Monday, August 1, 2016

Accepting Feeling Tired

It has been a year since I began seeing a therapist for depression and anxiety. A year of getting over hard things, moving forward and self-discovery.  The depression is gone. Anxiety is a bit of a different animal. Something I now realize I’ve lived with much longer than I care to acknowledge. But it also is much better.

I am still learning new things. The latest is the importance of recognizing when I am tired. What is it about saying, “I feel tired,” in our society? Even to ourselves?

The other day, after teaching children at VBS, I came home and did some more things. That evening I was physically and emotionally tired. But I still thought there were some business things I should take care of that night. Or something. Shouldn’t I always be doing or thinking about something?

But as I concentrated on the thoughts rolling around in my head, I realized I was ruminating and obsessing. Lots of “you should” and “you need to” thoughts were coming up. Along with “you never…”

I noticed a difference in how I felt. Not only was I tired, but now I was starting the spiral. You know, the spiral from feeling vulnerable (uncertain) to shame (you are not enough) to depression (why even try?).

Now, I know from experience what happens when I go down the spiral. Those thoughts would stay with me throughout the night and I would wake up the next morning with a huge helping of anxiety and depression.

This was the first time I connected being tired with going down the spiral. Being tired contributed to my run-away thoughts.

So I stopped.

  • I accepted that I felt tired. Exhausted.
  • I made the choice to stop my thoughts. Everything I was thinking about could wait until the morning when I wouldn’t be tired and could think more clearly.
  • And I relaxed. I sat in silence watching the sunset, watched some tv with my husband, took a bath and went to bed.  And I didn’t think about anything.
  • Most of all, I realized when I rest and relax when I am tired, I am treating myself with grace and compassion. 


  1. Oh yes Gayle! Spiral descibes it perfectly! I'm still having some days of depression where I can't identify why, which leads to anxiety because I keep telling myself and Alan that I have to be "fixed" by now, school is getting ready to start and I can't be like this. I know I won't be totally "fixed" anymore, but that I too have to figure out what triggers it for me and ways to better cope with anxiety, so it won't spiral out of control to the depression. I think a big part of the whole issue is the LACK of control; of a situation causing stress, of the anxious thoughts & feelings, or of the depression. Like you mentioned, if I can recognize and identify the negative thoughts and consciously refuse to listen, praying scripture that disputes those thoughts, etc. then maybe I can avoid the depression better. I realized this past April when I finally slept a whole 8-9 hours, and slept well, what a huge difference it made!! I was even hyper a few days in May & June (ask your Mom!) The last few weeks I've had more of the depression and it was lasting longer, but your comments reminded me that I was really tired after VBS and haven't slept really well since then. I've been talking with a therapist thru my doctor's office, I like her better than the first one I tried, but don't know how I'm going to schedule seeing her after school starts. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and process! Praying for you too!

  2. This is a great reminder, Gayle. I've been fighting exhaustion since a long road trip a couple weeks ago--along with the second anniversary of my husband's passing--so I can identify with those negative thoughts that take over when you're vulnerable. A positive, helpful post! Thanks.

  3. Excellent post, Gayle. It certainly touched me where I am. Exhausted. My kids have been visiting. They just left. And I feel wrung out. But still I tell myself I need to be doing this, doing that. As writers we can easily be subject to that. We don't work 8-hour days. If the book is to get done or the marketing or whatever it's up to us. So what's next, what's next?
    Last night I gave myself permission to watch some TV instead of answering those emails. I fell asleep in front of the TV, had a good night's sleep, and the emails were perfectly easy to answer this morning.
    My best wishes to you. Thank you for the reminder. It really is okay to be tired and have some rest.