Fatigue in Bipolar Depression
Two weeks ago I was feeling very good physically. I had energy, I was getting things done, I was really pleased with myself. I was taking naps after finishing a good day’s work.
Now I’ve gone to a polar opposite. I have no energy, almost nothing is getting done, and I’m taking long naps - usually back to bed within two or three hours of getting up. I feel hollow-eyed and like my head weighs a ton. Yesterday I took two naps.
Fatigue is a common symptom of depression, and for me, it is one of the most common, along with lethargy and indecision. I think that makes it hard for me to recognize fatigue as a depressive symptom because I look for biological reasons first. Am I getting sick? Not eating right? Not sleeping well? Is because my back is out again?
Even after all this time, I still think of fatigue and sleepiness as purely physical problems, rather than as symptoms of depression. I know, intellectually, that depression can cause physical symptoms like fatigue and body aches, but while I’m having those symptoms, I don’t ever think of depression first as being the cause.
And part of the reason is I hate admitting I’m depressed To admit it seems like admitting defeat. Paradoxically, it also gives me a reason to tell myself it’s okay to go back to bed because it’s not my fault.
Is fatigue a huge problem for you during depression? Do you view it as a symptom, or do you resist that? Reading this over, I see how unclear my perceptions are on the subject. What are your thoughts?
Marcia wrote for HealthCentral as a patient expert for Mental Disorders.