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The toll of stress upon us

white knight
Community Champion
Community Champion

Mental illness in my view places us in a fragile state. We walk the edges of our well being rather than have many safety zones by which to fall back on. Therefore we topple regularly and when we do we get hurt, we have to climb up a knotted rope to get back to our "edge" whereas those without a mental illness "jump" back on without a worry.

I dont know about you but I feel every facet of our lives adds to the daily burden of ...well...just existing it seems. If I'm gardening and physically pushing myself then my mental state gets more fragile. I'm more temperamental and less patient. If I attend a crowded area like a shopping centre I last about 30 minutes max then flee back to the car in safety. If I have a tiff with someone it triggers a period of silence and hurt for hours. Stub my toe and it all adds to the rocks in my backpack that I find hard to throw in the river.

So what's this post about? It's all about balance and avoidance.

It's ok for me, I'm retired. Prior to retiring I had to drive 100,000 kms a year running my own business before it came to an abrupt stop. Had I known the end was coming a few years before I would have gone part time and likely continued for years more.

So nowadays if gardening I cease my work not when I'm tired but half way before that, 2 hours max. Then leave the rest for another day. Many of us have anxiety and this need to finish a project overtakes us...STOP...finish it another day. It wont run off!

Be aware of the "while we are here..." habit. We went to the beach "while we are here we'll visit the city to get that jumper you wanted" By the time you've returned to your car you are mentally spent. You only need one small incident on the way home to be tipped over that edge.

In one sense you become your own time manager. This is what most of us lack, control. We want to complete everything and by yesterday.

Ask your partner to help you with this. My wife is often reminding me "you're tired, do you want to go to bed"? or "You have driven a fair way how about I take over". These suggestions are gold to us because they come from an observers viewpoint knowing you are prone not to realise them yourself. That system also means you need to put your pride to one side.

As sufferers we must find ways to make life for us and our family and friends more joyful and to do that one of those processes is to lower your stress and anxiety by balancing your workload on projects and avoiding tiredness by getting lots of sleep.


6 Replies 6

Summer Rose
Blue Voices Member
Blue Voices Member

Hi White Knight

I really appreciated your post.

What struck me most was the honest understanding of the impact a person’s mental ill health can have on loved ones, and the need to take some responsibility to lessen the potential negative impact where possible.

My adult daughter has a mental health condition, which is often exacerbated by fatigue. She is travelling well at present and enjoys a very active social life.

However, when she over does it and doesn’t get adequate rest, her health deteriorates. And I am left to pick up the pieces.

I’m not complaining, I love her to pieces, just patiently waiting for her to develop greater insight.

Your words validated my situation and gave me hope at the same time. Thank you.

Kind thoughts to you

Community Champion
Community Champion

White knight

Thanks for your understanding thread.
I have always told family and friends that the major factor in me staying well is not be too tired.

I have had comments over the years from loved ones like

what are you sleazy do tired, yiu have no reason to be tired , which makes me feel guilty,.

When I was working 7 days a week there was some knowledgement I worked hard but I did get all you do is read books all day!

so for me it is not be recognising I need to rest and not do too much itbis explaining to others.

Thanks for another helpful thread.


"You have no reason to be tired"

So really, we have two forces working against us- as summer rose pointed out, lack of insight (which she rightly said was a developmental/maturity process) and naivety of those around us as to us needing more sleep than "normal".

Unfortunately most of us lack the confidence to reject others "one liners" that can squash any stability we have at the time.

It's a lonely world sometimes don't you think?


Hi Tony

I think when you said “naivety of those around us as to us needing more sleep than "normal", you hit a really important point.

When my daughter first fell ill, she was a highly active young teen. Three sporting teams, music lessons, lots of friends and community service.

I clearly remember a mental health professional telling me upon diagnosis of OCD that she would no longer be able “to do it all”. I actually didn’t understand why. I learned fast.

I then faced the challenge of educating school teachers. My daughter carries that burden now at her university. She constantly grapples with how to explain this to bosses, friends and partners.

It is most certainly a very real and not well understood issue.

Kind thoughts to you

Hi Summer Rose

I have a default attitude to those that dont/wont understand our different needs.

See, people that dont understand is at such a high percentage of our population we have to accept that it is more "normal" to not understand an invisible illness than to not. Therefore we should try to accept that we cannot expect them to get a grip on our issues.

However, empathy is another thing to not understanding mental illness. If we were working in a factory and a fellow new employee from Kenya arrived to begin working and at the lunch table we all started talking. If he explained his struggles in Africa to just have enough food, or not enough and the harsh conditions and gangs looting etc. Out of say 10 other colleagues how many would try to understand?

Some would switch off as it isnt a topic they normally talk about so they are not interested. A couple would ask a few questions then also switch off, one or two would have empathy and extend their interest by asking many questions. One might acknowledge his struggle as a new Australian and offer to donate some furniture on the weekend to help him and his family.

Back to your daughter. Even teachers can be naive to the needs of those with mental illness. In fact my daughter has bipolar like me and as a teenager she struggled with staying awake at school. She tried explaining it to one teacher that took the matter further. Once I arrived to take on the topic I asked the teacher "what knowledge do you have on mental illness when one is on medication"? The reply I got stunned me..."I dont have such knowledge but I treat all of my students the same"...... Like hello! is anybody home???

I knew immediately that it was pointless pursuing any further conversation with that teacher and took up the matter with the principle where I got all the understanding my daughter was overdue for. However, I then approached the original teacher a few days later and suggested to her that she not feel bad about the incident, that it is quite ok the make an error of judgement and I "hoped she would treat all students as individuals with individual needs". She was good about it but only because her boss instructed her how to change her techniques.

I suppose this demonstrates the road to take in schools even workplaces...find your niche of people that have empathy or try to understand then build up from there.


Hi Tony

I'm really glad you were able to help your daughter when needed. I have done the same, many times, as I'm sure countless others have too.

Take care