A Compassionate Twitter Thread Explains Why Battling a Mental Illness is so Exhausting.
Over the last decade, our understanding of mental health has seen exponential growth. We now know that our mental health is in constant communication with our physical health. Thus, just as physical illness leaves us run down and exhausted — so too does mental illness. PJ Palits, a mental health advocate and art director in the Philippines, has beautifully articulated this connection in her twitter thread — ‘Allow me to Explain why Mental Illness can Make People so Tired.’ The original post went viral in January 2018, but it made a comeback in August 2018. It has accumulated over 60,000 likes and 40,000 retweets with many of them captioning it ‘Yes, Exactly.’
According to PJ Palits, the lack of energy is due to several factors. She explains that “these are people who are in a constant war with their own brain,” which leaves the brain in overdrive, making it extremely difficult to fall asleep. She notes that “for the ‘average’ person, it takes seven minutes to fall asleep. Imagine crawling into bed exhausted, and it takes the average of an hour to fall asleep, instead of seven minutes.” She also emphasizes that it is exhausting having to battle discrimination and persistent misunderstanding from others. At the same time, the physical manifestations of mental ill-health, such as constant nausea, headaches, or sensory overload, demands a hefty amount of energy. By articulating these reasons in emphatic, personal, language, PJ Palits provides insight, which is now viral, into the intrinsic relationship between our mind and bodies. At Paracelsus Recovery, the world’s most exclusive and discreet treatment center, one of our main priorities is to re-strengthen this precise relationship. Consequently, inspired by PJ Palits, we elaborate upon her insights below, emphasizing how important they are for those in high-pressure, high-profile positions.
It’s Tiring Having Your Mind Working Against Your Needs.
“These are people who wake up feeling, at best, slightly more rested than they were when they crawled into bed in the first place — like a battery that has been damaged that never seems to recharge properly. These are people who, for decades, don’t feel rested after their slumber.” tweets PJ Palits.
The energy it can take having to distinguish what is real and what is both exhausting and profoundly stressful. Harvard Medical School (2009) notes that chronic sleep problems affect 50–80% of psychiatric patients, compared to 10–18% of adults in the general U.S population. Paracelsus Recovery has seen that sleep problems are particularly prevalent in clients suffering from anxiety, depression, bipolar disorder, or ADHD. Intuitively, one can grasp how, after just one night of troubled sleep, our mental health takes a temporary hit, and we feel irritable and increasingly emotional the next day. Nights upon nights of disturbed sleep can lead to a vicious downward spiral as the vital rest needed to fight ill-health is stolen by that very illness.
What’s more, chronic sleep deficiency drastically increases an individual’s risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, kidney disease, diabetes, and stroke. What’s more, a study conducted in Denmark found that, on average, Danes diagnosed with mental illnesses live ten years less than their counterparts. The researchers noted that while some of these deaths were due to suicide, the majority was because of “general medical conditions such as heart disease, infection, and cancer.” Thus, PJ Palits compelling explanation of the toll mental illness takes on one’s sleep patterns may provide us with additional insight into why so many individuals battling mental illnesses develop such severe physical ill-health.
Mental Health and Fatigue in the Boardroom.
Adequate rest is essential for everyone, but it can be particularly challenging to find when an individual is in a high-stress leadership position. Paracelsus Recovery has seen how these high-stress levels can lead to sleep disturbances, weakening both the immune system and an individual’s mental wellbeing. Leadership positions also require a degree of emotional isolation as the individual dedicates all of themselves and more to their job. However, chronic-stress levels and a disconnect from those around you can severely affect one’s mental health, potentially worsening an already fragile sleep pattern. For example, Ariana Huffington, co-founder, and editor in chief of the Huffington Post, publicly advocates for the importance of rest after suffering a burnout due to sleep deficiency and chronic stress. In her book, The Sleep Revolution (2016), she argues that we are “in the midst of a sleep deprivation crisis” and our cultural dismissal of sleep is severely compromising our health. If an individual is in the grips of mental illness, one of the most important first steps to take is to ensure they can re-acquire an adequate amount of sleep. Meditation, therapeutic interventions, and the company of loved ones are all useful aids in this process.
Mind-Body Restoration at Paracelsus Recovery.
Paracelsus Recovery works predominately with ultra-high-net-worth individuals, such as those in C-Suite positions, celebrities, or others in positions of power within the public eye and the relationship between body and mind is a pillar of our treatment method. We provide the client with laboratory assessments to identify numerous biochemical imbalances and create a tailor-made mixture of macro and micronutrients based upon the client’s unique needs. In so doing, we strive to repair the damage done to both the brain and body. Our team understands that healthy biochemistry is essential for long-term sobriety, improved cognitive skills, physical strength, and emotional stability. All of which are integral to ensure adequate sleep and overall wellbeing.
Finally, Paracelsus Recovery continues to contribute to the de-stigmatization of mental illness. Within this dialogue, viral threads such as PJ Palits’s are a powerful reflection of the positive changes our understanding of mental health underwent during the last decade.
Harvard Medical School. (2009). Sleep and mental health: Sleep deprivation can affect your mental health. Harvard Health Publishing. Retrieved from: https://www.health.harvard.edu/newsletter_article/sleep-and-mental-health.
Huffington, A. (2016). The Sleep Revolution: Transforming Your Life, One Night at a Time. Penguin Random House.
Luntz, S. (2019). Mental Illness Costs Lives, But Not How You Probably Expect. IFLScience! Retrieved from: https://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/mental-illness-costs-lives-but-not-how-you-probably-expect/.
McCall, R. (2018). Viral Thread Brilliantly Answers One of the Most Common Questions About Mental Illness. IFLScience! Retrieved from: https://www.iflscience.com/health-and-medicine/mental-illness-can-make-you-tired-this-is-why/.
Paracelsus Recovery (2020). Bespoke Addiction Treatment & Psychiatry. Retrieved from: https://www.paracelsus-recovery.com/en/.
Perry, T. (2018). Mental Health Advocate Perfectly Explains Why Depression Makes People Tired. GOOD. Retrieved from: https://www.good.is/articles/why-depression-makes-people-tired.
Streit, K. (2018). Mental health Advocate Explains What People With Depression Mean When They Say I’m Tired. Simplemost. Retrieved from: https://www.simplemost.com/people-mental-illness-explain-mean-im-tired/.