“I’m all right, just tired.”
“Tired. How are you?”
These are the typical responses I give when someone asks me how I’m doing. No one thinks twice about the response because it’s seen as “normal.” An early day at work? Of course she could be tired. I smile and say, “I’m just tired,” maybe even give a little laugh. In response, they may say, “Yeah, me too.” But my definition of tired may not be the same as yours, the same as the general definition of what it means to be tired. It’s usually lack of sleep, early mornings, late nights. But my tired is not just a lack of sleep.
It’s a tired that brings me down, with no energy and no motivation. The feeling that it would be better not to move from the bed or the couch than to do something with my day. Not getting anything done. Not having the will to eat, clean, study for school, or even go out with friends. The dread that comes with knowing I need to get stuff done, but having the feeling that I can’t. I just don’t have the energy.
It’s the kind of tired that cannot be fixed by getting 12 hours of catch-up sleep on the weekend. It’s the kind of tired I can only get away from by actually sleeping. Sleeping is the only time where I can’t feel or think. Coming home from work and sleeping, all evening and night. Yet I still continue to wake up every morning, still continue to feel that tired, numb feeling throughout my entire day. I go through the motions of my day-to-day life, so exhausted by the end of the day that I can’t do anything but lie here, close my eyes and sleep.
The words “I’m tired” always seem to come out of my mouth. My mind is screaming that I’m not okay. I’m not just tired. I’m numb. I’m alone. I’m physically, mentally, and emotionally exhausted. I’m just tired of life. But it can be hard for me to tell you that.
So still I say, “I’m tired.” And I move on with my day.
Next time you ask someone how they are doing, and they say, “I’m tired,” consider there may be more to the story. Don’t just let it pass by unnoticed because they may be struggling too.
If you need support right now, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or text “START” to 741-741.
This post originally appeared on The Mighty.