“Fatigue makes cowards of us all.” (Vince Lombardi)


Fatigue is a common health complaint. It is, however, one of the hardest terms to define, and a symptom of many different conditions. 

While fatigue means lacking energy or strength and is a very common symptom,  the term in English may be used as a synonym for harassing. In this latter sense, fatigue means the progressive, localized, and permanent psychological damage that occurs when victims are subjected to cyclic or fluctuating strains at nominal stresses.

The physical aspect of fatigue associated with physical deterioration, muscle loss, and lack of energy is called lethargy — which has many pathological causes as well.

In an individual case, fatigue due to stress can be catastrophic to an individual,  a severe prolonged exposure to it can be very debilitating and distressing. Fatigue often leads to apathy which is often caused by frustration and a sense of powerlessness that causes people to withdraw from life. 

Apathy and neutrality oppresses the victims, and silence encourages their  tormentors. We are all guilty of complicity in the suffering of others when we are indifferent to their pain.

In a society this collective stress can lead to symptoms of deep malaise. In the Egyptian society our malaise is related to a general disaffection brought about by abject poverty and inequality. When younger generations, in the prime of their lives, of reasonable education, health, industry and capacity, find it impossible to move from their parent homes, to marry and support a family, they feel overwhelmed. This  situation often leads to mental and emotional paralyses. This is a common reaction to stress where it manifests as "learned helplessness" and is commonly associated with depression.


The first occurrence in the English language dates from 1669.  According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), it is allegedly from the French "fatigue" weariness, from "fatiguer" to tire, from Latin and Spanish "fatiga". In the Classical Arabic language from the Gahiliyah period (before the 7th century A.D.)  which pre-dates any western example, the cognate term for fatigue is  "FTKH"which is unexpectedly the source of this word. (See the attached JPEG below)






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