What It's Like To Be Chronically Tired, But On Mental Overdrive

by Sheena Sharma

It’s 12 pm on a Monday, and you’ve nestled into your work chair. Secretary Butt is imminent. You know you should get up, shake the wrinkles out of your shirt and get some blood flowing in your appendages.

But when you try to stretch your muscles, you feel the weight of a million machines weighing you down. You can’t move. You slide over to your morning meeting in your rolling chair.

You didn’t sleep last night. In fact, you don’t sleep at all. Ever. You’re like one of those creepy creatures from "The Walking Dead."

You’re on mental overdrive. You need rest, but you simply can't put your mind to rest.

You’ve popped all the pills on God’s green earth -- both natural and manmade -- but no matter how drowsy they make you, you can’t stop thinking. You can’t stop feeling.

It’s a problem. But not only have you gotten used to being chronically tired, you've become a manic genius when you’re chronically tired.

You always look like a prison escapee.

Hood up, sneakers on. You wish you cared more about what you look like, but honestly, you just don’t have the energy. Your frail bones are screaming out to find solace in sweatshirts.

Comfort always trumps style, and it is truly a shame - you have so many cute, uncomfortable clothes in your closet.

You’ve never been so lightheaded and so clear-headed at the same time.

Lack of sleep gives you the most notable “ah-ha!” moments. You seem to come up with your most innovative ideas when you’re most tired.

There’s just one problem: It’s tough to work out the kinks of your masterpieces. You’re fuzziest when it comes to those small, irksome details; one tiny wrinkle can take hours to flatten out.

You don’t know what ‘sleep’ is.

I’ve always envied people who say “I’m so tired” one minute and pass out the next. Or the people who fall asleep on buses and trains and sitting upright in chairs.

They can shut out the world the moment their heads hit the pillow. How do they do that? Do their minds have an on/off button? Do they just not have as many thoughts? What is this thing called "sleep"?

For you, not sleeping turns into obsessing over not sleeping. It’s a vicious cycle: While everyone else is happily dreaming by midnight, you’re trying to drown out the sounds in your head until early morning.

You can’t control your body.

Forget working out. If one more person tells you that you’ll feel "so much better" if you just fit an exercise routine into your morning, you’ll slap him on both cheeks and hang him upside down.

Because you miraculously survive on just a couple of hours of sleep at night, and you’re still able to churn out coherent work.

But you feel like you might collapse at any moment. Actually, you probably need someone to spot you -- because with your luck, you’ll fall head first on the concrete sidewalk.

Reaching for the remote isn’t supposed to be this physically taxing.

People think you’re a space cadet.

They're wrong, though. Your feet are planted pretty firmly into the ground; you’re quite attuned and overly sensitive to what’s happening.

Everyone else deals with multisensory stimulation as if it’s nothing. But not you.

You know you’ll need extra horsepower to sift through that meeting, and you use every last bit of it, making you the obvious Socrates in this group of philosophers.

Everything is taken to heart and ingrained in your mind.

You talk to yourself.

I’m not talking to you; I’m just trying to hear myself.

You’re not trying to draw attention to yourself; you’re just trying to connect the dots in your mind.

You have no filter.

Oh, are you offended by what I just said? I’m sorry. No, really, I’m sorry: I have enough brainpower for thinking, but I don’t have enough to compartmentalize my thoughts.

My head and my mouth are one. I say what I think.

Your emotions are intense but short-lived.

One minute you’re crying streams; the next, you’re laughing uncontrollably. Your emotions control you, and you’re tired of being told to "calm down." The thing is, you couldn’t calm down if you tried.

You feel perpetually high.

You didn’t just down a six-pack, and you also didn’t just smoke three blunts. But you might as well have.

Next time, you’ll just show up wasted to work. No one will notice.

Each one of your senses is magnified.

Every dull color is loud. Every slight sound is deafening. Every smell tickles your insides and stays with you.

You're more aware of your environment than you thought could even be possible -- and frankly, it can get annoying.

People mistake you for being willingly over-analytical.

You don’t want to think this much; you just do. You also don’t want to solve everyone else’s problems, but you end up being assigned to the job.

Your brain feels like one of those couches with the yellow foam coming out of it.

All of your money goes toward coffee, wine and sleeping pills.

Normal girls shop. You shop, too -- but not for hot new kicks. Your after-work hours are spent experimenting with pills to find the one that’ll knock you out into a never-ending slumber.