Psychic fatigue

Being tired seems to be the new normal since well many years. There can be many reasons that we are tired but often we experience this constant low of energy even if we are doing all the right things for keeping our organism in good health. 

So what is going on?

Have you ever noticed that when something is bothering you, occupies your mind, you have less energy free for other things?

Or when you finally get to speak with someone where there has been a conflict, you might even shed some tears during the talk, there is a huge sensation of release after?

It’s the same reason that some patients can feel really tired at the end of a therapy session.

In spiritual communities you will hear the word energy being thrown around easily and actually, Freud would talk about your psychic energy as well. 

Most of us have heard of Freud’s topic on the mind as super ego, ego and id or maybe also the conscious and unconscious. But there was another topic suggested by him which he named the economic point of view. And it has interestingly close correlation with a more eastern view on the human life force. The energetic flow inside of us that makes us feel so good when nothing is blocking its natural movement in the organism. 

We have a certain amount of energy that we tend to spend either all in one go, or more or less equally spread between different fields of interest. 

This is how we can easily testify that we do resource our energy when we do something we like (when we are in flow) or even just when we speak our truth (lying takes a lot of energy actually). 

So when we notice that we are constantly tired, it is another testimony. But one that tells us we are not liberating our energy. So where is this energy? What is happening to it?

It is being used to withhold something very important, something that is so powerful that we need all our forces to hold it back. The unconscious. 

Let’s first understand why the unconscious has anything to do with this. We come into this world and we learn very quickly what is accepted and what is not in order to belong to the group. This means that we learn what parts of us need to be cut off. Disappear. But we cannot make it go away since it’s a part of who we are, so we repress it instead. 

We are well instructed with the model of reality given to us by the people who care for us : parents, family, teachers, mentors, friends etc. This model we accept without blinking because our capacity to discriminate is not yet developed. This is why a child under the age of 10 cannot understand sarcasm for instance. We take everything at face value. We are on the first degree of things. And what you have accepted here is that this model, no matter how much it will make you suffer later, will fight to stay intact. You will – unconsciously- resist anything that threatens your world view. This goes for how you look at yourself, other people and how you understand the world. Even if you don’t want to keep this model as an adult who can clearly see that it’s not serving you. Because you are not keeping it with your conscious mind.

In order to deal with what is unconscious, we need to bring it into the conscious mind. Only then can we actually make the changes we wish to see. 

The way we resist the change is by the typical self sabotaging actions we take of coming late to a meeting or getting drunk the night before an exam because we “forgot” about it for instance.

Anything that might be a big change in our life, that might bring a new vision of ourselves, we will resist. 

How do you think we execute this resistance inside of us?

We use all the energetic force we can to keep the door of the unconscious closed. In the unconscious lies those parts of us that could allow for the change to happen. But because they are not viewed as acceptable, we rather play the role we have been given. And this takes work.

The libido, the drive for life which can also be called sex drive (not limited to sexuality) does not care about what society finds acceptable. It is spontaneous and joyful. It expresses itself completely freely. As you can imagine, that would not look good in the eyes of society. 

Freud would call this action we take to repress the energy, the censorship. But the censorship is not 100% potent, it lets small signs of the repressed energy out at times. This is what we would call the symptom. But also what originally Freud called FEHLLEISTUNG which has been translated into parapraxis in English. That would include the verbal slip, we call it even a Freudian slip, or an unconscious act. Who has forgotten “i take thee Rachel” of Ross in Friends? Dreams are also giving us information of what exists inside of us without our knowledge.

So here’s why we would speak of “economy” for this model : the more we need to keep the unconscious away, the more energy it will cost us to push it down. The more of our available energy we use to push down the unconscious, the less we have free for the rest. 

The solution would be to release some of the pressure onto the unconscious so that we don’t have to fight with ourselves so much anymore. But because it is unconscious – it is very difficult to CONSCIOUSLY make any kind of changes. This is why somatic work can be such a relief. Through yoga, breathing exercises, massage, acupuncture etc we allow for what is stuck in the body to gentle express itself. But at the end of the day, if we do not become aware of the unconscious but making it conscious (ie putting words on it), it is hard to make peace with. 

Speaking about how you feel usually makes you resist less how it actually IS making you feel. That is what Freud discovered when his famous patient Anna O stood up and asked him to just shut up and listen to her instead. The birth of Psychoanalysis. 

Hi, I’m Charlotte (Yogi Cha). I’m a yoga teacher with a degree in clinical psychology. I’ve always had a deep curiosity toward eastern and western approaches to understanding the mind, and the ming/body union. You’ll find me in the lovely Canggu Bali, nestled amongst coconuts, palm trees and sunshine 🥥🌴🌞



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