Five Reasons Why Living With a Mental Illness Makes Us Exhausted
I came up with this topic when I was in a state of serious depression--less than a month ago. I was certain I would never become well. Those of you who live with a mental illness understand this on a very deep and personal level.
While I was glued to the couch I started thinking about how much time I spend exhausted--some days less and some more. Mental exhaustion and physical (or both) can define a large part of our lives.
Without further explanation (coffee in hand) let's explore this topic.
Why Does Mental Illness Cause Exhaustion?
I want to make this easy to digest; a bit easier for me to write. Today is shaping up to be one of my not-so-infamous exhausted mornings and soon afternoon. Point in case: Let's make this easy on both of us!
In no particular order. . .
1. Psychiatric Medications
Yes, I know, this is obvious. My telling you that psychiatric medications cause exhaustion is something you have probably experienced and you also know that this nasty side-effect dissipates after some time. Or it does not and you move on to the next medication. Yay!
2. The Negative Impact on Sleep
Mental illness, particularly when chronic, impacts our sleep-cycle. We sleep too much or sleep too little, and this directly affects our ability to function and our level of energy.
3. Recovering From Mental Illness is Exhausting
Recovery itself is bloody exhausting! In my opinion, it is more exhausting than sleep and medication combined. Recovery takes a huge amount of mental energy and physical energy--add psychiatric medication and trouble with sleep and it can be hard to get through each day.
4. Learning About a New Diagnosis
First, you are told you have a serious and often chronic mental illness--that in itself is exhausting. Then, like a rotten cherry on the top of melted ice cream, you have to learn about the illness; the impact it will have on your life and the changes you will need to make to ensure you can recover.
PS sorry about the cherry metaphor. I'm sort of certain it's lame, but I'm exhausted at the moment and I'm not a huge fan of cherries and ice cream.
5. Learning About and Practicing Self-Care
I write about self-care, touch on it at the least, in pretty much every blog. And it's not that I like talking about the same thing but it's because self-care is important.
Learning to sleep, eat, exercise, communicate and not isolate keeps us sane. Oh, and avoid alcohol and drugs! Please! Learning how to do these things can be hard; it can feel impossible. It is, yes, exhausting.
I'm sick of the word exhausted right now but I believe it's important to validate why we often feel this way: to recognize that it's normal and will not always define our life. It's part of recovering from mental illness. It's part of the journey we take to find a place of stability. A place of, at the very least, relative peace.
Champagne, N. (2013, February 7). Five Reasons Why Living With a Mental Illness Makes Us Exhausted, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2019, July 18 from https://www.healthyplace.com/blogs/recoveringfrommentalillness/2013/02/five-reasons-why-living-with-a-mental-illness-makes-us-exhausted
Author: Natalie Jeanne Champagne
to do the things I Know make me feel less exhausted and depressed
I have bipolar disorder--have coped with it for the better part of 37 years, but wasn't diagnosed/treated until 17 years ago. I'm 52 now. After a 10 year bad marriage and 15 years of going it alone, God blessed me with a beautiful soul who married me in 2010--despite my illness. I thank God for him every day. I want to do everything I can to love him every day, even though I often don't have the energy to do it. I battle with a lot of guilt over that. He works so hard all the time, while I can barely get one thing done in a day...and he loves me anyway. I know how lucky I am, and how rare this level of support can be. I just want the loved ones out there to know that we love you back. It's just hard to show it much of the time. Thank you for all you do to love us in spite of our illness, and for all you do to help us cope with it.
I appreciate and applaud your love for and dedication to your wife. I believe your response to her illness is an example of love. You chose to love her and your child, which in turn nullifies a "choice" to walk away.
Please bear in mind that there are also those of us whose family members, have chosen to judge us in our mental illnesses, harshly and wrongfully. I've had to distance myself, in self preservation, from those who should love me unconditionally, because the judgment turned our relationships toxic.
What I've taken from this is that people will only love you within the confines of their comfort zone. If your illness is broader or deeper than the width or depth of their comfort zone, they will stop at the zone borders.
You made a good statement that i think i will try next time i'm in the ring, "it takes energy to recover from an illness". Wonder if they can dig that deep into their thought banks to process the meaning of it. I am not sure if I didn't have MI that I would understand either. It is truly frustrating and that is a big part of why I often feel like giving up. I hate not "wanting" to do anything.
Thank you for sharing.
Both of you provide great examples from both ends of the spectrum. Thank you for sharing them!
I also wonder if it will ever change. I recently tried not taking a nap each day if possible so I can sleep better at night. It's working so far but it's hard when my eyes are half closed at 12 p.m.!
Thanks for your comment,
I am glad you like the post! Check the healthyplace.com website for more information on self-care. A lot of it includes information that focuses on how to boost our energy level.
Thanks for the comment!
And, yes, recovery is also exhausting! It can take the whole day to just get up and brush your teeth! Sometimes I can't even do that!