health

Why does depression make you tired? The important explanation for the crippling symptom.

When it comes to depression, one of the most debilitating symptoms of the disease is also one of its most misunderstood and highly stigmatised.

The mental exhaustion of getting stuck deeper and deeper into destructive thought cycles,  interrupted sleep patterns and the increased emotional and physical toll of doing everyday things eats into the already depleted energy reserves of sufferers.

It’s also a double-edged sword that the medication to treat the illness can further exacerbate fatigue.

And yet sometimes, this inward struggle can outwardly be judged as laziness or ‘just being down’, a response people are perhaps too willing to accept.

However, Twitter user, artist and mental health advocate @PJ_palits offers an alternate perspective.

As a sufferer of depression, PJ said that for her “‘I’m tired’ is not a complaint… It’s merely a fact of life.”

The thread of more than 20 tweets has since gone viral and she goes on to explain her own personal battles struggling with the “invisible illness”, and why falling asleep easily just is not an option.

Some tweets have amassed more than 7000 likes each and combined they’ve been re-tweeted thousands of times.

PJ says extra difficulties sleeping doesn’t help either and sometimes she wakes up only feeling slightly more rested, likening it to a “battery that has been damaged that never seems to recharge properly.”

She also states that outward societal pressures and misunderstandings about the mental illness further exacerbates the issue.

LISTEN: The non-zero day could change your life if you are feeling down or struggling with depression. (Post continues after audio.)

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Ultimately PJ is imploring her followers to extend compassion and empathy.

“I beg of you, on behalf of all of us fighting our own silent battles, please be patient and empathetic. Just because you don’t experience it doesn’t mean that it’s not a reality for someone else,” she says.

Calling the disease an invisible disability, she stressed that being tired is an all-consuming symptom of depression and not the individual being “lazy or irrational.”

And for those on the sidelines, trying to help a friend, partner, co-worker or anyone struggling, she has the following advice:

If you or someone you know is struggling with mental health, please contact Lifeline on 13 11 14. If you are in immediate danger, call 000.

LISTEN: In a must-listen episode of No Filter, legendary author Marian Keyes gets candid to Mia Freedman about everything from her life, writing books, and what it was like being taken by depression.

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