Dealing with Chronic Fatigue
There are times in our lives or my life when I hit a brick wall, that wall consists of headaches, feeling dizzy and an overwhelming need to sleep.
For me it is something that I live with and deal with on a daily basis, this thing is chronic fatigue. With Autumn arriving and winter in close pursuit then sometimes these symptoms get worse.
How many of you suffer from this?
Fatigue has been an uphill battle for years. I think I am over it and then boom it hits me. I have spent the last year having many tests to get to the bottom of things and find out what is wrong with me and my never-ending need to hit the hay and sleep my life away.
What is Chronic Fatigue?
Chronic Fatigue can cause persistent fatigue (exhaustion), not to be confused with CFS (or ME as it’s more commonly known). CF can affect everyday life for some of us and it doesn’t go away with sleep or rest. My battle with chronic fatigue always impacts my life daily.
Chronic fatigue may be a serious issue for some and can impact life daily for those who have auto-immune illnesses such as IBD.
My battle with Chronic Fatigue
I never quite know when the fatigue is going to hit me. I can have a run of a week, maybe two weeks and feel ok and then just get hit by the brick wall that is Chronic Fatigue.
It’s been a struggle with being constantly tired and losing any gumption to complete everyday tasks when I’m having a bad week or month, due to these ongoing symptoms.
My way of describing this would be the lights are on but my body is in control and not me, My brain still works but my body doesn’t want to play ball. When simple things like eating or taking a shower tire me out all I want to do is go back to bed. Or the fact my brain feels fuzzy and I can’t get the correct words out in general conversation, or the fact I get confused and have to write down simple things and keep a calendar to hand for important dates or meetings so I don’t forget things.
I also have a tendency to lose my temper after the 4th or 5th night of next to no sleep. So I apologise profusely to the two that live with me as I can get pretty short in general with my responses and general attitude.
Constant fatigue isn’t just lack of sleep it’s a constant feeling of overwhelming tiredness that doesn’t just go away after a few good night’s sleep. I have those nights when I’m beyond exhausted but the medication you’re taking doesn’t let you sleep because my brain gives me the proverbial middle finger and sits there laughing at me.
Chronic fatigue as a whole is a complete bugger, it always happens when I don’t want it too. I’ve had to cancel plans even though I really want to go. It’s affected my work life as well.
I have an alarm set for 14:50 pm every day. I’ve been that fatigued I can crash out for hours at a time and being a single mum for a considerable amount of time everything is my responsibility and I don’t have many to rely on. It’s a running joke with my family over what they call the wake-up alarm but I can’t ever miss the school run.
Chronic fatigue is difficult to explain and we all feel differently as to how it affects us.
Quotes from other spoonies as to how it feels to them:
- – “It feels like I’m in a constant phase of feeling hungover. The feelings occasionally ease. During flares or after surgery is always worse for me.”
- – “I would honestly say it’s the hardest symptom to deal with. I have an extremely high pain threshold (freakily so at times), but that’s harder to deal with when I’m constantly fatigued.”
- – “It’s like having the life sucked out of you. I feel ok one minute and then bang! I feel the energy draining away like the air being let out of a beach ball. After that, I just want to sleep but it’s not always possible so I fight on and the fatigue gives a good fight back. It’s hard. And to tell your family or friends that you are tired gets to the stage that you start thinking “do they think I’m making excuses?” I’m not, it’s true, I am genuinely knackered. And there is nothing I can do about it. Wish I could.”
Chronic Fatigue is always in the background for me. It’s an opportunistic little sod and picks its moments at the worst possible times. I’ve found ways to push through the barrier at times and have listed these below.
5 top tips that help me with the symptoms of fatigue:
- Diet – Eating the right things helps me in some ways
- Exercise – I do this later in the day as I find the endorphins help perk me up
- Music – I always have my Spotify on and my headphones plugged in
- Dance – The best way for me is to sometimes just to try and dance it off
- Naps – If I feel the need to nap then I do so. Don’t feel bad about it as it’s needed. I still have a guilt complex for this as I feel lazy (the joys of working from home)
Chronic fatigue does not mean we are lazy, we should not have that guilt complex about the overwhelming need to sleep.
Take each step as it comes, it does pass.
Many thanks for reading
This blog post is intended to give advice to ostomates. The information given is based on Louise’s personal experience and should not be taken as clinical advice. Each ostomates needs are unique to them and their stoma care routine. Please consult with your Stoma Care Nurse before undertaking any changes to your stoma care routine or if you are experiencing any health issues.