You Don't Like Downtime, and You're Exhausted

Have you ever noticed that you don't like being alone? The thought of downtime or quiettime is overwhelming and you'll do anything you can to avoid it. Maybe you find you fill your space and time with work, friend, your kids...and when they're all busy, you still find places or spaces to be, so you don't have to be alone. This might mean a place like Costco, or it could just mean plugging in the vaccum so you can feel like you're doing something and you're avoiding any thoughts or emotions that might be felt in the quiet. Perhaps there's a relationship, an experience or a trauma you're worried will consume you, if you make space for quiet.

This is so tough because often, while you resist it, quiet is the space you need to be in, so you can heal. Healing is slow and sometimes uncomfortable. If you think about a wound (like a deep cut, for example). It takes time but it also needs care and attention. It needs to not be touched or rubbed continually - that will irritate it and it will either heal slower or it may even get infected. 

A mental and emotional wound is similar. It needs time, care, attention and compassion/kindness. If you're constantly busy and there's always noise (busyness), it will likely take longer to heal. When your days are so full, you don't have time to care for this part of yourself. Often, that's the don't want to spend time giving that part any care because you might be worried about what you'll feel. You wonder, in the absense of busyness and maybe a little chaos, what might pop to mind or what you might begin to feel. That's so hard and I'm sorry you're experiencing this. One thing you might find helpful, is to begin giving some space for your healing within the counselling setting. This way, you will have a trusted other there alongside you, in case the discomfort becomes to overwhelming. 

In my area of practice, slowing down and being curious about your emotions (both how you are feeling and where you might notice that emotion in your body) is a part of our work together. In this space, we can be curious together and notice together, how your past is affecting your present. I might notice some of your experiences as affecting you in ways you have minimized, or felt weren't okay to feel. In a non-judgemental way, I can support you through these often heavy and overwhelming experiences. This can help you heal from past traumas, anxiety, overwhelm self-confidence/worth and relationship struggles.

Just like a physical wound, your mental and emotional wounds do need care. Understanding them (through curiosity and even some compassion) can help to heal them as well. Understanding can look like validation and empathy. It might come from feeling seen. It could be that you've shared some of what you're struggling with in the past. Perhaps you've opened up to a trusted friend or family member and while their intentions were good, they did not respond or care for you in a way you needed. It's possible they didn't fully understand how you were (and are!) experiencing this hurt. It's also possible that their bias is keeping them from being able to support you in ways that you need. They mean well and they could be a wonderful person, but there are times that an unbiased other (like a counsellor) is needed.

As you begin to explore some of your hurt and struggles in counselling, you might likely start feeling more okay to spend moments of quiet here and there. You might start to notice driving without any music playing is okay. Perhaps you'll reflect and note that you lay in bed for an extra few moments as you looked out the window on your day off. If you reflect, you might even notice that felt okay as well. Your body was calm and you experienced some peace. These small moments are like building blocks. You can start to stack one on top of the other. It does take time, patience and compassion. You might enjoy these short moments...these glimmers...and begin to feel yourself gently and slowly stepping out of exhaustion. Notice that! It is a beautiful part of healing. 

Ashleigh Keizer
8661 201 Street, Langley, BC (2nd floor), Langley, V2Y 0G9

Disclaimer: CounsellingBC does not represent or endorse the accuracy or reliability of any informational content contained within any of the individual blogs on this website. All counsellors, psychologists and other professionals are asked to ensure that their sources and their information are reliable. Ultimately any questions or concerns about the content contained in their blog can be addressed to them individually via the link to their listing.