Ben Claassen III (For Express)
Express Advice Columnist

Don’t miss the next live chat: Dr. Andrea Bonior, a licensed clinical psychologist who has been helping readers with Baggage Check since 2005, hosts a weekly live chat at washingtonpost.com on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. She discusses her recent columns and answers any questions you may have about relationships, work, family, mental health and more. Join or read Dr. Andrea’s latest live chat here.

Q. I am always really tired. Not depressed, not overly stressed, just tired. I get plenty of sleep. I don’t have any major health problems. And yet I can never keep up with my friends. They always want to go out after the workweek, or do big things on the weekend. I never have the energy. It leaves me feeling less-than. Any ideas what could be going on?

Certainly, being “always really tired” is not the same as just preferring to chill on weekends. Are you sure this is an energy issue — as in, your battery is actually deficient? Or might it just be that your battery needs to be recharged in a different way than your friends’ do? For some people, especially introverts, doing big, social things is actively exhausting in its own right. What kind of things do motivate you and get you moving? Are there times you feel more energized than others?

That said, you need not have major health problems to have a physiological predisposition to fatigue. I’d urge a thorough physical, telling the physician about your sluggishness and looking at bloodwork. Anything from nutrient deficiencies to thyroid issues could play a role here, as can sleep itself: You say you get plenty, but if its quality is poor, that’s a smoking lethargy gun right there.

He’s fine, he’s not, he’s fine …

Q. The guy I am dating struggles with anxiety significantly. He works on it on and off with a therapist and medication. Some months are better than others, and just when I think he is doing well, something throws him for a loop. I feel like his baseline will always be somewhat dysfunctional, and I am always waiting for the other shoe to drop. I love him so much, but I don’t know if I can picture a life with these ups and downs.

Well, you’ve already been living that life. So, what do you think of it, through as clear and unfiltered of lenses as you can view it? Has it already been exhausting and unfulfilling, or is it just that you worry that things may get worse? Always waiting for the other shoe to drop does sound like an unsustainable and stressful way to live. But I don’t want to assume that for you. Your guy is working on his anxiety issues, but how solid is the therapy? And how carefully calibrated is the medication? And how willing is he to be open about his struggles and have difficult conversations about the ways they affect you? There are so many variables here, but it comes down to this: When the lows come, does he give up and cycle downward, or does he fight to re-up on tools and treatment (which would indicate a long-term trajectory toward progress)? And this: If absolutely nothing changed, are things good enough — no filters, no conditions — as they are?

Send your questions for Baggage Check to Dr. Andrea Bonior at baggage@wpost.com. She may answer them in an upcoming column in Express or in a live chat on Tuesdays at 1 p.m. at washingtonpost.com.

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