There are few things worse than the sense of being irrelevant and trapped.
It is a subtle thing a first: in a conversation with others, you suddenly come across a fact which everyone else seems aware of but you didn't know. As you begin to look into thing further, you find that there is a whole chain of events which impacts you but about which you had no idea was even occurring.
Then the next step comes: tasks and items which you are responsible for are suddenly being set and commanded by others, even if you are still expected to complete them. At some point you may ask about this, but are told that "No, you're still in charge. Just making a few changes to move things forward".
But the undercurrents still continue. The ordering of responsibilities and tasks continue. You are still required to do certain things and make certain goals, but you find your areas of decision and input have slowly been stripped away until you dwell in a box without windows or doors where tasks are passed in and out through a small hole in the wall and a knowledge of the great outer world is stripped away.
The worst part, of course, is that you feel trapped. You feel trapped in your current situation as the the ability to find a way to change it seems extremely limited. You also feel trapped in your day to day life as you have that nagging sense of being irrelevant, kept only for the purpose of doing certain things that no-one else wants to do instead of being maintained for your what you bring to the situation.
The funny thing - if such a thing can be called funny - is that sense that no-one will really say anything about the situation. Surely such a thing is known and self evident - such things seldom happen in a vacuum. But nothing is said - it's a sort of open secret, the elephant in the room that all know is there but that no-one will address.
And so the sense of fading to gray comes, the idea that one had about doing something grand fading away as one fades into the background of the unnoticed, the powerless, the forgotten - left until the final action comes, perhaps years after the first signs of irrelevance were perceived.
Idly perhaps, one day someone will ask why one suddenly seems different, where has the enthusiasm and drive gone. You look at them, a score of items running through your head as your catalog the issues and the length of time things have really been this way. Then realizing the actual state of things, you simply sigh and shake your head.
"It's hard to explain" you say. "It's a long story."