Bipolar Treatment Fatigue
In the world of chronic illness there is a concept of “caregiver fatigue.” This is where caregivers of people with chronic illness get burned out because they just spend so much time and effort caring for another person. This is a real thing and a real problem.
I would suggest there is also such as thing as “bipolar treatment fatigue.” Bipolar treatment fatigue is when a patient with bipolar disorder becomes burned out because of all the time and effort it takes to fight the bipolar disorder. I think this is a real thing and a real problem.
I’m Too Tired to Fight Bipolar Disorder
I wrote an article entitled I’m Too Tired to Keep Fighting Bipolar Disorder. This is a pretty popular article because a lot of people do feel too tired to continue fighting this merciless and ceaseless disease. I talk to people who feel this bipolar treatment fatigue all the time and what they say to me is that often they are thinking of taking their lives because they just don’t have the energy within them to keep fighting the bipolar disorder every day.
The Fatigue that Comes with Treating Bipolar Disorder
Because bipolar treatment truly is exhausting. If you haven’t spent the last decade-and-a-half fighting bipolar disorder, let me clue you in: for many of us, fighting bipolar disorder is an every second of every minute of every hour of every day of your life kind-of-a-thing. Dealing with bipolar disorder is not something that stops when you leave your doctor’s office or when you take your pills. Truly treating bipolar disorder means using coping skills and being on guard for the problems of bipolar disorder every moment of forever. And this is beyond tiring. This is beyond fatiguing. This is soul-suckingly, bone-crushingly exhausting. It feels like you can’t move your pinky finger because bipolar has sucked all of the life out of you some days.
Believe me, I get this. I have felt bipolar treatment fatigue more times than I care to recall.
We Should Expect Bipolar Treatment Fatigue
And I think we should expect this sort of chronic illness treatment fatigue. Anyone who puts out extreme effort to deal with anything every minute of their lives would be tired. It’s natural. Much like it’s natural for caregivers to need a break, it’s also natural for people with bipolar disorder to crave a break from all the effort required in treatment.
Dealing with Bipolar Treatment Fatigue
As I said, when I talk to people with bipolar treatment fatigue they are often considering taking their own lives because of it. I think it’s important to tell these people that what they’re feeling is real and a real problem but that bipolar treatment fatigue doesn’t last forever. Caregivers often get respite, in one way or another, to recharge their batteries but then they go back to their caregiving role. It might not be easy, but people certainly do it every day.
And so must we. True, there is no real “respite” from bipolar disorder. We can never outrun or hide from our miswired brains – there is no doubt about that. But there is such a thing as taking a break from the endless effort required to manage at the top of your game. There is such a thing as just allowing yourself to be. Maybe you take a break from therapy for a week. Maybe you take a break from your psychiatrist for a month. Maybe you don’t make any medication changes for a while. Maybe you don’t put any additional pressure on yourself to “act normal” for a while. Maybe you stop consuming endless educational material about bipolar disorder for a bit. We can give ourselves breaks and try to recharge our own batteries so we can take up the bipolar fight again.
When You Feel Bipolar Treatment Fatigue
So when you feel bipolar treatment fatigue try to remember that it’s normal. It’s a part of being chronically ill and it really does come with the icky territory. But it isn’t a reason to end your life. It’s a reason to change your life. Because no one can fight every single moment of their lives. It’s not reasonable to expect that and it’s just not possible. But you can fight what you can, when you can, and give yourself a break the rest of the time. Because you’re in this for the long haul – pace yourself and treat yourself gently. You deserve it. Don’t worry, the bipolar isn’t going anywhere and nor are the treatment options. They will all be there when you get back.