Treatment fatigue is the basically a “treatment-induced burnout” that many Spoonies experience after years of medical testing, procedures, and most notably, pills.
If you don’t have a chronic illness then you probably haven’t experienced this phenomena, but just imagine this scenario in your mind for a second:
You start your day by taking 2 pills upon waking in the morning followed by another 12 pills with breakfast. In the middle of the day you are strapped to an IV pole for an hour-long infusion of vitamins and saline.
At lunchtime, you have to down another 8 pills alongside several liquid medications. You may even have to self-administer an injection or two.
By dinner time you have another 10-20 capsules to put down the ole hatch (and don’t forget about your bedtime medications as well!)
Now imagine doing this day after day, month after month, year after year. Doesn’t that sound exhausting?
And many Spoonies take WAY more medications and supplements than I mentioned in the example above. Many people with Lyme disease may take up to 40 pills per day consisting of a mix of anti-bioitics, anti-virals, anti-parasitics, herbal remedies for detox, adrenal complexes, vitamins, minerals, meds for pain, nausea, allergies, insomnia and many more.
After reading that list, you can probably see why treatment fatigue is a thing. You are potentially spending tens of thousands of dollars (sometimes hundreds of thousands) and taking hundreds of pills every week, which is be mentally and physically wearing enough on a healthy body, much less a sick one.
Sometimes you put in all this time, money, and energy and you see little to no results. Exhausted and running low on hope, that’s when the treatment fatigue really kicks into high gear.
But with that said, here are a few tips to consider if you’re going through a major rough-patch:
1. Take a “Pill Vacation”
No, I’m not talking about jumping on a one-way flight to the Bahamas–wouldn’t that be nice–but a some time away from your regular pill schedule might be just what the doctor ordered (actually it’s probably the exact opposite of what the doctor ordered).
Consider taking a few weeks or a few months off from your non-vital pills and only take what is absolutely necessary (like mental health medication or pain meds you can’t survive without).
Sometimes you just need a break from the bombardment of supplements, tinctures, and medications that seem to go on forever.
A little break might be all you need to clear your mind and refresh body.
Once you feel motivated again, just reboot your routine and start back in!
2. Check out Alternative (pill-free) Therapies
Do some research on treatments and therapies that don’t involve taking a pill.
I’ve noticed that taking too many medications and supplements is the main cause of most cases of treatment fatigue. The nice thing is that there are plenty of pill-free therapies that may keep you moving forward.
Got pain? Consider trying lymphatic massage, pulsed electromagnetic field (PEMF) therapy, laser therapy, coffee enemas (can’t have too many of these!), or infared saunas.
Got mental health concerns? There are many non-invasive therapies for anxiety and depression these days that don’t rely on medication (but don’t stop a mental health med without your doctor’s approval, of course!). Look into neurofeedback, TMS, acupuncture, energy work, or one of the many types of talk therapy that are available.
No one ever got treatment fatigue from too many hot oil massages, so don’t be hesitant to hit pause on all the pills and seek out some alternative options until you get your mojo back.
3. Reassess your Health Road Map
It’s easy to get so caught up in the minute details of a health protocol that you forget about the “big picture.”
If you’re not getting anywhere with your current regimen, consider taking a step back and reassessing the situation. What are your long-term goals? Are you actually moving forward with the protocol you’re on right now?
Some protocols take a while to see improvement, but I think most Spoonies innately know if something is working for their body or not.
If you are making progress, then congrats! As a wise, amnesia-stricken fish once said, “just keep swimming,” because you’re headed in the right direction. Taking note of the progress you’ve made and let that motivate you for the next leg of the race.
If you are not making progress, then don’t panic. Just take inventory of everything you’re doing and see where you need to make some adjustments.
Speaking of which…
4. Consider making Big Changes
If you’ve been stuck in a rut with treatment for a long time, it may not be you or the supplements that are the issue, it might actually be that you’re working with the wrong practitioner.
Obviously, bouncing from doctor to doctor in search of that “magic pill” isn’t very productive, but if you’re getting pounded with a never-ending stream of supplements that aren’t helping, then you might want to look elsewhere for medical guidance.
I know that it can be hard to let go of a practitioner because you’ve spent so much time and money on them, they already know your medical history, it’s a pain in the butt to find a new doctor, and you may even feel a sense of loyalty to them.
However, doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result is the literal definition of insanity, and while us Spoonies might be a little bit crazy already (wink wink) we also need to realize when it’s time to move on from a doctor.
Stagnation is the enemy of healing, so listen to that inner voice when it tells you to seek out new medical care, and see where it takes you.
I hope this was helpful to Spoonies and healthies alike!
Wishing love and spoons to you all,
Em the Silver Spoonie