According to the American Psychiatric Association, thousands of bereaved adults experience prolonged fatigue. Can grief make you tired? Grief is a natural response when you mourn the loss of a loved one.
For many people, the symptoms of grief can become easier over time. On the other hand, the intense grief can seem never-ending for others.
At times, the symptoms can be so severe that they can cause many problems in people’s lives that can jeopardize their comfort and joy. Here is everything you should know about dealing with grief and why mental wellness should be your top priority.
Coping With Grief
Coping with grief involves confronting tragic loss. This can come in the form of the death of a loved one or through a divorce. Even if the person is still alive, you are mourning the loss of your relationship and all those memories you cherished together.
Losing a home can also significantly lead people to grieve heavily. Miley Cyrus and Liam Hemsworth still mourn their Malibu property lost during the Woolsey Fire of November 2018. Grief comes in numerous forms and can take a heavy toll on a person’s life.
Symptoms of Grief
Many patients say that the symptoms of grief come in waves. At times, you may feel like the emotions come over you as though you have been hit by a truck out of nowhere. You begin to wonder if grief can make you exhausted.
On other days, you may not feel the pain anymore and could end up socializing with friends and laughing all evening as though nothing was ever wrong.
It is not unusual to be okay one minute and fall apart moments later. This happens because grief forces people to experience a broad spectrum of emotions.
These emotions can jump from sadness to denial, anger, and joy. Out of the blue, you may find tears in your eyes again, remembering how much everything hurts.
A lot of people also feel detached from their emotions. For instance, many people compartmentalize their pain and emotions, especially if they need to push their feelings aside to act professionally at work or look strong in front of their kids.
There are also times when patients experience a lot of conflicting emotions rather than the ones they are supposed to feel. Patients may experience confusion when these feelings come up.
For example, a person may feel a lot of sadness if someone they are close to is gone, but they may also feel happy knowing that the person is at peace and no longer suffering.
Another person may be devastated by a recent divorce and the loss of companionship. Still, they can also feel happy and optimistic because they now have a new chance at finding a more compatible love.
Someone can also feel grateful that they do not have to go through back-breaking work to support an elderly relative.
It is essential to note that there are no right or wrong emotions when it comes to the grieving process. So, it is always best to acknowledge your feelings and let those emotions in so that you can heal.
Can Grief Make You Tired?
The exhaustion from grief is very real-so much so that many patients report that it is an intense and heavy type of exhaustion that squashes people flat.
The main reason this happens is because you are in utter shock. When a tragic event occurs, people go through a psychological shock. This can trigger a person’s fight, freeze, or flight responses.
Remember that our bodies are full of cortisol. Cortisol is a stress hormone that keeps us on alert and desensitizes us. Following a bereavement, especially one that is unexpected and sudden, a person’s cortisol levels can stay high for a long time.
This can exhaust the person because they have too much going on in their mind. Our brains get fatigued when we constantly need to process a lot of information.
Every decision we make from the moment we wake up requires energy, so sleeping well and maintaining a balanced diet is essential. The exhaustion from grief can be mental and physical, so getting plenty of rest and mental health support is crucial.
Other Reasons You Cannot Sleep
The grieving process is challenging because it hits you when you have a lot of other things to do. You may have to deal with a lot of organizational work, like funeral arrangements, and not have enough time to sit down and process what you are going through.
Some people may also have to move houses or go right back to work during this time. The tricky part of dealing with grief when you have admin to do is that you are hypervigilant.
Hypervigilance is an elevated state of constantly assessing potential threats around you. Threats can include upcoming appointments, people interrupting you, or anything else that instantly puts you on your toes and makes you push down your other feelings.
This is a symptom of PTSD and can be beyond exhausting, which is why many people going through grief struggle to sleep or switch their minds off. When you are this busy, you can also forget to eat properly.
People who do not eat enough cannot get the proper nutrients, resulting in healthy sleep. It would be best if you also were careful to avoid alcohol or other mind-altering substances to cope with the loss and pain.
These substances will temporarily relax you, but you will struggle to remain asleep or get enough rest because the substances also drain you. It is always best to rest as much and as often as possible.
Take short naps throughout the day if you cannot sleep for a few hours. This way, you can manage your energy more effectively to get things done without falling apart.
Get Mental Health Support Today
Now that you know the symptoms of grief and how they can drain you significantly, it is time to get the proper mental health support. Can grief make you tired?
The complicated answer is yes. When too much cortisol is pumping through your brain and body to make you feel wired enough to get things done, you risk becoming a sleepless zombie.
At Modern Era Counseling, our therapists are trained to help you through grief, depression, or any other reason you’re experiencing sleeplessness. Together, you will learn what exactly is making you so tired, and you’ll work together to come up with ways to move on. Call us at (704) 800-4436 or shoot us an email to learn more and get started today.