“We think that the point is to pass the test or overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved. They come together and they fall apart. Then they come together again and fall apart again. It’s just like that. The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.” ~ Pema Chödrön
“I’m so tired! I just want to close my eyes. I could sleep forever.”
The statement above is a common thread among those who are emotionally spent.
And the number of people who suffer from this is escalating at an alarming rate.
This kind of tired is what happens when emotional trauma gets the upper hand.
Emotional trauma is so dis-empowering that it causes physical symptoms. And no amount of stimulants will help. In fact, “solutions” like coffee, tea (even green), alcohol or cannabis only deplete the body—specifically the adrenal glands—, creating a vicious cycle of ups and downs. Besides, all those things only mask the problem. In the case of cannabis, which is used to alleviate stress in controlled doses, the sufferer can find escape but not resolution. I’m not against cannabis for the purposes of gaining relief from stress (for some it is a true life-saver); but in excess it can deprive us of our motivation and compromise our self-awareness.
From my own experience and from conversations with others who have at one time or still suffer silently, I have seen how important it is to address this issue.
A few years back, I was having a heart to heart with my partner about emotional exhaustion and gave him a visual: I likened myself to a container that every year was being filled with layers of trauma. This came right after the death of my adoptive mother.
Moving, death and divorce are supposedly the biggest causes of stress. My layers (too many to list them all here) contained all three beginning with the death of my parents at age six and then being adopted to a family in Canada where I suffered emotional, physical and sexual abuse for ten years and at least forty moves in my life. My layers culminated the day my adoptive mother passed away, we received news that an infant we wished to adopt was going to another family, and we had to put our beloved dog down. Talk about having a lot to process!
My only reason for listing these events is as an example for others to relate to. Sometimes we go through things without realizing that they are indeed trauma until someone else speaks of it.
Between all those times were also many, many moments of incredible beauty that I am truly grateful for. If I were to list those we’d run out of paper. I don’t consider my life a disaster in any way.
And yet, around the time of my mother’s death, I felt a shutting down of reserves. I was incapable of any more bullshit. It was quite sudden, actually. One day I woke up and realized that one more thing and I would crack. I wanted to sleep. All day. Every day. All thoughts of any future challenges seemed insurmountable.
I literally had no more room inside me. The container was full and overflowing.