No, It's Not Just You
Fatigue. Even the word "fatigue" is fatiguing. It makes me tired just thinking about how tired I actually am all of the time. Fatigue is a very common symptom among those with MS, but also most of the chronic illness community. Many of us have more than one chronic illness and I'm sure you've seen the common threads too. We're tired. We're tired all the time and we're tired of being tired.
So what do we do? If you're like me you've tried vitamins, and maybe injections or infusions in hopes to boost your energy. You've spend money on supplements, you drink protein shakes, you try like hell the exercise but it just makes you more tired. Sound familiar? Yea, me too. I feel like I have tried everything to to get a boost of energy but nothing seems to be working and it often leaves me feeling like "Is this just me? Why does it seem like everyone else isn't seeking out quiet places to nap while at work?"
Well that's because they aren't. I often forget that I'm sick. that my body is doing the disease dance all day and night long on the inside. Even I tell myself "But you don't look sick". In addition to MS, I also don't have a large intestine which means I don't absorb nutrients from my food. I tend to think this makes me especially fatigued and if we were playing cards, that would be my trump card. But the reality is that I'm no more tired than you are. My drowsy eyes are not unique to me. While I may be yawning more in meetings than my coworkers, I would be yawning just the same amount if I were in a room full of the chronically ill. Our lives are tiring.
When you bring in the physical aspect of what's happening in our bodies and compound that with the mental push ups that we do on a daily basis, its no wonder that we're tired. So what do we do? If you have the luxury of napping, nap. If not, you could stock up on every supplement and multivitamin they make in hopes of boosting your energy. You could get B12 injections and iron infusions. You could exercise more. You could take fish oil and just deal with the fishy burps. OR you could do this; you can stop beating yourself up because you can't keep up with everyone else. You can accept that you may never be able to have the same energy levels as your "healthy" peers and counterparts. This might mean missing out on some things because you need a nap or a rest or something, but its all about finding the happy medium in life.
Its 9.26am and I'm tired already. I woke up about 3 hours ago, and I could use a nap but I will be at work until 5pm. Around 10:30 I will get so drowsy that I could easily put my face on my keyboard for a deep enough sleep to wake up with home row imprinted on my face. I will go home, and think about exercising or going out with a friend and sometimes, I will. Most times I go home and I rest because its what my bodies needs, whether I like it or not.
Life is exhausting. Give yourself some time to rest and remember that you're not alone. We all need to take a giant nap together.
Does your employer provide workplace accommodations due to your MS?