Can we simply be exhausted without being labelled as bipolar these days?

“Where am I at…
A lot of the time it feels desperate. I feel about as bad as it is possible to feel and my thinking is not good either… lots of thoughts starting with “Can’t… “.
I have a sick note that says unfit to work due to anxiety, but it could just as easily say anything along the lines of ‘stressed-out/burnt-out/knackered’
I think the main problem is exhaustion brought on by the prolonged high stress that I have been suffering for years and more intense stressors this year. A few times each day I have enough energy,which helps with getting dress or occasionally driving to the office. Increasingly I do not have enough energy………………… or possible it is that physically I may still have some energy but I do not feel able to do anything. Simple tasks are daunting as again and again I fail to do anything. I wanted to say, ‘fail to complete anything’ but the reality is that mostly I set things up ready to do and then fail to even start before putting whatever it was away again.
I know about types of faulty thinking and recognise that I have much faulty thinking. Ideas such as not living past New Year and that I will never again be able to earn any money would appear to be irrational when looking at the facts or basing the future on my past. I have come back from some very bad situations before. The feelings are not unlike those I had when taking psychiatric drugs… slowed down, struggling to think, thick-headedness, wanting to crawl way and hide. That was desperate then as I did not know I could gradually take less or ever manage without the drugs. Now though I can see no way out as I have been through the whole drug thing and remember each one making me feel worse. I am fearful of the psychiatric system where exhaustion is seen as an illness rather than simply exhaustion.
Well, I have typed that lot and it has become clear that the only thing I can do is rest. I need to stop ‘work’ now, switch the computer off, do a little shopping, eat and sleep and sleep. I keep saying that ‘tomorrow is another day’… and sure enough I always feel better in the mornings… “

About Roger Smith (in the UK)
Helping you to think about bipolar disorder in different ways so that we can eliminate the disorder and eventually eliminate the need for this diagnosis.

6 Responses to Can we simply be exhausted without being labelled as bipolar these days?

  1. judithhaire says:

    sending best wishes to you


  2. Dawn Willis says:

    Rest well Roger and ‘yes’ we can be tired just like anyone else 🙂


  3. Barbara Morgan says:

    There are all sorts of reasons for lack of motivation and the lethargy you describe (surely) and perhaps many of us suffer from that from time to time……
    Could be that some of us (including myself) think far too much….


    • S R SAIFI says:

      Anxiety can make us immobile as i myself have undergone the same.One always feels negative and best way is to keep away from this is to keep busy.It may not be your work.Meditation works.But dont stop meds.


  4. Cynthia Padilla says:

    Do you think someone with bipolar 1 with psychotic features also function without medication?


    • Roger Smith says:

      Hi Cynthia,

      I am not convinced anyone should have to have psychiatric drugs. The trouble is that alternatives, such as safe places to stay when unwell, people who can help us understand what is going on, help with getting over trauma/abuse/bullying, advice on diet, help with avoiding alcohol and other drugs that may be destabilizing moods… All these are difficult to find. Psychiatry is really all about dispensing drugs, so when we get so unwell that we cannot avoid psychiatrists then we are likely to be given drugs.

      If we had a lot more of the alternatives then maybe no one would be on drugs called ‘anti-psychotics’ or drugs called ‘mood stabilizers’. Currently, most people seem to be given some psychiatric drugs BEFORE diagnosis, such as large numbers who are given antidepressants that trigger their first psychosis. By the time we start to understand what is wrong and how we needed to be living to avoid extremes of mood then it is already difficult to manage without the psychiatric drugs.

      If you want to come off a psychiatric drug it is important to research how others have managed to do so. Most successful withdrawal from psych drugs happens when we have patience. A lot of doctors encourage patients to come off too quickly resulting in relapse. If you are feeling you can manage without a drug then the best option is to start by talking with a doctor you trust about taken 10% less and getting to understand why they agree or disagree with this idea.

      People I have known have stayed on psychiatric drugs and died young. I know people who had Bipolar 1 diagnosis and now function without any psychiatric drugs. Success in managing without the drugs seems to depend a lot on finding the right support.

      I hope these thoughts are useful. I know from my own experience that gradually and eventually coming off the psychiatric drugs is possible – I doubt if it can ever be easy.


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