If I Have Excess Energy, Why Do I Feel So Tired?

If you had told me I had excess energy a few years ago, I would have laughed. You see, I have had chronic fatigue issues pretty much my whole adult life. I'm constantly tired, and my body probably needs 9 hours of sleep (not that often give it that). It also takes me over a month to recover from 10 months of work in schools. I generally manage to pull through the year, but then my body just quits for a while and decides it will do nothing productive whatsoever, while throwing in some headaches and dizziness for good measure. It wasn't until two summers ago that I heard about Adrenal Fatigue. I took a few tests and sure enough, my Cortisol (stress hormone) levels were way too high at night, which was keeping me up at night. This didn't really surprise me since I believe I've lived in some state of adrenal fatigue since I hit puberty. The part that was most interesting to me though was that I was extremely high in what they said was a highly stimulating neurotransmitter (Glutamate), and extremely low in the calming one of Taurine. So, essentially my system is constantly overstimulated.

Psychomotor excitability and adrenal fatigue

Psychomotor excitability is essentially an excess of energy. It manifests most visibly in hyperactivity and need for movement. It would seem that people with this excitability would be natural athletes.  Many are but there are others, like myself, where this excess energy manifests in more subtle ways. For me, the most obvious sign is fidgeting. I can't sit still for long without fidgeting. I always thought of this as related to the fact that it was painful for me to sit for long periods.  That is part of it, but I also have an internal feeling of restlessness.

My restlessness shows up not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally. My mind is constantly going - until it burns out then I turn to media to numb out. My environment is rather chaotic because there are so many things I'd rather be doing other than organizing and cleaning. A friend recently put it aptly that she wanted to break the cycle of sprint then hibernate. This is something I've been working on doing since I'm not at optimal performance in either setting.

All of the excitabilities can contribute to chronic fatigue and pain. With sensual excitability, your nervous system is so sensitive that what feels normal to most can be uncomfortable for you and what is uncomfortable to most is painful to you. Emotional excitability can make you much more susceptible to a stress reaction. Intellectual and imaginational excitability can give you lots of unproductive brain chatter, rumination and imagining worst case scenarios.

I always used to marvel at how my brain had the ability to make my body hurt from a young age. When I was a child and I didn't want to go to school for some reason, I would worry about it the night before and wake up with a sore throat that was visibly red. Over the years it struck me that while I could use my mind to cause myself pain, I had a very difficult time using my mind for good.

Knowing more about excitabilities, I'm learning ways to use these powers for good rather than for evil. The key is not to suppress them (which leaves you out of touch with your emotions) or let them go uncontrolled (which can feel "too much" for both you and others, but to harness them. Some examples of using your powers for good might include:

  • Using psychomotor excitability to get into a regular exercise routine.
  • Using sensual excitability to appreciate the beauty around you and get in touch with nature.
  • Using your emotional excitability to connect with people who help nourish you.
  • Using your intellectual excitability to change your unproductive thoughts to positive, life affirming ones.
  • Using your imaginational excitability to visualize where you want to go.

Things that have helped me harness my own power:

Diet - I started on a Paleo diet, and experimented to find what works for me. After an intolerance test finally convinced me dairy was really an issue, I've mostly stayed off of that and minimized my grains (except rice), beans and processed sugar. It's not perfect, but I strive not to make my diet a stress on myself because stress can cause as much damage to your digestion as the wrong foods. Overall, I lean toward an intuitive approach to eating, with the occasional conscious indulgence.

Excitability vs. Sensitivity

Social - I always valued my ability to get along with most people, but the last few years I have been more careful to keep in my life positive people who help nourish my soul. I am a highly sensitive extrovert, so it's a constant balance for me between being energized by other people and drained by overstimulation. Limiting my time with draining people has had a positive effect on both my emotional and physical state.

Energy work - Most of what I've done for myself in the last year has been on my own, but the one service that has made a positive difference recently was energy work with Samantha Brown at Enlightened Brilliance. Specifically Body Talk. I've also had positive results from acupuncture, but I was starting to realize that all of the treatments I'd been using that were strictly physical won't help until I clear up blocked energy. I believe that this has helped me to start listening to my intuition better and get on the right track. I believe there are many ways to do this, but this was one thing that worked for me.

Listening to my gut - After years of tuning out my body's messages because it was always uncomfortable or in pain, I am finally starting to listen to my body again. Once I started hearing my body better, I was better able to hear my gut, or intuition. This has helped me to find an amazingly supportive partner and take jumps in my business I would not otherwise have had the confidence to do.

Pursuing my passion - Finally, moving toward a path that pursues my passions and supports my need to contribute to the wellbeing of others has had a very positive impact on my overall wellbeing.

Just Steps in the Journey...

I certainly have a much further to go in terms of optimizing my own well being, but I feel pretty good about where I've come so far.  This summer I have a chance for a reset. I've taken better care of myself during the year, so it's been easier for me to recover. I'm ready to set some structures in place to start my next year off right as I go part-time to start my business helping the highly excitable balance their energy and harness their own power.

Calendar - My goal for this week is to start scheduling out my time better to include not only work time, but personal time as well.

Mindfulness - I keep meaning to take a Mindfulness Based Stress Reduction class, which I still intend to do, but the end of my school year was so chaotic I just could not even think of starting something new before the end of the year. The silly thing is though, I know I don't need to wait until I take a class to meditate. I've done it before and I can do it again. As I put my calendar together I will put it in my calendar as a part if my daily routine.

Excercise - I'm great at getting walks in when I have the structure of work and the weather is nice. When summer comes, my structure goes right out the window (bring in calendar). Fortunately the weather is nice, so it shouldn't be too hard to get in some nice walks at the lake.

Caffeine - I did so well at the beginning of the year not drinking coffee, but as the year progressed I started drinking more to the point where it is back to an almost daily occurence. I have to say that this is by far the stupidest thing for me to fall back on since, as I said above, I'm constantly overstimulated already!

It's easy for me to focus on what I still need to do, but it's reasurring to see how far I've come.  I hope to encourage others to take even small steps to use their own powers for good!

Photos courtesy of Guy Holtzman Photograpy