Types of Tired

Posted by Kristin Beale in Life After Paralysis on August 18, 2020 # COVID-19, Lifestyle

Feeling tired is inevitable, especially now when the world is a mess, and nobody can give us an answer for when the craziness is going to stop, and our lives can go back to "normal." That feeling of weariness might be easily relatable to you or, like me, it might take a little digging.

Don't worry – I have my shovel.

For those of us who didn't jump up and down in agreement, let me break down the word "tired" a little more. Then, hopefully, I'll tell you how to cope.Kristin Beale

1.You might be exhausted. I can relate most to the physical kind of exhaustion. It's the kind that I chase after while riding my handcycle on course or stabbing at the fencing gym, and it comes when I exert myself so hard it feels like a limb might come off. That's the more obvious kind, but I'm also talking about mental exhaustion. Those who live with mental illness are more familiar with this, but most of us can bring to mind a time when you've just tired your brain out. Physical exhaustion comes from sports and workouts, and mental exhaustion comes from a full day of learning something new, changing your routine, or having to be "on" for a long time. Everyday life can be exhausting. I get it.

2.You could be overworked. These days, this one is a hit or a miss: either quarantine and the challenges of 2020 has put you in overtime to make up for lack of school, daycare, or in-person interactions, or you're finally getting the break you need by being able to stay in your underwear all day. No matter which category you fit in, chances are that you feel me on this. The downside of working from home is that it's harder to respect the boundaries of the workday; there needs to be a difference between working where you live and living where you work.

3.You might feel burned out. Recently, the news seems like one big cycle of bad news. You're frustrated because it feels like all the disasters are spilling into a bucket labeled "2020," and there's no escaping it. On top of that, it feels like nothing is getting better. When that bucket overflows without you getting much relief, you're eventually going to crash. That crash looks like: a short temper, a lack of patience, or some form of a temper tantrum.

4.The product of all the weariness mentioned above, in extreme cases, is defeat. This is perhaps the most challenging type of "tired" to tackle. My word "defeat" refers to a mental and emotional kind of tired that leaves you feeling like you've hit the end of the road. I remember feeling defeat at the beginning of my paralysis when I had to relearn how to do everything – literally everything. My morning routine went from under 10 minutes as an able-bodied teenager, to over 45 minutes as I struggled to sit up in bed without getting lightheaded, transfer into my wheelchair without faceplanting onto the floor, wheel around when everything felt like a marathon, and do all the things required just to get to school in the morning. It was a strong slap of humility, yes, and it wore me down. These days I'm mostly sitting on top of the world, but I'll never forget those hard feelings that snuck up on me.

This pandemic has weird, octopus arms that can touch every part of our lives, so I'm safely assuming that you can relate to at least one of the kinds of tired. It has been an interesting challenge to feel rested and comfortable in the midst of the world's chaos, and I've only found comfort in focusing on my hobbies and healthy habits.

For me, that looks like: reading lots of books, writing down my experience, loving on my dog, and drawing cartoons - lots of cartoons (@greater.things.comics). My Facebook feed shows me that some people turn to growing a garden and learning a new recipe, but my friends and family will all vouch for me staying far away from both of those options; I forget to water my plants, and I can't follow a recipe - in a Burnt-To-A-Crisp Way, not in a Bobby Flay Way.

The take-away here: know when to press pause. Life is busy and stressful, and we're all some kind of tired. If you can make it a habit to slow down, reevaluate, and prioritize your energy, you'll be able to devote yourself to the parts of your life that you care about most, instead of tearing yourself in all directions.

Whether you're handcycling a marathon or lounging around the house in your underwear, the chances are that you're tired. Give yourself a break.

Kristin Beale is a native of Richmond, Virginia. She is the author of two books, Greater Things and A Million Suns, and a comic book, Date Me. Check them out and read an excerpt at https://kristinbeale.com/. Her comics can be found on Instagram @Greater.Things.Comics.

The National Paralysis Resource Center website is supported by the Administration for Community Living (ACL), U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) as part of a financial assistance award totaling $8,700,000 with 100 percent funding by ACL/HHS. The contents are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the official views of, nor an endorsement, by ACL/HHS, or the U.S. Government.