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Anxiety and Fatigue: Must I Be So Tired All the Time?

Anxiety and fatigue resulting from anxiety are a fact of life for those of us with anxiety disorders. What can we do to manage the fatigue coming from anxiety?

We have ways to describe 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, the fatigue of anxiety, that lack of energy, is often the first tip that something’s really not okay.

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. The body usually ‘gets it’ and adjusts energy levels based on the amount of ambient light. Usually. If you’re dealing with the symptoms of anxiety as well, it’s harder. 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.

Manage Fatigue from Anxiety with a Broader Approach

anxiety_fatigue_kwhite3None 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 negative thinking and worry.

Anxiety disorders 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.

So, what are you doing to treat anxiety? Breaking free from anxiety is about somewhat nebulous things: mindfulness, the absence or presence of joy or peace, support, and those anxiety coping skills I’m always on about.

Don’t know any coping skills? Here’s one:

Think of a cup. That cup contains what I’ll go ahead and call my daily allowance of useful energy.

  • 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. Planning your day based on your energy level gives you an honest idea of what you can do in the following hours without overpromising or accepting challenges that will take too much out of you.

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

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30 thoughts on “Anxiety and Fatigue: Must I Be So Tired All the Time?”

  1. I wish someone provide some solutions to daily fatigue, exhaustion and tired ness besides Sade ness, tiredness, sadness, loneliness, hopeless ness etc. We needs to find some solution as no body seems to have any solutions…. I’m getting lost… I know I’m not alone but spending whole day and sleepless nights worrying with racing mind with all nagative thoughts plus on going supportless journey…….how long keep wasting time like this. When it will change instead adding mor miseries of additional physical symptoms plus existing and prolonging mental symptoms…… Some helping hand must join here to help, respond and guide as GP, Psychitrist, Psyco Therepists etc so far failed to provide any relief…… please… please some one also provide solutions too. Mind your s freaking, paining, frustrating with sevre headatch daily not letting relax 24/7. No one recognize the mental sickness as they see you ok from out side whereas you are going through hell from inside. Loosing atleast moral support too as our this sickness is not visible…. Sorry for long expressions may be it will ease some of mine and your pains partners.

  2. After spending 6 years in this Tiredness but wired state due to chronic anxiety I knew emotional depletion had completely set it. Thanks so much for the great article, just another great voice to help others gain the clarity they need for anxiety recovery

    1. Dennis, thank you! Your definitions regarding tiredness but wired, a state of chronic anxiety, topped off with emotional depletion, sounds like you’ve just described me as well. Even the time frame of 6 years! Wow. I’d add a huge amount of major depressive disorder the anxiety is fighting against and that’s me in a very exhausted, drained state of battling with myself to go on or lay down. Laying down to shut our minds off and sleep is another thing entirely. I dread the fight my body has with my mind and my mind has with my body knowing how it feels when you don’t get the near proper rest. Then when it’s time to get up in the morning when you may have only been able to shut your eyes for a very short time. Ugh. Those are the really bad mornings when the wired puts you into overdrive and you’re wondering just when you’ll be exhausted enough to actually sleep. Thank you again. I wish for you and all of us, better days and nights, along with bettering our mental health which we need for better physical health.

  3. I feel exactly the same ,I do go on a website called -nomorepanic.co.ukg
    Go to articles then symptoms it’s wonderful to have the symptoms explained and how it affects your body.My original symptoms have have gone buthave been replaced by others,the fatigue is awful.I want to know when am I going to get better.Ive stared to go out for a walk for 40minutes the last two day and I’m wiped out and need to rest after woods but I’m going to see if it makes any difference to my days in general.Heres hoping…

    1. Thanks for sharing that resource, Marilyn. Any time we introduce something new into our routine, it can take some time to get used to how our bodies feel. Take it slowly and listen to your body.

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