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What It's Like to Deal With Depression Exhaustion

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At some point, everyone gets tired. Sometimes it is a physically tired body that is run down and overworked and requires some rest to heal itself. Other times it is an overwhelmed mind that needs rest to clear out and organize thoughts. Often it’s a combination of both that drives us to exhaustion and forces us to slow it down a bit and take some time to rest. There’s that tired where you can’t stop yawning, the one nothing will cure but a good night’s sleep, and there’s a tired from actually sleeping too much.

Then, there is a tired that comes with depression and other mental illnesses. That feeling of being tired from dealing with a mental health issue is difficult to explain to someone who has never felt that.

It may not be something you can easily empathize or sympathize with, because in your mind there seems to be no reason I should be so exhausted. After all, I am off work right now and have no set agenda, so much of my day is spent “resting.” Therefore, how could I be so tired? You might even be thinking that if I got off my ass and started doing more during the day or perhaps even did some exercise, that might alleviate the feeling of being so wiped out. Perhaps a routine during the day or a more regular sleep schedule would solve the problem, or maybe add a nap. You mean well with your suggestions and ideas and I appreciate the effort, but this kind of tired can’t be solved by any of the above.

This type of tired is like a constant state of exhaustion, which riddles your body from head to toe. It is not a “have a few cups of coffee and perk up” kind of tired. It starts from the mental exhaustion from the daily wars you fight inside your head, from whatever mental illness you are battling. It affects your emotions, causing hypersensitivity and complete numbness and running the emotional gamut in between. Having to constantly explain or justify it, believe it or not, is in itself tiring.

This type of tired makes you feel weak and vulnerable. It makes every decision 10 times harder to make and often means not being able to think clearly and focus or forgetting the simple things you would have remembered before.

For me, depression tired means my legs ache and every step feels like I am carrying a ball and chain, leaving me to wonder how I could possibly get from point A to point B. This fatigue creeps up my body, sitting heavily in my stomach and tying it in knots before working its way up, making my neck and shoulders ache to the point of not wanting to lift my arms or hold my head up. The thoughts in my mind are rapid and unrelenting, and my brain is tired from trying to slow them down, trying in some way to organize and process them.

It means spontaneously bursting into tears for no apparent reason with no apparent trigger. It means feeling tired when I wake no matter what the quality and quantity of sleep is. It means having to summon strength from somewhere within my already-drained body to get basic things done, leaving me at a point of exhaustion that simply cannot be described.

My soul is tired.

I don’t expect to ever be my old self again, but I would like to have some energy back. Depression has drained enough from me already.

Thinkstock photo via cyano66

Originally published: May 29, 2017
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