When you say that you are tired, what do you mean?
Do you mean that you didn’t sleep well, so you might feel a bit slower this morning?
Or that your eyes are weary because you’ve been working hard and they need a rest?
You might be run down, be struggling to cope, and genuinely need a break.
Everyone can understand what it means to be tired.
But what many people don’t understand is what people with chronic conditions mean when they say that they are tired.
Tired often doesn’t mean simply “tired”. It means fatigued.
Fatigue moves past tiredness, not just because of how extreme it is (and trust me… It can be extreme), but because it isn’t solved by a nap, or rest. Sleep doesn’t cure it, nor does it always help.
I rest a lot simply because if I don’t, I get more migraines and I feel worse overall. My other symptoms flare and my fatigue is unbearable. My naps don’t make my fatigue go away, but without them, I become so overwhelmingly exhausted, it can be difficult to get out of bed some days.
And no. It’s not possible to push through it. It’s just not. I’ve tried. And if you know me and know how stubborn I can be, you know that if I could push through this, I would.
Fatigue also includes fun things like muscle aches. Think about a time when you were really, really tired. Your shoulders might have ached a bit, and you needed a good stretch because your muscles might have tensed up more than normal.
Well, when fatigue hits, the same thing happens, but worse. Plus, if you have any sort of pain disorder, it can flare up, causing worse pain.
I have a herniated disc in my cervical spine, as well as a deformity. This causes constant muscle and nerve pain in my neck, shoulders, and left arm. When I have more severe fatigue, this always gets much worse and I have more pain.
If you suffer from pain issues, you know what I’m going to say next: more pain leads to less sleep, which leads to more fatigue, and more pain, and on, and on.
My gastroparesis also has caused malnutrition, which means my body isn’t functioning properly. This causes even more fatigue.
So, you try and maintain some sort of balance in your life. Fatigue will threaten to takeover and consume every aspect of your life, until you are just a lump in the bed… but fight and remember that you have fatigue but are not fatigue. You are still you.