Dealing With Emotional Slumps, Emotional Fatigue and Exhaustion (Part 1)

(A Woman’s Guide To Reclaiming Wholeness After Sexual Abuse)

Blog and Podcast Show notes


By Simone N


For a more in depth discussion, check out the podcast episode for this blog, to listen.


Episode #22

Are you emotionally spent, worn out, in a low place?

Do you know the causes of this; whether it derives from you or someone else?


Today, I will be speaking about emotional slumps.

Emotional slumps are the time we feel less than our best self; emotionally and physically, not functioning at our optimum. We may be drained/slow/tired, and easily burnt out. The state we are in , can be–or close to—a state of depression, but not always.

We can feel depressed (hopeless, sad, anxious), or we can just feel empty, numb, indifferent/uncaring about ourselves and lives; have less joy and excitement about anything (emotional fatigue and exhaustion).

These emotional slumps, can many times last a short (few hours to a couple days), or can extend longer ( one month, or more), depends on what triggers it.

What can cause a emotional slump? Emotional slump can occur when we are extending ourselves too much (sacrifice/codependency), for too long and frequently, without enough alone time, nurturing/self care; times of stress and (major) change , during or after a loss/death, grief (distressing, draining event/s). Also, it can occur “randomly” (with no apparent trigger) on our healing journey (with a history of traumatic event(s)). This is totally normal. In the general sense, as well, an emotional slump can be the downtime of an energy cycle; the time period before the next time of action.

Emotional fatigue is something that we will go through at least once in our lifetime.Emotional fatigue is when we exceed our emotional reserves (emotional exhaustion). You have exhausted your ability to emotionally engage, or participate. Emotional burnout is the furthest level (severe) of this fatigue. Emotional fatigue can happen when someone , or you , when you have been through many battles; it required you to extend much energy, emotion, of yourself to get where you are. With this understanding, it helps to know that we are a  limited resource humanistically (emotional and physical capacity); at some point in our journey,  it has become too much. Sexual abuse, I may add, and being a survivor of it, has put you through many storms to survive and overcome; dealing with the aftermath/effects, and symptoms takes it’s toll. Trauma (and the overcoming of) is emotionally expensive and taxing (also physically and psychologically as well). Things like depression, anxiety, anger/rage, PTSD, trust issues, for example, all become so much to handle.

Exhausted emotions or emotional fatigue has symptoms that i would like to share:

  • You are emotionally and depleted and drained (more so for emotional burnout). Fatigue can cause you to feel this way, however other times you can become hypersensitive and reactive emotionally (angry, fearful, anxious, etc.)
  • You don’t find joy in the things you used to. You still may have the desire, but since you are so “shot” you no longer have the capacity for those feelings.
  • Indifferent/nonchalant/careless attitude reigns supreme. You have inattentiveness to things and people, no desire to be conscientious, because it takes up too much energy.
  • You have a loss of focus and concentration, fogginess, and confusion. This is what happens when your emotional reserves are running empty; as a result, it takes a toll on you mentally. It’s all connected.
  • Inability to deal with stress, stressful circumstances, resulting in becoming over-stressed, panic/anxiety attacks.
  • Desire to be alone, and/or isolating self. Running empty causes you to want to hide, it in a way, is for you to save yourself.
  •  You feel paranoid; fearful, even when you have no reason at the present moment to feel this way. Over-extending yourself, mentally, emotionally, energetically, causes a great imbalance within the self, our perspective of realitiy become distorted, and we become fearful as a result.


Emotional fatigue, goes hand- in-hand with compassion fatigue.

Compassion fatigue is becoming emotionally (and physically) drained and depleted caring for, or in the midst of those who are in distress, traumatized (terminally ill, injured, abused). We can experience this in our professional and personal relationships. Another name for this is secondary traumatization (pretty explanatory). To frequently be around, associate, or care for others in this state, gives you a higher likelihood of fatigue or burnout. Overtime, compassion lessens over time, to indifference. The brain, (I believe) protects itself from extreme stress by dissociating these emotions.

Here are some signs and symptoms of compassion fatigue:

  • Indifference to others and their suffering, when before you had compassion and understanding (in the burnout stages)
  • Anger and resentment towards them and/or their self-care, your life and life role (if it involves the care of others in this instance).
  • You have increased anxiety. Anxiety can manifest in your life situations, towards another situation and self care, expectations, wants, needs. You may start avoiding; answering phone calls, become unavailable those you care for, or anyone else. Anxiety/panic attacks can happen.
  • You feel irritable/miserable, pessimistic about yourself,  life (and your career if the fatigue is coming from it). It’s hard to feel good, when you are depleted.
  • Depression, hopelessness, despair, can ensue with prolonged compassion fatigue.
  • Sleeplessness/ sleep disturbances. Perhaps you are unable to turn your brain off; of the memories, flash-backs of events, of  the suffering of others, unpleasant thoughts.
  • Health issues can occur; weakened immune system, heart palpitations (can be form anxiety/panic attacks), upset stomach/nausea, migraines/headaches, body tension/pain (from stress anxiety). You body begins to suffer as a result of prolonged mental, and emotional distress, as a manifestation. Everything within you is connected.
  • Loss of focus and concentration. Your mind is tied up, and tied out, as a result of these stressful emotions.


Hopefully this provided some insight or a different perspective into the things you may be experiencing. Sometimes it does help (I find) tremendously, just to know, or to put a name to what we may be going through; and then we can take the step with this knowledge to healing and reversing it. In the next article, I will give you some tips, and different ways that I’ve used to help these problems.

Check out part 2 of this article : Dealing With Emotional Slumps, Emotional Fatigue and Exhaustion (Part 2)