Each day, I wake up, and I begin a maze. I start out navigating through the maze pretty confidently. I feel like I can make it to the end without incident. It isn’t until I’m in the middle of it that I begin to lose sight of the end. I’m stuck in a rough place, and I start to try to find my way out, but each place that I turn, I hit another wall. I keep trying to get through it, but I begin to feel the walls closing in on me until it's too much. I’m so exhausted trying to keep up that I feel defeated, and I just want to cry. It seems impossible to find my way out.
When the MS afternoon fatigue hits
I wasn’t really just speaking about a maze; instead, I was speaking about what it’s like living with debilitating fatigue every day. I do wake up each day ready for the day ahead of me. I’m tired, yes, but it’s nothing I can’t handle yet. Each day, I wake thinking maybe today is the day that it won’t hit me as hard. Then the middle of the day comes. For me, this is around one or two o’clock in the afternoon. It hits hard, and it hits fast. It’s a wall of fatigue and exhaustion that only those with MS can understand. I hate that I know what it feels like to be so tired that I cry. It begins to feel impossible to get up and finish the rest of the day. Once that fatigue hits, you know that there’s no turning back. There is no amount of caffeine in the world that could even think of touching this amount of exhaustion.
The fatigue is always there
When I get this tired, I imagine myself like in an old-timey cartoon. I picture that there is a hook on the bottom of each eyelid and attached to these hooks are large weights that are dragging the ground. The bags under my eyes feel that heavy. It takes extra effort to get up and just walk to the next room. I could sleep twenty-four hours straight, and this fatigue would still hit me like a wall of bricks at the same time every day. Some days it's better and not as intense, but if I’m honest with myself, it’s always there. Some months, it’s every day, and then I can go weeks before I know that the next month will be full of fatigue. I’ve compared it to quicksand before, but lately, it’s felt more like a maze - the most challenging maze possible.
I've tried what feels like everything
People know how terrible the flu is; well, try living with the fatigue that comes with the flu every single day. I don’t think there is any perfect way to combat MS fatigue fully. I’ve tried what feels like everything. I’ve been on medication, I’ve changed my diet and exercise, and I’ve attempted to rest as much as possible. It doesn’t matter what I do, the fatigue still persists. Sometimes things like medication help it ease up a little bit, and diet and exercise have helped give me a tad more energy, but overall, this fatigue just can’t be beaten. It comes in full force when it wants to, and nothing seems to touch it.
I keep pushing
I’m actually writing this at just before two in the afternoon, and as I write, the fatigue is hitting me. I’m fighting to keep my eyes open. If I had it my way right now, I would lay down and go to sleep. But, if you’re like me, that’s not always an option. So, we keep going. We keep trying to find the end of that dreaded maze. Fatigue is my most difficult symptom. It can make life much more difficult than it should be, but I keep pushing. It’s a struggle, but I use my inner strength to make my way out of that maze each day I come to it.
What are your tips and tricks to combat fatigue with MS? I would love to know.
May is Mental Health Awareness Month. We want to check in. How are you feeling?