Have you ever felt emotionally drained or had the impression that your problems are impossible to overcome? Have you ever had the feeling that you do not care about anything anymore and you’re just way too tired to do things that you used to enjoy?
Well, I guess most of us have had similar feelings as mental exhaustion can happen to anyone who experiences long-term stress – just think about the way you feel after a long, stressful workday. And apart from stress, there are many other reasons behind mental fatigue but in today’s post I will only talk about the one that has always had the greatest impact on my life: Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.
Now, if you google OCD, you will see that mental exhaustion is not mentioned on the list of OCD symptoms. And I guess we cannot even say that this feeling (or state of mind or I do not even know how to call it) is an actual sign of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. However, it’s definitely something that most OCD sufferers experience from time to time.
But before starting to talk about OCD and how it can totally drain your brain, let’s take a look at the signs of mental exhaustion.
Signs Of Mental Exhaustion
Mental fatigue has a wide range of symptoms which may include:
- Apathy (feeling of not caring)
- Feeling of hopelessness
- Lack of motivation
- Impatience and irritability
- Difficulty concentrating / inability to focus
- Decline in productivity
- Upset stomach (I honestly did not know this could be a sign of mental exhaustion but now it all makes sense!)
- Poor performance
- Social isolation
Well yeah – with mental fatigue, a lot of things can happen to you and most of them are far from being pleasant. I have always been a very social person but sometimes I feel that I just do not have the energy to talk to other people. And I have always enjoyed writing but it’s pretty difficult to put a great article together when your brain is completely drained. If you have ever been mentally exhausted I think you know the feeling when all you want to do is laying down on your bed and watching Netflix. Even though you know you have a lot of work and an insane amount of tasks to complete, you are just not motivated enough to do them. Anyways, I am not here to complain, I just wanted to give a more personal insight to what mental exhaustion can feel like.
As you might have noticed, I did not publish too many posts in the last couple of weeks and one of the main reasons behind this was my totally drained brain. Now, do not get me wrong. I really do not want to blame it all on my OCD because this time it’s mainly because I am pretty much “over-committed”. You know, I have always found it difficult to say “no” when other people ask for my help so….here I am. Drowning in the ocean of tasks. Anyways, let’s get back to the topic and see how OCD can lead to mental fatigue.
OCD – Your Annoying Friend
Spending time alone is something that all of us needs. Now if you have Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, this is a privilege you can rarely enjoy as your friend, OCD is always there with you. I guess if OCD was an actual person, he would be the most annoying human being you have ever met. Sometimes I wish OCD was only like a crazy ex-boyfriend or something because then, I would be able to get a restraining order and this whole thing would be over but obviously life is not as simple as that.
Just imagine how tiring it could be to spend your days with the most annoying person you can think of and I guess you can kind of see how exhausting living with OCD can be. And if not – let me just share my story with you. Do not think of a very special story – it’s just a day with OCD.
Just Another Day With OCD
That terrible alarm wakes me up. I am not a morning person, I have never been one and I will probably never be one. But I have a job so I have no other choice. I open my eyes and I am kind of fighting for my life. Every morning is like that. The first thing I do is checking my hair. I just have to make sure that I haven’t gone completely bald – that’s one of my biggest fears and I have already started losing hair. And this makes me feel anxious. I just feel that I am ugly and that I look much older than I actually am and I can not stop touching my receding hairline because I feel that I have to do it. It’s a kind of compulsion that my OCD forces me to do. And obviously, it is not the most useful compulsion as it makes my hair fall out even more.
I usually spend about ten minutes checking my hair and then I start to put myself together. Taking a shower. Getting dressed. Making a coffee. And drinking my coffee. Speaking about coffee: it’s another “morning danger”. Not the drink itself or the caffeine in it but the gas stove. What if I forget to turn it off? And what if it will explode? So I obviously need to check a few times that I really turned the stove off. By few times I mean at least 3 times…or 5 times. Depends on my mood.
I am preparing to leave for work but it’s not as simple. First of all, I just need to make sure that I have really locked the door. Exactly 10 times. It used to be 3 but I felt it wasn’t enough so I have raised it to 10. Much better, is it not?
