When I am depressed I sleep a lot. Or more accurately I try to sleep a lot but it mostly involves just lying there. Or I sleep the day away and am plagued by insomnia at night.

‘Fatigue’ is often listed as a symptom of depression and it is; but in many ways it goes much deeper. It’s often avoidance, a coping stragegy. It’s a way of coping when being awake and in the world just becomes too painful.

Depression is exhausting to boot. The CBT leaflet I got sent the other day tells me to get out and do things and the usual stuff. The trouble is it offers little advice on how to cope with the mental (and phsyical) result of what I can only describe as a  ‘burn out’ resulting from ‘distracting’ yourself. Yes going out to see friends and doing stuff does help, but it’s only ever a sticking plaster, it doesn’t make depression go away; it just allows you to escape for a bit.

And that is essentially what that advice is, distraction and escapsim. Perhaps it works well for some people but at the very best getting out there and doing things is only ever a distraction for me; the depression always catches up with me. Sometimes it’s not even distraction; it’s just a big fat reminder of how shitty I feel and how utterly draining it is to ‘act normal’ for a few hours when all you want to do is curl up in a heap and cry. Trying to be sociable whilst desperately trying to force ideas of suicide and hoplessness out of your mind is draining; when you’re in that situation you can never really relax as it’s a constant, conscious effort to ‘ignore’ such thoughts. It’s all fucking exhasuting really.

And we have come to another reason why I found CBT unhelpful and I didn’t even start out intending to have a bitch about it. Maybe I need therapy to get over therapy?




  1. I agree with your notion that distraction and escapism doesn’t always help everyone. Sometimes mental illness is so debilitating that no matter how many times you tell yourself that things will get better, they don’t.

    Also, if you depression is leaving you so lethargic, it takes all your energy to do the most mundane tasks, much less having to distract yourself by performing activities. I think in therapy, when a client says they aren’t seeing the progress they should, the therapist should listen. Maybe meds are the way to finally break through and regain some progress in therapy. Maybe it’s finding another therapist who adheres to a different theoretical orientation and doesn’t rely purely on CBT.

    Whatever the case may be, I hope you can muster the strength to just take things one day at a time and eventually find that something that gives you that extra boost to carry through.


  2. I know that experience. Laying there, not sleeping…being depressed.

  3. I found CBT unhelpful for such things as well and for the same reasons. To be frank – it offended me, hurt my spirit and made me even more tired than I already was. It often resulted in physical illness whenever I was finally exhausted from the great effort it took from me to pretend. It seems cruel now that someone who is very sad is expected to get up and act normal with their very last bit of energy when all they may want is a cry and someone to love them and listen to them about how they really feel.

Feel free to comment, I do love a good debate

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