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Tired? Or Exhausted?

I may have dozed off …

I have ADHD, as you’re all aware. I must have told you a thousand times by now, right? Forgive me for repeating myself, I’m exhausted.

And specifically, I have the combined type of ADHD that includes being both inattentive and hyperactive.

And while being inattentive means that I get distracted easily and end up doing a lot of extra things in my efforts to get the things I’m supposed to do done, the hyperactive part means that I throw myself into things with a fair bit of passion.

And that all adds up to me being tired. Often.

But then …

There are also times when I get beyond tired. There are times when I am actually exhausted.

And today is one of those times.

How do I know?

When I’m tired, I wish I could take a nap. And I don’t just mean I wish I had the time or the opportunity.

I can’t really nap. I can be tired enough to lie down, but my mind will continue to run with the thousand thoughts it’s used to keeping on the go.

But that’s just tired.

When I’m exhausted …

I can nap.

Another thing about being exhausted is that there’s almost nothing left to do.

In other words, my brain is so tired that it has stopped making plans for activities.

Commitment still rules

I can’t just drop the things I said I’d do, but as I finish them I find myself having an aversion to committing to new things.

So exhaustion is accompanied by a sense of things winding down.

Stuff gets crossed off of the master list and I feel like I’m getting closer to being free to rest.


I get distracted. I find myself doing other things here and there, but I also find that I’m more upset with myself for letting distraction claim me.

And since exhaustion is setting in my temperament is not the most pleasant, and when I get upset with myself I unleash that temper at me.

And in a way that is a coping mechanism. I can always forgive myself for tantrums, but I don’t like to have to burden others with the task of forgiving me.

So I keep going

I’ve done it before. I’ll surely do it again. I’ll muscle through the exhaustion and I’ll make it to the time when things are done, the time when I can rest.

And these past three weeks have been full of things that I promised to do.

And I’ve done almost all of them, including this post now. I have one more meal to cook and then an article to write and then it will be rest time.

And I need that rest, I’m exhausted.

Tired? Or Exhausted?

Kelly Babcock

I was born in the city of Toronto in 1959, but moved when I was in my fourth year of life. I was raised and educated in a rural setting, growing up in a manner I like to refer to as free range. I live on the traditional lands of the Chippewas of Nawash in an area where my family history stretches back 6 or 7 generations and my First Nations friend's families go back hundreds of generations. I was diagnosed with ADHD at the age of 50 and have been both struggling with the new reality and using my discoveries to make my life better. I am a freelance writer and I write two blogs here at Psych Central, one about living with ADHD and one that is a daily positive affirmation that acts as an example of finding the good in as much of my life as I possibly can.

Find out more about me on my website: writeofway.

email me at ADHD Man

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APA Reference
Babcock, K. (2018). Tired? Or Exhausted?. Psych Central. Retrieved on August 14, 2020, from


Last updated: 25 Aug 2018
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