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Why Am I So Tired? Anxiety and Fatigue

Bone-weary, bushed, all in, dazed, dopey, depleted, drugged. Washed-up, worn-out, dozy, dreamy. Soporific, sluggish, torpid, tuckered, done.

One of the hardest parts of living with anxiety is how tired you get. Anxiety can cause extreme fatigue. In fact, lack of energy is often the first tip that something’s really not ‘OK’.

You hear a lot of people today, worrying about lack of sleep. Quite rightly: More stress, longer hours, most spent under fluorescent lights that induce derealization, confusing our body clocks.

Night and day, day and night, how do I know? The body usually ‘gets it’ from the amount of ambient light. Usually. If you’re dealing with the symptoms of anxiety as well, it’s harder. anxiety_fatigue_kwhite3

When the body doesn’t know if it’s time to stop or go  (anxiety is big on mixed signals) then fatigue and insomnia may just settle in with a long-term lease.

That being said, people tend to overestimate the time they spend trying to get some rest, and underestimate the total amount they sleep. Yes, that’s from a study. No, I can’t cite it. I read about it a few years ago whilst nursing some lovely ladies with dementia, depression and such.

Increase awareness and manage anxiety

So, I sleep a bit more than I think I do but what with the PTSD that still isn’t very much. Which is how it goes for a lot of anxiety sufferers.

How much do you really rest? The amount, the numbers aren’t even close to the whole story. If I measured my life experience in hours I spent doing this or that, it wouldn’t add up.

Determining the causes of anxiety and fatigue helps prevent panic attacks

Quality counts. What are you doing to treat anxiety?  If you don’t wake up feeling better for having slept, it’s just an escape clause: It won’t help you get out of jail free.

Breaking free from anxiety is about somewhat nebulous things: mindfulness, depth, the absence or presence of joy, or peace, support, and those anxiety coping skills I’m always on about.

Anxiety disorders, depression, etc, they wreak merry mayhem with your ability to recover from things like a poor night’s sleep. Maybe you don’t necessarily need more sleep. Maybe it takes a broader approach to control anxiety.

None of us have unlimited resources, though a lot of anxiety, depression and bipolar sufferers have a surprising amount of energy. Anxiety is energy, for that matter. It’s just not that useful when it comes in the form of panic attacks, or sits at the bottom of a hole.

Rest is one of the best natural remedies for anxiety

Let’s face it, nobody lives without anxiety. Even Mother Theresa had moments of uncertainty and doubt. It really is OK to take a break, to try to find that space to let go and relax.

Trust your body. That’s about as natural as it gets.

Effective cognitive behavioural therapy to manage panic and fatigue

Think of a cup. That cup contains what I’ll go ahead and call my daily allowance of useful energy. In liquid form. Handy that way

Is there enough to get me through the day?

How will I use it, and how strict do I need to be? You don’t want a dried -out cup by midday. I like leftovers, because I’m not that sure tomorrow won’t be harder, that I won’t stumble, or have a panic attack.

Just as we underestimate how much we sleep, I know I underestimate how much I have to do in a day, week, year. I also underestimate how much anxiety affects me, and how much effort all that takes.

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18 thoughts on “Why Am I So Tired? Anxiety and Fatigue”

  1. Oh dear tuckered one. I’m with you xoxo

    Here are a few more descriptives …Wasted, blasted to the core, done in, done like dinner, deep-fried, flat out, the fuel tank’s not only sprung a leak but a *gash*! …

    Over the years I’ve come to take a very practical, body-based-FIRST approach to anxiety … which is a state of alarm that every human being experiences to some degree …

    The basics. Food, water, safety, shelter, warmth, movement, rest, quiet, mindful breath … With the lifelong, heightened state of anxiety “templated” by chronic and complex PTSD that I live with, I keep having to return to these most simple acts of sustenance and survival. Every injury and illness we can suffer breaks the body, brain and metabolism down to some degree … and the concurrent anxiety is downright *existential* … For the organism, survival is at stake.

    It *is* exhausting. At 51 years of age, I sense this exhaustion in my heart — in the organ itself.

    There’s no more important work for any of us to do than to keep ourselves alive and thriving as best we can, without doing injury to ourselves or anyone else …

    … Still so tickled pink that you are writing here … Are you keeping up your other blog as well?


  2. Why are there so many people running ads that propose to stop anxiety and panic attacks? This just is not so!

    I have seen many doctors and shrinks over my forty years with this malady and am still having these attacks.

    I am convinced it will be with me as long as I remain on this earth. Some with mild problems may be helped to a degree, but nothing cures it as so many on the net claim.

    Temporary help maybe, but ‘”one size does not fit all.”

    What you end up doing for yourself is the closest to help I have received.


  3. Both me and my wife are exhausted all day and every day,we are on low residue diets,we are very depressed.my wife has a stoma and she can’t tolerate a lot of foods in fear of stoma blowouts and blockages to the stoma,so we only eat bland food.we haven’t eaten fresh fruit or vegetables for 4months.

  4. I have some things that help with the tiredness take some cold water massage it into your forehead & pat dry with a towel eat some cherries because cherries have antixiodants in them that help wake you up after that drink a few cups of water hope this helps-

    Xoxo <3

  5. i would advise all of you to try strenuous exercise as a way to combat anxiety and stress. eg weight training, running . you cannot be anxious when you are lifting a heavy weight or running hard. you will also get an endorphin rush. a sense of well being will ensue after a while. forget medication unless you have a chemical imbalance in your brain. and all the talking is only useful up to a point

  6. I’ve been suffering with no to low energy after a series of stressful events caused me to have severe anxiety. I was sleeping okay with medication but no matter how much sleep I got, continued to be exhausted. After many years of tests, medications, diets, etc., my new doctor put me on Neurontin for my anxiety. After 2 weeks on this med, not only is my anxiety GONE, but I have the energy I had in my 20s – almost too much now that I’m 58. It’s been such a revelation to know that it was anxiety stealing my energy the whole time! Just passing this info along in case it could help someone else. I literally have my life back.

  7. I’m 45 and have anxiety which I have controlled fairly well through CBT, but over the past 6 months have been having sudden bouts of yawning followed by heavy drowsiness and exhaustion with a feeling of shortness of breath. Sometimes it lasts for a day, sometimes an hour and goes away. Sometimes having a drink makes it feel less intense. I’m at wits end about this as it scares me and causes further anxiety. All my health exams are fine but I am going for a sleep apnea test. I have not used any meds aside from Xanax (. 25) once in a while. I’m waiting to see if sleep apnea is playing a part or if these are new manifestations of a panic attack which I don’t have often. Diane, you mention neurontin but I don’t see it prescribed for gad or anxiety. Anyone get these sudden bouts of exhaustion. They can come on more noticeably when I slow down, not typically when I’m busy with work or other things. Any thoughts or help would be greatly appreciated.

  8. I am 32yo and i suffer from GAD ! I feel exhausted all the time and i don’t even work because of that ! All i do is stay at home and run some usual daily errands but still I feel like i was walking for 100 miles all day long! This affects my life so much and I am so young to feel this way. It hurts me to see all my friends going out, hiking, going to the pool parties and having so much fun but I need to stay at home because Im afraid I’m gonna have another panic attack! Im so weak and I’m worry I’m gonna get into a depression very soon if this continues 🙁

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