Life is a never-ending rollercoaster that can offer us the highest highs and the lowest lows.
But when the lows outnumber the highs, the ride is no longer exciting or enjoyable. Instead, we end up utterly drained on just about every level.
When we’re being sucked dry of all our mental and emotional strength, the effects manifest physically as well as spiritually.
Unless we find a way to stop all our strength being sucked out of us, we can bleed out, energy-wise.
Does this sound familiar?
If you’re suffering from any of the effects listed below, chances are you’re at the “can’t draw blood from a stone” level of being drained, in body, mind, and spirit.
1. Unceasing Fatigue
Fatigue is something different from just regular tiredness. We can be exhausted after a few days’ worth of partying or running after sugared-up toddlers, but that kind of exhaustion can be remedied with a couple of nights’ worth of decent sleep.
When you’re suffering from fatigue, it doesn’t matter if you sleep 20 hours a day or drink 30 coffees in the span of a few hours: you will still be tired to the very marrow in your bones.
You’ll feel as though you have 500lb lead weights strapped to each of your limbs, and it might be damned near impossible to gather the strength to do even the most mundane of tasks.
This isn’t just an occasional thing. This level of energy is your default setting right now.
It just never seems to end. You certainly can’t see light at the end of the tunnel.
Adding to the bone-weariness of fatigue, insomnia can be a horrible way that mental and emotional depletion can manifest.
You are so very, very tired, all the time, and all you want to do is sleep, but you can’t.
Because your thoughts are racing at top speed and you can’t break the loop.
Just as you start to drift off, some worry will intrude and knock you back into wakefulness, so you can’t get that much-needed rest… which compounds the fatigue that’s already draining you dry.
The last time you had an unbroken eight hours sleep was… well, you can’t actually remember when it was, it was that long ago.
3. Illness Or Physical Symptoms
Are you having heart palpitations from low-level anxiety?
Or perhaps regular bouts of gastro distress or vomiting?
Do you have a headache that just won’t go away?
How about joint pain?
Emotional exhaustion will often manifest physically, perhaps unsurprisingly given how intricately our minds and bodies are linked.
This is especially true if you’re the sort of person who carries stress in your belly, or if you clench your muscles subconsciously to brace against whatever is hurting you.
Are you walking on eggshells to avoid upsetting someone – like a megalomaniacal boss or emotionally unstable romantic partner?
Is there major upheaval in your life at the present moment in time?
Whatever the cause, you may experience physical symptoms such as TMJ from grinding your teeth, shoulder pain from hunching your shoulders, or intestinal issues (among many others).
4. Crying Easily
If you’re at the point where having toothpaste fall off your toothbrush first thing in the morning is enough to bring you to a bout of hysterical weeping… that’s really not good at all.
When you’re depleted emotionally and mentally, your natural ability to handle things like normal, day-to-day stress or upset is shaved down to pretty much nothing, so the slightest thing can make you burst into tears.
You just don’t have it in you to stem the tide of emotion and you’ve probably found yourself crying in front of colleagues, friends, and random strangers.
And you can forget about keeping it together if you see or hear about something tragic in the news. You’ll be reaching for a tissue before you know it.
Another possibility is actually the opposite of hypersensitivity, and that is:
You can’t bring yourself to feel much of anything, good or bad.
You’ve gone numb.
Whatever it is that you’re dealing with has drained your light to the point where you literally can’t feel the emotions you’d normally feel when you encounter a situation or subject.
This is sort of like depression, only instead of feeling weighed down by emotion, you’re weighed down by the absence thereof.
Anhedonia is a type of emotional detachment that specifically prevents you from being able to feel joy or pleasure, and is a strong sign that you are dangerously depleted.
6. Irritability And Anger
Another way that depletion can manifest is as ever-present irritability, or even bouts of abject rage.
Tiny things that you could ordinarily block out, like the sound of your partner’s chewing or the fact that your co-worker insists on using Comic Sans in her reports, will irritate the living crap out of you or make you want to throw the office microwave through a window.
