Woe Is Me! “I’m Always Tired and Irritable. How Do I Be More Amiable?”
Woe Is Me! is a series in which The Swaddle team indulges your pity party with advice you’ll probably ignore.
“I feel restless, tired, and depressed all day. This has made me so irritable, that I fear my family has begun disliking me. How do I be amiable with everyone?”
— Anonymous Vampire
RD: Hello, friend. I think right now your priority shouldn’t be to remain amicable with people but to figure out what’s going on with you. Do you have any theories as to why you’re feeling tired and depressed? The coronavirus lockdown could be one, or work, or a relationship, or some mental health issue. Try to take care of yourself — it could be through a hobby, or alone time, or a therapist. The moment you start to feel better, trust me your family will be able to sense it. I think you should focus on yourself; your family will deal with it.
KB: Get some sleep! My first reaction to your question is that you seem to be describing all the very common side effects of being sleep-deprived. Our bodies need sleep, not only for our physical well-being, but also our emotional health. Are you sleeping, on average, 7 or more hours per night? If not, this seems like an important thing to address first.
Now, if you are getting plenty of sleep but you are still feeling this way, I would also suggest giving yourself something of a break, because 2020 has been quite an emotionally draining experience so far. But keep in mind that everyone in your household is also experiencing the joys of 2020, and everyone’s sense of stability and normally has taken quite a beating. This is the time for kindness, patience, and understanding if there ever was one. We are all feeling frustrated at being cooped up at home, and not being able to pursue many of the interests or social interactions that give our lives depth and variety. The same family members who are annoying you so much are also struggling with much of the same emotional heaviness that you feel; it may be worth considering that before you snap at someone next.
Now all of that said, if your feelings of listlessness and despair are interfering with your ability to work, maintain friendships, and have warm interactions with well-meaning family members, you may want to consider that this is a deeper mental health issue for which you may need professional support. With more information and context, a mental health professional could help you figure out whether this is something that can be addressed through therapy.
AS: Hi, restless. First off, welcome to the club! Given the negativity that is clouding the world at the moment, you’re not alone in feeling this way, as we all remain restricted in the confines of the home, unable to meet friends and probably staring at a screen all day, ridden with the anxiety of catching a life-threatening virus.
Someone recently told me their funda for surviving (and maybe even thriving) in the lockdown, and I really found it helpful. In a day, try to get in the following things: a showering+dressing routine, some loud music time, and at least 25 minutes of exercise. Doing these things will boost your mood automatically. While this can also be a great time to bond with family, it doesn’t mean we all should spend all day together. I think it’s super important to take time and space for yourself, maybe by cooking a meal alone or escaping for a quick stroll. My final (and perhaps most helpful) tip would be to reduce social media usage. Personally, I can see a direct correlation between my mood and the time I spend on Instagram, and so app timers have come in really handy.
DR: If I knew the answer to this, I wouldn’t be as much of an Ebenezer Scrooge as I am in life. But, I think in order for you to be amiable to the world, you need to address whatever is bothering you and causing you to be short-tempered. Adjusting to this new normal is taxing for everyone, but sometimes, changes can affect some of us more than the others. Maybe, a new routine could help? If not, try to sit down and chalk out which aspects of your life are causing you discomfort, and then, chart out plans on how best to minimize their interference with your state of mind.
And, maybe, you can let your family know that you’re feeling restless, tired, and depressed all day so that they have some insight into why you’re behaving the way you’re behaving. Keeping an open and honest channel of communication about your worries can not only help them understand you better but can also, somewhat, free you from the feelings that are holding your mind hostage. Also, it’s always okay to seek help from a therapist, in case you hit a roadblock there, or if you need any assistance coming up with a course of action to keep your irritability in check. Good luck!
AM: I think what would help is to try and understand when you started feeling all of this. Did it start only during the lockdown or have you been feeling like this for a long time now? If it has happened now, it’s important to remember that it’s okay and that these feelings might be temporary. We’re all living in very uncertain times and isolation from peers, activities you enjoyed doing can only exacerbate these feelings.
If you think this is impacting your relationship with your family, take a little time off from interacting with everyone for a couple of hours every day, by going to the terrace or taking a walk in the building compound if these facilities are available to you or something that gives you time with yourself. It’ll help you organize thoughts, understand your own feelings, and help you react in a more favorable manner instead of coming across as someone who is always irritable. And there’s help available, even online. Don’t hesitate to reach out to mental health professionals if battling these feelings is getting harder.