Low mood vs tiredness?

in my therapeutic rhetoric, the two are as connected as nurture and nature.

just opining. . .

for what it's worth
in the glass half full/half empty debate, i'm the opportunist who sees a drink and quenches her thirst while the debators are busy debating.
I’m at the point where tiredness is now a big priority for me - which is nice, because I remember when it didn’t even make the Top 10!

So, I don’t have an answer, but I’m going at it hard! I’m checking in and tracking throughout the day, and keeping a record of factors that are playing into it, like: time I took meds, exercise (type & duration), sleep (duration & quality), thoughts (see below!), diet, work stress levels…

I have a big issue with over-generalising. It seems to be one of my favourite types of cognitive distortion! And when I’m tired or stressed, my brain goes very quickly to “I can’t cope”, “I can’t do this”, etc etc. so, I’m working pretty hard on that as a bit of a side project.

When I’m doing my check-ins, throughout the day, I try and figure out where my thoughts and emotions are at, but also how my body is feeling. And for me, at the moment, there are periods of the day when I feel energised (after yoga, for example), and times where I very clearly feel tired because of something specific (like taking my meds at the wrong time).

I have also ruled out nutritional deficits (blood test, and sticking to the nutrition plan that my doc worked up with me).

Based on that, I’m thinking that what I’m experiencing is normal waxing and waning of tiredness, rather than low mood. Because despite the over-generalising that my brain loves doing, there are periods where my body is definitely fine, and periods where my body is energised, and when I’m tired, I’m usually able to identify an obvious cause.

Tldr: I don’t know the answer! I’ll be following this thread because this is totally relevant to me right now!
- Emotional exhaustion? Is. A. Thing. Not just a PTSD thing, but a people thing. So if anything BIG (not trauma big, but emotionally big) has happened? Yep. I’m going to be exhausted at worst, tired at best.

- Physical & Mental exhaustion? Also a people thing. So if I’ve been pushing myself to -or past- my limits? I expect to faceplant. From either or both.

- Pain? Is another thing that saps energy. I’ve dealt with chronic pain since adolescence so it’s something I often forget to factor in, but should.

- Insomnia is something I generally blow off, but still need to check from time to time. ((I often only sleep twice a week, or am doing the catnap thing, or am totally balanced -for me- just getting a couple hours a night IF AND ONLY IF once a week or so I sleep for about 12-20 hours. I can go months before not getting the sleep-myself-out makes me crazypants, but? It does happen. ))

- Nutritional & Oxygen deficits form the last two points on my checklist. Because I have an eating disorder & asthma.

If there’s NO reason for me to be tired?

Then it’s prolly mood. For me, that’s rare. I’m naturally very Tigger, rather than Eyore.
Low mood: inability to do the things I want to do. And vicious cycle as that then makes me feel lower. And less likely to do those things. And lower. And even less likely to do those things. Etc etc etc.

Tired: lack of energy, but still a sense of motivation. And an ability to do things. More of a choice about it. Less punishing of myself. And more easily resolved by boosting energy levels, having sleep, eating well etc
Thanks for the replies. I am pondering the "Does it matter" piece if my question. And in some ways it doesn't maybe, but knowing can be potentially useful in easing the situation?

So if anything BIG (not trauma big, but emotionally big) has happened? Yep. I’m going to be exhausted at worst, tired at best.

Hmm... I have this mental timer on this sort of thing. So, it's supposed to bother me for a certain length of time and then be magically gone. It's possible my timer is unrealistic. Heh.

All of the reasons you listed @Friday make sense and several sort of pinged my current sitatuation

If there’s NO reason for me to be tired?

A part of me wants to whine that based on that list, there's always a reason to be tired.
In my part of the world add something called Seasonal Affective Disorder -SAD. Brought on by short daylight hours usually and it can be made worse by poor sleep patterns, low seratonin, high melatonin, and mental illness. Winter solictice - daylight is about 6 hours a day and if you work in a place with not a lot of windows you can go to work in the dark and come home in the dark for a month or more.. Cloudy days mean little to no direct sunlight too.

It affects energy and mood. It can affect eating (carb craving) and it can bring on mild depression.

Usual treatment is.....light. There are lights made that have brightness and color to match sunlight and time spent with the light on simulates the sun light you are missing. My wife also got a wake up light therapy alarm clock that simulates sunrise starting before alarm time, and sunset at bed time which really helpped her.

In my experience the two things - low mood and sleep are linked and whether sleep causes low mood or vice versa they seem linked for me. The last few years have been well - weird though since I started therapy. Low mood seems linked to reprocessing work, but that affects sleep too so again....is it mood being affected or sleep because both are affected.
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I can't differentiate between low mood and tiredness right now. I certainly don't feel depressed and my motivation is pretty good, my failsafe power of will still hasn't let me down for forcing me to do things like eat and attend meetings etc.. but I do feel tired, but what kind of tired is it? My teacher and I spoke about people fatigue today. A lady wore me out Saturday after meditation. I think that's part of it and emotional exhaustion.

I feel like I'm just watching the world through a window without the need to react or engage in it very much.

Since this has come up for me more than once, I figured I'd make a post of it. I have troubles sorting out low mood from tiredness. I'm also not sure if it matters? Wondering if others have similar experiences, thoughts or opinions.
Hiya @Muttly , I do think it matters to try and differentiate between low mood and tiredness as each one is different and requires different remedies.
I'm also not sure if it matters? Wondering if others have similar experiences, thoughts or opinions.
i have had similar. this week i opine it doesn't matter. i don't care if the glass is half empty or full, either. i'm thirsty. i see a drink.
For me, tiredness, being sick (like the flu) or being in physical pain (eg pinched nerve due to slipped disc) are huge precursors/ tipping points for getting dysregulated and for my mood tanking, sometimes to the point of suicidalness. Oh yeah, and being hungry to the point of my blood sugar crashing can do it too.
Yeah I struggle with this too, telling the difference can often be impossible. As can the cause/effect relationship. So I spend a lot of time wondering if I feel low because I’m tired, or if feeling low is making me tired.

I think it does matter to some extent in that it changes the approach. If I’m tired and getting irritable, lethargic, moody etc, then obviously, reducing what I’m taking on and resting is the answer. Yet, if it’s low mood causing the lethargy then that’s the last thing I need; often I neeed to move, need to do something physical and that will help. Sometimes the only way to tell is to choose either rest or exercise and see if it helps.
If not, it’s probably the other thing?

But I do find it very difficult within myself to know the difference. And I think the two are very closely related.

Right now, i think I’m tired. Logically, it’s tiredness.
I was on call all weekend, I’m on week 2 of 3 solid weeks without a day off. It’s been very busy. So I’m probably feeling a bit down and a bit angsty because I’m tired. So, tried rest. Came home and lay on the couch with zero expectation and whatdya know, I dozed off.

Honestly, trial and error is often the only way I really know because one so often results in the other.