Most people put up with being on committees as they are often the best way of getting things done. But, for many of us, it can be like being in prison.
A man in a Rotary Club of which I was once a member was quite obsessed with committees. He organized a weekend away in an army camp for all the newly appointed office holders in Sydney Rotary Clubs. We had a different speaker every half hour. On the first morning, I was listening to a talk called “What the secretary has in his bag” when my mind left the room. This has happened many times in committee meetings over the years. As I got older I found myself moving my lips in sync with imaginary conversations. I worried that the other committee members would notice but many of them had blank expressions and lip movements too.
It started to happen to me at home, especially at dinner with my four children. My family and I put it down to deafness as they had to say things to me two or three times, before it registered.
Many years later, I had a routine medical examination and to my surprise, my hearing was declared A-OK. I explained the issue to the nurse and she asked if I had ever been in Rotary. Apparently, there is a recognized medical condition called Post Rotary Committee Traumatic Stress Disorder (“RCTSD”). It is a little bit like an alcohol induced blackout where sufferers are unable to remember what went on at the meeting. Some Rotary Committees are suspected of repeating the same committee meeting year after year, a little like Ground Hog Day. Initial findings by doctors have found beneficial effects such as improved sleep.
Nowadays, when asked to join a committee, especially to be the secretary, I start to cry. I have found this works very well.
(c) Paul Brennan 2010
Exert from “Suffering 101” written on this blog
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