Tiredness is something we all suffer from at times. It is due to doing to much, stress or feeling under the weather. However chronic tiredness and fatigue is rarely talked about in wider terms you only seem to hear about Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS).
There is another side to Chronic tiredness and fatigue that is not often talked about and that is the tiredness associated with diseases, medical conditions and medication. I was recently at a conference for Arthritis UK and the one thing they said that made my ears prick up was the lack of research into the fatigue associated with Arthritis and that they want to research this aspect of the disease.
At last I thought some interest and recognition of how debilitating and frustrating chronic tiredness and fatigue is for those people who suffer with it. When I talk to friends, family and my students so many people experience this problem. For those of us who suffer with chronic fatigue and being tired all the time there is a lack of understanding of the problem.
I find it very hard to explain to people what it means to suffer with this problem. Most understand being tired, but the black fog of chronic tiredness is a nightmare to try and explain. That feeling of leaden feet, the sheer effort of putting one foot in front of the other while you struggle to find words and concentrate, the effort to get out of bed after a night’s sleep because you still feel tired are to name but a few of the symptoms. The best analogy that I use to try and explain chronic fatigue is like having the tiredness of flu with you constantly.
Many medications can cause drowsiness so if you already have Chronic fatigue this just adds to the problem. The drowsiness and tiredness from medication is often overlooked and not addressed. This is something that health professional appear to avoid when they ask you to try a new medication. There seems to be little recognition of the impact this can cause. I have seen people on pain killers and anti depressants who are so dopy that they can hardly function.
So many medical conditions have the symptom of being over tired and once the condition is treated the tiredness does not always go. This can be a huge frustration after diagnosis that the tiredness remains. For those of us who suffer with fatigue it can be hard to live with on a day to day basis.
When I have been given advice on managing chronic fatigue I have always been told not to bust and boom and to do so much each day and take into account the fatigue that I suffer from. On days you feel tired do what you can and no more. Be measured in your activities and avoid stress and eat a healthy diet.
HELLO !!!!! In the real world things happen that you have to deal with. Life happens and things need to be done, sorted out and addressed. It is all very well when health professionals sit in their ivory towers handing out advice. In the real world as a patient who has fatigue you have to live your life. Stressful things happen and life and situations get in the way. It is impossible to avoid happenings and not engage with life.
Over the years I have learnt to handle this tiredness in my own way. Instead of making an enemy of I have tried to tame it and live my life the best I can. Stress is the thing that causes flares of my condition and obviously increase tiredness. Stress can come from good and bad things it is a part of life. There are also times when I have to be more active and so the kick back is I get more tired after. I have learnt that if I have to rise to the occasion and use all my energy I will have a kickback but hey that is my choice and I deal with it.
Over the years I have learn to listen to my body both physical and psychological sides. Tiredness can can show in many forms: –
- Joint pain and muscle aches
- Head aches
- Skin hives
- Out break of skin problems
- Sore throats
- Tired voice
- Dry eyes/mouth
- Drop items easily
- Lack of concentration
- Unable to find words
- Brain fog
- Low mood
- Easily irritated
- Loss of sense of humour
- Lack of motivation
- Mistakes and errors
I am sure there are many more but these are the things that I notice. One of my early signs is that I become easily irritated and my usual sense of humour vanishes into the ether. I drop things easily and become agitated over silly irrelevant things. I find it hard to think and to remember things. This has freaked me out on occasions and I have worried that I am heading for dementia.
I have learnt not to worry about the house when I am tired. If someone comes to visit tough if they want to think I can’t keep my house tidy, you know what when I am over tired I can’t it is as simple as that. I try not wind my self about what I cannot do and try to focus what I can. The voice in your head can cause you so much more stress and trauma so be realistic. Support is vital ask for help. Have some good breathable boundaries with family friends and work and most important learn to say no when you need to.
It would be easy not to take the dogs out for a walk but I do find gentle moderate exercise does help. Seems strange I know but that gentle walk with my furry friends makes a huge difference. I take them in the morning as physically it is the best time for me. I try to do the physical things in the morning as by the afternoon and evening I am tired. One thing I did three years ago was to change to an automatic car. I would never have thought it would make such a difference but it did. It does help to look at how you can help yourself and some of that is to have a good look at yourself and see what you can change.
If someone asked me what helps me the most to deal with chronic fatigue these are the things that have helped.
- Mindfulness and meditation practice (I have written a great deal in my blogs about mindfulness)
- My dogs as they help me to keep active
- An automatic Car
- Being realistic
- Asking for help when needed.
- Taking time out when needed
I hope this has helped anyone out there facing this problem or helped those not afflicted to understand. Finally try not to get irritated when some says they get tired too when you try to explain about chronic fatigue I am just glad they do not experience it.