So stressed I feel like I have not slept forever …

Dear Gillian,

This may sound pathetic but I am so stressed right now, I feel like I have not slept for ever. I work regular hours but lately I find it a real struggle getting through the day.  I am tired and feel under pressure and stressed almost constantly. I live alone but have a relationship with a nice guy.  Quite often I turn down going out somewhere with him because I just don’t feel like it.  He has commented on it and says that I am not like I was when we first met.  This just adds to the overall stress levels as I just cannot please him.  Is this depression? What can I do?

Dear Janice,

Firstly, you do not sound pathetic just really tired and concerned. This is understandable the lack of sleep alone over a sustained period will bring feelings such as you describe. However, behind all this is something needing your attention, it is what started the whole sleepless night situation. Where there is stress there is quite often fear.  This can be something such as fear of not being good enough, that good things don’t last or that you may lose your job.  It can also be more serious such as safety issues.

I always feel that it is best to work on yourself holistically. So rather than examine your health, relationship, work etc. consider your whole self. I suspect that you have disconnected from your authentic self and that the life you are leading, whilst on the face of it ok, is not where your heart and soul would like to be, or on some level you feel it will not last or is not deserved.

Now is the time to take back control of your life.  Whilst this may not be depression (always see your doctor if you are concerned about your health) it may lead to that if not dealt with.  You need to deal with the underlying issues but you can start gently by taking some time out to get back in touch with all aspects of yourself. For instance what are your favourite things, hobbies? What kinds of music do you love? Do you use the creative side of yourself in your work or other activities?  How often do you do something purely for fun? How often do you try something new?  Take time to nourish your soul and build trust with yourself and things will start to change as you get clear messages and directives about where your passions lie and your fears reside so that you can clear them.

When you are ready attend a workshop to clear out the underlying issues or work with a therapist. Alternatively I have sent you some exercises you can use with a friend.