Instead of dealing with the source of what is actually draining you, you’re hypersensitive to the tiniest irritation.
You project those feelings onto sources other than the one that’s really mucking you up.
Unfortunately, this can mean you take your frustrations out on those closest to you – those who probably don’t deserve it.
Have you blown up toward your family or friends recently?
7. Lack Of Motivation
You really don’t have the wherewithal to do much of anything.
You might be wearing the same underpants a few days in a row because you can’t be bothered to change your clothes, let alone shower.
You might have lost weight because you can’t bring yourself to eat (it’s not like you have much of an appetite anyway).
And all you want to do is go back to bed so you can sleep and hide away from either the overwhelming emotions you’re dealing with, or your awareness that you don’t feel anything at all.
This is especially difficult to contend with at one’s workplace or school, since there are inevitably due dates for various tasks or assignments.
But if you have no motivation to get to those tasks, you won’t get them done on time… so they’ll accumulate, which will make you procrastinate more.
And on and on the cycle goes.
This can result in you failing classes or getting warnings at work – if not fired outright – but if you’re feeling numb, you really won’t care much about that, will you?
Hot on the heels of a lack of motivation is the feeling of hopelessness.
…that it doesn’t matter if you even try to improve your situation – no good will come of it anyway.
Or any attempt you make will be thwarted, so why bother?
It’s dangerous to reach this point, because once hopelessness sets in, you might feel so trapped in the situation that you’ll either resign yourself to this horrible fate forever, thus remaining in a state of depletion indefinitely, or consider taking drastic measures in order to stop it.
If you’re at this point, please get help: it’s a very dangerous line to cross, and you may not be able to find your way back on your own.
5 Non-Physical Reasons You’re So Completely Drained Of Energy
Now that we’ve touched upon the symptoms of emotional burnout, it’s time to looks at how you might get this way…
…many people don’t quite realize just how many factors can contribute to feeling totally depleted of energy.
We’re not talking about anemia or B12 deficiencies here, nor a lack of proper sleep after running a marathon. Nothing physical, nothing that taxes the vehicle of flesh and sinew that houses the person you are.
We’re talking about the reasons why you may find yourself curled up in a ball on your bed with leaden limbs, feeling like you don’t have enough energy in your entire being to move a single muscle.
Any (and all) of the following five issues can contribute to that feeling, and all are serious situations that really need to be addressed.
Check out the list below and think about whether any of them would explain why your energy level is hovering somewhere around Antarctica.
1. Job Dissatisfaction
Do you find that trying to build up the energy to get yourself to work is damned near impossible?
Or that once you’re at work, you just stare at whatever it is you’re supposed to be working on and can’t bring yourself to do it because it just seems pointless and awful?
Yeah, those are pretty strong signs that it’s time to get a new job.
When you’re dissatisfied at work, you may feel overwhelmed with depression and panic attacks, and that can also manifest as unbelievable exhaustion…
…not tiredness, not like you’ve run a marathon, but a soul-deep weariness that makes it difficult to perform even the most basic tasks.
It literally feels like your will and light have been sucked out of you, and no amount of coffee or other stimulants will jolt you into being able to do anything.
Work that you don’t enjoy feels like slavery.
It really does. It’s a mindless slog of drudgery that will make you sit back and wonder why the hell you’ve been given the magical gift of several decades’ worth of life on this glorious planet, only to waste it doing the mind-numbing crap you’re doing right now. Day in, day out.
There’s always a way to change your work circumstance to something you truly want to do: it just takes some planning, and courage, and some time as well.
But once you decide to make the change happen, you’ll have a goal to work towards, and you’ll find that your energy builds back up again because you can see light at the end of the tunnel.
2. Unhealthy Relationships
A lot of people stay in romantic relationships much longer than they should because they’re comfortable and complacent, and are content to maintain the status quo.