“I’m okay, just tired”
“I’m fine, just a little tired”
These are the typical responses I give when someone asks me how I’m doing. Nobody really thinks about the response as it’s considered a ‘normal’ state of being. For a majority of people who say they’re tired, it is usually down to lack of sleep; early mornings and late nights. However, my tired is not from lack of sleep. It can mean something entirely different when you suffer from a mental illness.
When I say I’m tired, it’s not just physical tiredness, I’m also emotionally tired too. I’m tired even when I don’t move all day. I’m tired even if I managed a decent amount of sleep the night before. It isn’t just tired eyes and achy muscles, it’s not just a yawn and another hour in bed. It’s going through the day on autopilot. It’s getting up and getting dressed in a blur, so much that I can’t remember doing so. Brushing my hair and teeth and then leaving the house. Tiredness accompanies my depression and anxiety which means I lie in bed completely exhausted from life without even falling asleep. It means being spaced out and lost in thought most of the day, because it’s tiring trying to keep up with people. All because I’m tired. Emotionally tired, numb, drained, and completely out of it. Lost. But I move on with my day, because there seems to be little acceptance of what mental illness does to your body.
The phrase “I’m tired” always seems to come out in response to the question “how are you?” Despite my mind screaming to me that I’m not OK. That I’m not just tired, I’m alone. I’m physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. I am just tired of life, but it can be hard for me to tell you that.
So when someone tells you that they are tired, sometimes you need to look beyond that answer, are they tired? Physically tired and need sleep? Or do they in actual fact need you? Do they need someone to look them in the eyes and tell them they’re not fine but that you’re there for them? Do they need someone to realize they’re not okay and offer them a hug? Because I know when I say I’m tired that’s what I need.
I don’t need a nap or sleep. I need people. I need love. I need understanding.