This is especially true if you’re the sort of person who carries stress in your belly, or if you clench your muscles subconsciously to brace against whatever is hurting you.
Are you walking on eggshells to avoid upsetting someone – like a megalomaniacal boss or emotionally unstable romantic partner?
Is there major upheaval in your life at the present moment in time?
Whatever the cause, you may experience physical symptoms such as TMJ from grinding your teeth, shoulder pain from hunching your shoulders, or intestinal issues (among many others).
4. Crying Easily
If you’re at the point where having toothpaste fall off your toothbrush first thing in the morning is enough to bring you to a bout of hysterical weeping… that’s really not good at all.
When you’re depleted emotionally and mentally, your natural ability to handle things like normal, day-to-day stress or upset is shaved down to pretty much nothing, so the slightest thing can make you burst into tears.
You just don’t have it in you to stem the tide of emotion and you’ve probably found yourself crying in front of colleagues, friends, and random strangers.
And you can forget about keeping it together if you see or hear about something tragic in the news. You’ll be reaching for a tissue before you know it.
Another possibility is actually the opposite of hypersensitivity, and that is:
You can’t bring yourself to feel much of anything, good or bad.
You’ve gone numb.
Whatever it is that you’re dealing with has drained your light to the point where you literally can’t feel the emotions you’d normally feel when you encounter a situation or subject.
This is sort of like depression, only instead of feeling weighed down by emotion, you’re weighed down by the absence thereof.
Anhedonia is a type of emotional detachment that specifically prevents you from being able to feel joy or pleasure, and is a strong sign that you are dangerously depleted.
Another way that depletion can manifest is as ever-present irritability, or even bouts of abject rage.
Tiny things that you could ordinarily block out, like the sound of your partner’s chewing or the fact that your co-worker insists on using Comic Sans in her reports, will irritate the living crap out of you or make you want to throw the office microwave through a window.
Instead of dealing with the source of what is actually draining you, you’re hypersensitive to the tiniest irritation.
Unfortunately, this can mean you take your frustrations out on those closest to you – those who probably don’t deserve it.
Have you blown up toward your family or friends recently?
7. Lack Of Motivation
You really don’t have the wherewithal to do much of anything.
You might be wearing the same underpants a few days in a row because you can’t be bothered to change your clothes, let alone shower.
You might have lost weight because you can’t bring yourself to eat (it’s not like you have much of an appetite anyway).
And all you want to do is go back to bed so you can sleep and hide away from either the overwhelming emotions you’re dealing with, or your awareness that you don’t feel anything at all.
This is especially difficult to contend with at one’s workplace or school, since there are inevitably due dates for various tasks or assignments.
But if you have no motivation to get to those tasks, you won’t get them done on time… so they’ll accumulate, which will make you procrastinate more.
And on and on the cycle goes.
This can result in you failing classes or getting warnings at work – if not fired outright – but if you’re feeling numb, you really won’t care much about that, will you?
Hot on the heels of a lack of motivation is the feeling of hopelessness.
…that it doesn’t matter if you even try to improve your situation – no good will come of it anyway.
Or any attempt you make will be thwarted, so why bother?
It’s dangerous to reach this point, because once hopelessness sets in, you might feel so trapped in the situation that you’ll either resign yourself to this horrible fate forever, thus remaining in a state of depletion indefinitely, or consider taking drastic measures in order to stop it.
If you’re at this point, please get help: it’s a very dangerous line to cross, and you may not be able to find your way back on your own.
If This Sounds Like You…
Basically, when it comes right down to it, we are made of energy.
From the electrical impulses that zip through our brain cells to the hum of our spirits, we are coalesced balls of energy making our way through the world on a day-to-day basis.
When that energy is sapped out of us thanks to damaged people in our lives who act as vampires to our energy sources, or draining jobs that suck our will to live, we end up depleted on every single level.
If you can relate to most of these symptoms, it’s really damned important that you take steps toward fixing whatever situation is causing you to be so wretchedly drained.
Burnout isn’t something that goes away on its own: you have to determine the cause, and then take steps to stem the flow of energy leaking from your being.
It might be necessary for you to seek professional help in order to make that happen, and there is absolutely no shame in that. Sometimes we need an extra hand to help pull ourselves out of a quagmire of misery.
Ultimately, we owe it to ourselves, to our own well-being, to take steps to remedy the loss of strength and light.
It’s up to us to replenish our energy source and honor the sacred beings that we are with proper love and care.
Just like on airplanes that insist we put on our own oxygen masks before helping others with theirs, we have to love and care for ourselves first.
…otherwise we won’t be able to love and care for others properly in turn.
Catherine Winter is a writer, art director, and herbalist-in-training based in Quebec's Outaouais. She has been known to subsist on coffee and soup for days at a time, and when she isn't writing or tending her garden, she can be found wrestling with various knitting projects and befriending local wildlife.