Sometimes we’re just tired. But sometimes, it can be a great deal more. Sometimes it’s indicative of a serious mental health issue.
Today, let’s explore the difference so you can make sure that what you’re feeling needs only a good night’s sleep and not some far more serious interventions. After all, if you need those interventions, it’s important that you don’t wait too long—much like a car without any oil, the longer you wait, the worse the damage can become.
Is your exhaustion a way of spending time in a place where you feel safe?
A lot of people who have to deal with high levels of anxiety or who have an anxiety disorder often need to get away from that feeling. One great way to do that is to retreat to a safe zone—one of which may well be the bed.
In this case, the claim of tiredness—though potentially totally true—doesn’t make up the whole story. The exhaustion is mixed in with a desire to retreat from the world and get away from the anxiety that it induces.
Are you using exhaustion as a cover for your unhappiness?
Some people who get depressed become insomniacs. Others start sleeping all the time. Here, the idea is that dreams are far more enjoyable than real life. This offers some people escape from what they feel is an unmanageable waking life.
So if you sleep not because you’re tired, but because you can get away from the grind and you prefer the land of dreams to the world of the waking, then you could be dealing with depression.
Here are some other symptoms of depression:
- Your eating habits change.
- You have trouble concentrating.
- You have little to no motivation.
- You feel helpless or hopeless.
If any of these are true for you, it might be time to call a depression hotline or at least read more on the topic. The good news is that once it’s been diagnosed, there are a lot of ways to deal with it and come out the other side.
Does it never end?
We all feel tired occasionally. That’s how life works. Sometimes we’re busy. Sometimes we don’t sleep well. The thing is, if you feel tired all the time, then you’re going to have to consider that it might be something more.
It could be that you’re experiencing chronic fatigue, for example. This can be a sign of a number of underlying conditions, including chronic fatigue syndrome, or myalgic encephalomyelitis. The difference lies in the size of the exhaustion. Do you feel like you’ve run a marathon after a night’s sleep? Does new information overwhelm your already exhausted mind? Is it like that day before you get sick, but for weeks on end?
If so, then you could well be dealing with chronic fatigue. Consider seeking medical help.
Are you creating busywork?
Did you know there is something called “chronic busyness”? It’s where people stress themselves out by constantly forcing themselves to run around and do things, leaving little to no time for themselves.
The truth is, modern society downplays chronic busyness and pretends it isn’t a serious problem. But that’s not true. There are a lot of cases when chronic busyness can lead to burnout and serious long-term negative effects.
The solution is to stop being busy all the time. Don’t work through your lunch. Take time away to simply sit and enjoy the sun. Go for walks and don’t spend the time replaying in your head everything you have to do. This will give you the space of mind to reset and recuperate.
If you’re constantly tired, something isn’t right. What isn’t right isn’t necessarily directly obvious. For that, you have to delve a little deeper. Here I’ve outlined four different problems that you might be having. It’s also possible that your exhaustion isn’t mental, but brought about by health problems. So if you can’t find the answer here, make sure you check that avenue.
What you certainly should not do is just ignore it. Sure, in some situations that might be enough and you’ll get over it. But some problems won’t simply go away and will get worse over time. And if you’ve got one of those, ignoring it will turn something that you can deal with quickly today into a huge ordeal tomorrow.
Guest blogger Amanda Sparks is a writer, head of content at Essay Supply and a former lifestyle writer for The Huffington Post. She likes to help people make their lives easier with her lifestyle tips.