Struggling to identify emotions

When I was younger it felt easier to identify my emotions. Now it feels a lot harder to understand what I’m feeling, and even harder to figure out why I’m feeling a certain way. As I’ve grown older my default feeling tends to be ‘lost.’ I often feel lost, not physically, but mentally and emotionally. And more so I just feel tired, I guess when I’m feeling tired it may be that I’m emotionally trained, or I may just physically be tired – though it definitely feels different when I’m ’emotionally tired.’

Everyone gets tired, emotionally. I think feeling exhausted forces us to let ourselves rest and make sense of why we are feeling this way. However sometimes I find it more of a battle trying to identify why I’m not feeling great; it’s a lot easier to just sleep, to block everything out. I know it’s not a groundbreaking thing – feeling tired, everyone gets tired, tired of having to constantly fight internal battles, and sometimes external ones too. I’m not putting my tiredness and my emotions down to mental illness, as I know that we can all find things difficult at times.

It’s natural I think for our minds to realise before we do that we may be struggling. And I, like many others have mastered the art of just getting on with things – it’s a survival technique, which as humans, we have built in. I know instinctively that there are others who rely on me, and that if I continuously give into the tiredness and the low emotions then it can do more bad than good.

What I find particularly stressful is my inability to identify certain emotions. When I’m constantly feeling tired I know that it might actually be a completely different feeling – I might not be feeling exhausted I might in fact be feeling scared, sad, lonely, stressed or any other emotion out there. However I just find ‘tired’ the easiest label for my emotions. Though it’s not just a label, I’m often exhausted – but then I know it’s the emotions, thoughts and feelings that are leaving me exhausted – but I don’t know what those emotions are.

As I’m writing this I’m fully aware that what I’m saying might not make sense. It’s very difficult to articulate how I don’t know how I’m feeling… which is why sometimes I am being completely honest when I respond to someone asking how I’m doing by saying “I don’t know”, because honestly sometimes I really don’t know.

I’m not sure why I find it so difficult identifying my emotions – though those emotions that can be included under the ‘tired’ heading seem to only be feelings of low mood, or negative feelings. I seem very able at identifying when I’m happy or excited – though, these feelings can quickly turn into anxiety or frustration. I’m growing frustrated at myself for writing this post, because I feel like I’m just being silly. However, it really does annoy me that I seem to not be able to figure out some of my emotions. More so it annoys me when I have been struggling and instead of feeling upset, I just feel numb, blurry, empty or as if nothing is real.

Why do I find it so difficult identifying my emotions, and do other people find themselves in a similar situation? I think for me one reason is that I’m very good at blocking things from my mind, so in fact when I’m feeling tired it’s actually most likely my mind and body telling me that it’s time to try and face whatever it is that I’ve been blocking out. The trouble is I often then continue to block things out and just end up more stressed. I envy those who can be so understanding of their own emotions. I know that looking after myself and giving myself time is key, but I often wonder if the ‘distractions’ I use when I’m not feeling great are actually preventing me from figuring out and facing whatever is going on in my head/life.

Source: Pinterest





  1. About a year ago I started mood mapping which included logging how I felt each day. I felt much how you describe here when I started I couldn’t find the words to describe my feelings bit now I have grown used to it and more aware of my feelings I am really good at connecting with how I feel and giving it a name for my log. Maybe you could get a notebook and try it. I use one word for each day. Something to sum up how I feel that day.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. i too experience this phenomenon. recently i was driving cross country and found myself not knowing exactly what i was feeling when i was ‘feeling’ tired. of course i was tired, its a 1500 mile drive. but it was more than that. when i stopped i sat and tried to identify my feelings more closely and during the trip found i was having anxiety, stress, anger, sadness..and had nothing to connect them to explain why i was feeling them. but at least i was able to identify them. this is a new thing for me, the being able to contemplate the different ‘tired’ feelings.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It feels strange not wing able to identify emotions- and ‘tired’ is so easy to identify! It’s weirder and more stressful I think when you can’t identify why you can’t feel a certain way!


  3. I definitely find myself feeling tired when I’m dealing with emotions that confuse me. I often don’t know what emotion I’m feeling even when I know something isn’t quite right. Sleeping to block stuff out is useful in the short term, but never helps me figure out my emotional state any better! Emotions that I find uncomfortable, like anger, will often cause me to be tired because I spend ages
    Trying to work out what I feel, why I feel it, and if it’s ok.
    I think your confusion is quite common, especially as an over thinker !


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