Recovering From Mental Illness is Exhausting

February 13, 2012 Natalie Jeanne Champagne

No kidding! I am telling you what you already know. I might be telling you how you felt when you opened your eyes this morning. But let's start at the beginning. Let's recall, and sorry to drag you back to this time, the first time you were diagnosed with a mental illness.

The Diagnosis

"Natalie, you have bipolar disorder."

A whopping twelve years old when these words were thrown on the table. My reaction? How exhausting! The years before the diagnosis? Bloody exhausting!

Next: A small amount of relief. Above all, I was sick and tired of being sick and tired but my life wasn't about to get any easier, no, it was time to try on medication's, fingers crossed they worked, and then fall, defeated, beaten, when they did not.

But this isn't my story. It's probably yours as well. Or, it's the story of someone you love. It hurts to watch them suffer.

Side-Effects, Complications, From Medication

Recovering from mental illness involves medication and medication is exhausting. You might have gotten used to your mind being a little crazed, moving too quickly or to fast. That was tiring. We wanted it to end. But taking medication--well, our bodies natural instinct is to panic. A new substance is suddenly living in our inside us; toying around with our mind, neuron's, and our physicality.

Side effects are exhausting. Some pill's make you tired, some of them make you gain weight, you might be slow to speak, slow to walk. You might feel like someone else completely, for as crazy as you may have been, it is quite a shock to be suddenly working to become well.

Sometimes, it feels as if you wont ever feel 'normal' again. I wondered, amidst searching for the Medication That Would Fix Me, if the side effects might kill me first.

I will take the leap and present you with a redundant phrase: Recovering from mental illness is exhausting. Draining. It can devour your entire life. The pursuit to find stability? Well, sometimes it feels impossible.

Life After The Diagnosis

Let's assume you have found some stability by now because this is entirely possible--probable. Once our minds have cleared, our energy should have slowly come home to us. The side-effects have lessened, but they probably still linger.

One of my medications caused a thyroid disorder and this is something I need to treat, to take medication for, just as I do for my mental illness. Sometimes, side effects exist beside us. Sort of trailing behind as we find our way through life again, recovering, with a newly stable mind.

Recovery is Worth the Wait

Recovery, in my humble, though jaded experience, is worth the exhaustion caused by the process itself--- the treatment, the medication, the therapy---the very things that make life possible again.

When your newly diagnosed the process to recovery can seem impossible; the glass half-empty, your eyes half shut, the bottles of medication glaring at you on the counter.

But it's worth it. Side-effects lesson, often they leave completely, and soon enough the exhaustion involving recovery will reward you with some well-deserved peace.

Not treating mental illness? Well, I cannot imagine anything more exhausting.

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APA Reference
Jeanne, N. (2012, February 13). Recovering From Mental Illness is Exhausting, HealthyPlace. Retrieved on 2024, June 16 from

Author: Natalie Jeanne Champagne

Jane Foster
February, 15 2012 at 7:12 pm

I hate it when my family don't understand what's wrong with me. I have major depression and borderline personality disorder. I take medication and go to counseling. Talking to them is pointless. They don't listen. They just say what they think us right. According to them, I should just forget everything that has happened to me and make like it never happened. They don't understand nor try to understand. I feel like a nobody when I am around me. They wouldn't miss me if I was gone.

In reply to by Anonymous (not verified)

Natalie Jeanne Champagne
February, 16 2012 at 6:30 am

Hi, Jane!
It's so hard, impossible, for people to understand the feelings that come with the illness--they can only try and we can only try to explain. I am sure they would miss you! It's just so hard to understand this when we are depressed, I often feel the same way. But the readers of this blog--we do understand.
Keep your head up,

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