There are many reasons for the perpetual tiredness people with depression suffer. One major factor is that people who suffer depression usually have an overactive mind in an under-active body. Depression is quite rightly described as a deadly cocktail of hopelessness and helplessness.
Though my own reading and my own recovery story I learnt I wasn’t as helpless as I thought. With appropriate guidance and the ability to frequently renew my will to change, I could arrest my inertia and paralysis. This was hard. One of the main reasons it is so hard, in my opinion, is that depression makes you tired – incredibly tired. Mental and physical fatigue converge and make you feel absolutely paralyzed and unable to perform basic routine functions that daily life requires. It’s an enhanced tiredness which never seems to go away, even short naps or marathon sleeping session seem to have no effect, and you never feel properly rested and refreshed. Little bouts of activity seem to knock you back for a long time which makes you question whether to do them again or not.
Getting up in the morning, which admittedly is hard for most people, is downright impossible. The foul and bleak mood which holds you captive and in which you wade through every day without fail makes it hard to relate to others without getting tense or without feeling you are ‘acting’ if you come across as pleasant or nice. Everything is a struggle and it’s exacerbated by the fact these tasks which seem impossible look very ordinary and basic
Action and consequence became very hard to gauge when I was depressed. The relationship between action and consequence got derailed and there was great uncertainty whether certain activities or actions would have any positive benefit. My mind was always guessing and second guessing about the course of action I was considering, it never shut up. When this deliberation occurred I normally erred on the side of caution, however the opposite of an error is usually the opposite error.
When really depressed I remember short conversations with people making me tired for the rest of the day. So I would often try and avoid conversations. The problem wasn’t in the conversation or in any of the activities. It actually was about how I expressed my tiredness. I realised I always complained about being tired. By doing this I was fueling the furnace of lethargy, reinforcing all my beliefs on a daily basis and keeping me stuck. There is a great nugget of wisdom in the GROW NSW Program, a mutual support group in Australia, which says: ‘tiredness is only tiredness’. And wow, how those four simple words digested, remembered, absorbed and practiced on a daily basis have changed my life and my energy levels for the better. Although daily and consistent practice is needed, even when you are not feeling tired sometimes. One of the keys in mental health recover is going the right things when you are feeling well, this is where loads of people make the mistake of reverting back into bad habits, I really think the game is won and lost when you are feeling good.
How to be beat tiredness
CBT (Cognitive behavioral therapy)
Being obssessed with always being tired and thinking there is something else that’s causing the problem often drives the tiredness in a vicious circle. CBT is useful to break out of negative and worried thinking around the tiredness itself. Listen to our first and popular podcast, how CBT beats beats depression, in which tiredness is focused on in a CBT context.
Depression wreaks havoc with sleep cycles and depressed people often go through either insomnia or excessive sleep. Exercise boosts energy levels which combats tiredness at the same time, as it helps fatigue the person allowing a longer and deeper sleep at night. People like Graeme Cowan and Justin Bennett owe their recovery to incorporating a regular exercise routine into their lives. Listen to our second podcast about How Exercise Beats Depression below:
[powerpress url= http://www.howibeatdepression.com/podcasts/podcast_2.mp3]
I know it’s hard, sometimes the tiredness just never seems to go away and every morning you just feel like a rock with no energy to get out of bed and face the day. Hang in there, stories on this site show that people who suffered severe tiredness, barely able to surface out of bed and even shower can and do get better in time, as long as the right supports and attitudes are in place. Don’t give up, believe that things can and will get better if the intention and supports are in place.
These can be helpful if chronic tiredness is ruining your life. Medication can help regulate sleep patterns and professional support can help you form structure and routine and help stick to it.
We really hope you beat tiredness and depression. Don’t give up. Don’t give in.
Please leave a comment if you’ve read this story for affirmation, feedback and discussion and follow us on Facebook and Twitter. Or, if you would like to submit a story which can change and influence other lives please send it via e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org We really hope you, or someone you care about, beats depression.