Irritability and exhaustion have become normal feelings for many people. You might find that you snap at others and feel guilty afterward or that you overreact and experience shame. However, these negative feelings aren’t normal, and you could be depressed when you feel tired and irritable regularly.
You might feel tired and short-tempered if you’ve recently gone through a situation that left you feeling mentally exhausted. However, if the feelings aren’t temporary for you, it could signify a much bigger issue such as depression. Fatigue affects more than 90% of those with a mental health condition, so there is a clear correlation.
Many people think that fatigue is a cause of depression, but that isn’t accurate. However, depression causes a severe drop in your energy levels for seemingly no reason. The other signs of depression worsen fatigue and irritability, causing it to interfere with every area of your life.
You can positively change lives if you know how depression causes exhaustion. It’s also essential that you know how to tell if depression is the cause of your fatigue and how you can feel well-rested. Knowledge helps with overcoming mental health conditions and promoting your overall wellbeing.
What Is Irritability?
Irritability is when you become annoyed over little things. You’ll be over-sensitive to what other people say or do, and you’ll be more sensitive about your environment. The situations you put up with daily will start to feel impossible, and you might feel like you don’t know how you’ll get through.
You start to snap at others when you don’t know how to deal with the situation or feelings. You might say hurtful things or make someone feel bad for talking to you. When depression is the cause of your irritability, you’ll experience a foggy brain, too, worsening the issue.
How to Know If Depression Is Causing You to Feel Tired
When you’re tired all the time, it makes it difficult to engage in your daily life. You’ll realize that you socialize less, struggle to focus at work, and experience a change in your appetite. Additionally, your activity levels might diminish.
To determine if depression is causing you to feel tired and grumpy, you’ll want to look for other symptoms. General fatigue isn’t enough to signify depression on its own, but when it’s paired with other symptoms, it’s a sure sign. If you experience multiple depression symptoms regularly over two weeks, it indicates depression.
Depression affects how you think, act, and feel, so identifying the signs of depression can help you cope with your symptoms. If you experience any other signs, too, depression could be the cause.
Eight Signs and Symptoms of Depression
There are many signs and symptoms of depression. If you only experience one sign, it might not be depression. However, you could have depression if you experience more than one of the following signs for two weeks or more:
- Decreased motivation
- Loss of interest in pleasurable activities
- Everyday tasks become difficult, including eating, showering, and getting dressed
- Difficulty sustaining focus
- Inability to concentrate
- Difficulty processing information
- Struggling to form emotional connections
- Feeling hopeless
How to Tell If Depression Is Not the Cause of Irritability or When You Feel Tired
If you don’t think it’s depression, there are a few indicators that you need more sleep. One sign is that you want to do things, but you don’t have the energy to do them. With depression, you won’t even desire to do the things you once enjoyed, and it won’t be because you feel tired.
Another way to tell if it is not depression-related fatigue is to feel better after getting some sleep. If you get a good night’s sleep and your mood improves, it’s likely general fatigue. Depression-related fatigue doesn’t get better after rest, indicating other underlying issues.
How Depression Makes People Feel Tired and Irritable
1. It Acts on Neurotransmitters
Depression can be debilitating and make people exhausted because it affects neurotransmitters that affect alertness and your internal reward system. The neurotransmitters dopamine, norepinephrine, and serotonin fluctuate when someone experiences depression, affecting energy levels, sleep, appetite, motivation, and pleasure.
2. Depression Affects Your Ability to Sleep
When you experience depression, it affects your ability to sleep, creating an unfortunate cycle. Then, the fatigue sets in, exacerbating your depression signs. You might have trouble falling asleep or staying asleep long enough to get rest. You might also wake up too early or not be able to sleep deeply.
3. When You Feel Tired and Depressed, It Takes a Toll on Motivation
Depression can cause a severe decrease in your motivation levels. It makes you feel physically and emotionally exhausted to do simple tasks, so anything more seems impossible. You might struggle to get dressed, buy groceries, or say hello to others.
Plus, it causes brain fog, making it hard to complete thoughts and make decisions. These issues expend exponential energy levels, leaving you feeling tired and short-tempered. If you push yourself to get things done, you’ll feel even more exhausted, creating an endless cycle.
4. Depression Limits Your Window of Tolerance
When you wake up feeling tired and grumpy, your window of tolerance won’t be very high. Most people wake up without feeling this way, so it takes much more to set them off. However, if you feel grumpy from the moment you wake up, then your window of tolerance will fill up much quicker.
When you’re constantly functioning on a window that never gets empty, you’ll snap on people more often. This mindset makes you feel tired because it seems you’re always dealing with things that irritate you. Everyone needs a break from irritation to decrease their window of tolerance, but depression doesn’t always allow that to happen.
5. It Causes Hypersensitivity When You Feel Tired and Constantly Depressed
Depression makes you overly sensitive to everything around you, affecting all of your senses. Lights might seem brighter, sounds become louder, and textures are more pronounced. The hypersensitivity can be hard to deal with on top of all the other feelings you experience.
When you’re constantly working to overcome irritation, sensory overload is the last thing you need. It becomes too much for you, making you feel exhausted.
6. It Makes You Frustrated
Depression commonly causes frustration because you want to be happy and get things done, but you can’t get past the issue. You will likely struggle to make sense of things, and your mind will continually race. When those things happen, it creates frustration because you want to have a better mindset and react differently.