Having mental illness is exhausting. Yes, depression is exhausting in that it drains you of energy or willpower, even for things you truly enjoy. Yes, it is exhausting because all the things you know are lies, that you know are ridiculous, but still stress you to the point of needing to retreat to a safe space. But it is also exhausting because of the loss of sleep.
I have generalized anxiety disorder, which means I worry about everything, all the time. Humans aren’t designed to worry that much, and the added energy is literally exhausting. It is especially exhausting because when I am supposed to be going to sleep, my brain is still in overdrive, preventing me from sleeping no matter how exhausted I am.
If I am managing my mental illness well I have routines I can go to that calm my mind down. If I’m not managing it well, which happens because even with all my work relapses still happen, then I stay up far later than I should, trying to tire myself out until the point my body literally can’t go any further.
Saying this is just a little sleepless is like saying depression is just sadness. Such a trivialization ignores the stress this places on the body, which is itself exhausting. It also highlights why mental illnesses can be so very dangerous, because they can have so many secondary consequences that impact a person’s quality of life, exhausting them, worrying them, and driving the negative feedback loop of mental illness even further.
Sometimes people say it is tiring hearing about mental illness, perhaps because they think it is an excuse, but likely because they just have no frame of reference to understand. Well I can assure you that if hearing about mental illness can sometimes be tiring, then living with it is fucking exhausting.