“Fatigue is what we experience, but it is what a match is to an atomic bomb.” -Laura Hillenbrand Dear Readers, I’ve written about clinical exhaustion before in 7 Truths About Mental Illness Related Fatigue to shed light on the unexpected sources of fatigue. Today I want to talk about what loss of energy feels like. This matters because it can rob you of your most prized possessions, and the ability to build memories. Fatigue is not just feeling tired. It is the inability to exert yourself, even when you most want to. It is the inability to process information properly. It is becoming overstimilated by environmental changes and social courtesies, however routine they may seem. Fatigue is the inability to move even when you’re most motivated, the inability to take in your surroundings, and the inability to respond. Fatigue is feeling trappd in your body, but it is never intentional. My weaknesses come from insomnia exacerbated by episodes of chronic pain and mental illness, but everyone is different. I can fall asleep, but I can’t stay asleep. I often wake anywhere from four to six times per night. This may be from the discomfort from pain, the anxiety from racing throughts, or the hypervigilance and nightmares of PTSD. I explained this during an evaluation with a psychiatrist some time ago, to which he replied, “That’s awful.” I resent sleeplessness because it bleeds into every area of my life. It impacts my relationships, my ability to produce and follow-through, and my ability to work as a typical 29-year-old should. Effective treatment of insomnia almost always requires medication. However, my attempts to approach my health in a natural way has taught me a few good things about sleep hygiene. Sure, the medication will knock you out, but sedation is not the same as restful natural sleep. Sleep is so important because it brings healing and recovery from the day to your muscles and your brain. When these things are left uncared for, it can cause a resurfacing of symptoms related to mental health, and completely drain a possibly already injured body. Therefore, self-care remains my top list priority on a daily basis. This generally consists of hot baths, meditation, stretching, proper nutrition, hydration, and leisure skills. I must also reserve my bed for sleep only, refusing any temptation to eat, work, or play. The trouble is when self-care becomes necessary, it can become time consuming which forces you to prioritize your life differently. The truth is, small victories matter – but they may come at the expense of others. You may fail to return important phone calls, execute daily tasks, or nurture your relationships. Add to that a nasty social stigma attached to fatigue, often being mistaken for a character flaw such as laziness. It’s not something many people understand, but I assure you it’s real. If you suffer from fatigue, may you find hope in balance and returning to the things you love. What keeps you up at night? **If you’re a mental health survivor or mental health provider and want to tell your story – please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org!** For more excellent insight and entertainment through a collaborative approach to all things mental health, including a guest post from yours truly, visit the Blunt Therapy Blog by Randy Withers, LPC! For additional perspectives on suicide prevention from master level mental health providers visit, 20 Professional Therapists Share Their Thoughts on Suicide! In collaboration with Luis Posso, an Outreach Specialist from DrugRehab.com, Deskraven is now offering guides on depression and suicide prevention to its readers. For more information on understanding the perils of addiction visit, Substance Abuse and Suicide: A Guide to Understanding the Connection and Reducing Risk! In addition, for a comprehensive depression resource guide from their sister project at Columbus Recovery Center visit, Dealing with Depression!