For me, the worst part of my Fibromyalgia is the chronic fatigue, but the most exhausting part is having to constantly having to explain to people why I’m always tired. Trying to describe to them what life is like with not only chronic pain, but also the constant exhaustion that comes along with it is, quite literally, fatiguing.
As anyone with any kind of chronic illness will know, fatigue is an unwelcome side effect to pretty much any chronic condition. And it’s not just ‘feeling a bit worn out’, it is bone deep exhaustion. My limbs feel like they’re filled with lead, like my eyelids are glued shut. Every step is a monumental effort and i feel as though if I laid down, I would never get up again. Through all that, i have a flat to keep clean, a job to go to 5 days a week and a cat to take care of. I’m lucky in the fact that my conditions have not yet gotten so bad that I have to stop working, but there may come a day between now and retirement when I have to. That’s a thought that keeps me determined to keep going as long as I can before I have to take a that defeat.
The combination of my Fibro and my COPD are a match made in Hell. The pain of my Fibro causes fatigue, but my COPD intensifies that as my lungs can’t process a normal amount of oxygen. Whilst not constantly breathless (yet), my breathing is shallower than other people’s and that in turn makes the fatigue worse. During Spring and Summer I also have hayfever to contend with and as per a previous post, I spend most of my Summers hiding indoors. It’s just easier to exclude myself than have to take double my medication just to spend a few hours outside with friends.
And there in lies the crux of problem: chronic fatigue can feel so isolating. After a full day of work, I just want to go home and pass out. Most evenings I can barely manage to make a decent dinner (something that certainly doesn’t help my fatigue). I have weight i need to lose in order to help my conditions, so having to use all my spoons for work means that I have very few left for exercise. That makes my weight loss journey much slower than other people’s and I have to rely more on my food intake more than physical activity. I admit that I isolate myself more than I should, but it’s easier to just say no to everything when first asked than say yes and then have to bail at the last minute because I literally can’t keep my eyes open. I’ve lost friends because of it, although I wouldn’t call them friends seeing as they couldn’t understand what it’s like to have chronic health conditions. But, I can’t blame them. There’s only so long you can keep hearing no from someone or being bailed on before you just stop asking.
I would just like people to understand that when I say I’m tired, I don’t mean I should have gone to bed earlier last night. What I mean is that I can barely put one foot in front of the other, my arms feel as though they’re trapped in cement, and I feel that I’m going to keel over any moment and sleep for 1000 years.