your entire being.
Such a feeling is one I experienced last week and was similar to that I experience every time that I get to an end of a novel; or the draft of a novel (sometimes you don’t know which is which).
The mental agony of reading through tens of thousands of words and paying attention to every single internalised phonetic sound within every syllable within each word within each paragraph of every chapter which must then be made to flow harmoniously within a massive structural whole which only began in the imagination… Well, that does me in. Exhausts every brain cell and molecule extant within my body, while stretching and pulling at the once teeming and now apparently sated creative state which started the whole process going in the very first place.
In that final condition there seems no end.
Coming round from exhaustion is probably the most exalted state in the world.
Like walking out from a church into daylight.
When you are ill, recuperating, each day you get better and better until you wake up one morning and feel normal.
To have energy after having none – to see the world in sunlight after groping around in the darkness.
A second of nothing is the same as an eternity of pleasure. Each lasts the same amount of time. You do not know the difference. There is no difference, except what you feel at that moment.
Try to explain that. You can’t.
Just as you can never explain anything to anyone.
Realisation is shared – a shared moment. Like listening to a piece of music together.
Exhaustion causes unnecessary separation, from your normal healthy self and that person closest to you.
Walking in the woods, feeling the earth beneath your boots, knowing animals are around you, breathing in the wooded air, sensing the airy surrounding space, you are brought back to life and corrected from that awful inclosing experience of interior closure that exhaustion causes.
You go to positive from negative.
Love life and peace is an exhortation, not an empty phrase