Going to work is not easy either. There are a lot of things on the way that one can be concerned about. Afraid of. Obsessed with. What if I lose my mind of 2 seconds and attack a random person in the street? What if I just want to get naked or do something crazy? What if I want to throw myself under the tube train? All of the usual what if questions that my friend OCD loves asking me. I try to ignore them but it’s not that easy. There are too many what if questions. And some of them can feel very convincing.
Such as throwing myself under the tube train. Sometimes I really feel that I want to do it. And not because I want to but…because I do not even know. I know that I do not want to commit suicide but I just feel that weird urge to do it. It’s the same feeling what I’ll get when I walk over a bridge or when I am on the top of a high building.
Anyways. I get to the office and it’s a place full of opportunities. Opportunities for growth but also opportunities for new and extreme fears and obsessions. What if I insult someone? I do not want to but what if I do? What if I make a mistake and they will fire me? Of course that just should not happen so better to be safe than sorry. Let me check my sent emails a few times a day. Just to make sure there are no grammar mistakes in them and that I didn’t say anything crazy to anyone. Let me ask some people for feedback. You know. Making sure I am good at the things I am doing.
And then there’s that constant fear of fainting. I do not know why I am afraid of fainting and I have never fainted in my whole life but…I am still afraid of it. It’s just so scary when you lose control. One thing that helps me calm down is checking my hair. But again, that’s like a vicious cycle. I do not want my hair to fall out but it’s me who is making it fall out so well…that’s totally insane.
Well, finished at work. Having a couple drinks with my friends. Everything would be perfect if I could just stop thinking about my life for a second. But my OCD would never leave me alone. Most of the people I know are in happy relationships and here I am. 27 years old and have been single for most of my life. And no savings either. I feel guilty for having wasted my life and I feel guilty for not having enjoyed my life enough. Again…like a cycle of insanity. I usually spend all my money on useless stuff and then I feel guilty for having absolutely no money. And the same thing happens again, sitting at the bar, drinking with people I love but just..constantly thinking about all the crazy stuff I’ve been doing for most of my life.
And yeah..I guess it’s been pretty tiring to read this so you can totally imagine how tired my brain is by the time I get home. And I try to fall asleep but I can not. I just keep thinking about all the things I could be worried about and all the stuff I can feel guilty for. The only things that can calm me down are a book, a bottle of wine and crazy TV shows. It’s 3 am and I can finally fall asleep..pretty late I know and that’s probably one of the reasons why I always find it extremely challenging to get up in the morning. Anyways, good night!
How To Fight Mental Exhaustion?
Okay. I do not want to sound hypocritical because I have just finished writing an article about how “dead my brain was”. So I obviously cannot say that I am an expert when it comes to overcome mental exhaustion, however there are a few things that actually helped me.
– Exercising does help a lot! And there are so many things that you can do. Everyone has their favorite forms of exercise – for example I love hiking, running or just walking in a city. And since the summer is here, I have been trying to spend as much time walking around the city and going for long hikes as possible
2. Reading a good book
– Sometimes it’s good to escape reality. And reading a book is a perfect way to do that! 🙂
3. Do not spend too much time on your phone
– We often do not realize how much time we spend on our phones and it’s definitely not good. I have been feeling so much better since I started cutting down on my phone usage.
4. Get more sleep
– That surely helps and that’s something I will need to be working on. We all know that we feel much better after a good long night sleep but well….it is not always so easy to go to bed early.
– Another thing that helps me a lot to deal with my mental exhaustion is art. Painting, drawing, writing – or just enjoying what other people have already created and going to a gallery.
5. Seek professional help
– I am just a guy who likes sharing his OCD experiences with the world but I am not a professional therapist. So if you feel that your mental exhaustion or your OCD is out of control, the best thing you can do is seeing a professional.
Due to the pandemic situation, a lot of things have gone online – including therapy. I have recently come across this website that I think may help some of my readers 🙂 ( It helps people struggling with different mental illnesses find a therapist.)
- Pure O: Living in Endless Fear
- OCD: a vicious cycle of doubt and guilt
- OCD: Living a lie
- 12 things that will help you overcome OCD
- Peace At The Bottom Of A Bottle – Alcohol & OCD
As you know, there’s one thing that I enjoy more than writing my stories: reading yours. Please share your OCD stories/ opinions in the comment section! 🙂