What I Really Mean When I Say 'I'm Tired'
Last updated: February 2023
I was talking to a friend last night, and when she asked me how I was, I answered with my usual reply; “I’m good, just really tired.” It made me realize how often I say that. I mean, it’s my usual reply for when anyone asks me how I’m doing. It’s my everyday life, this whole being tired thing. It’s become something I say without even thinking, because it’s just always looming there in the back of my mind. It’s not a matter of lack of sleep, laziness, or anything of that sort. I try to do everything in my power to stay ahead of it, but one false move and it takes me down. HARD. While reading the other night, I came across this quote, and it explained the fatigue so accurately for me: “The only thing she consistently felt was the exhaustion. It was like a weight in the center of her bones, pulling down on her. The heaviness consumed her.”
Fatigue has been my biggest demon
Fatigue has been my biggest demon since being diagnosed in 2004. And, one of the most difficult things for me to explain to others is my level of fatigue. I know others relate to this miserable feeling, and I understand the frustration of telling someone you’re exhausted. I feel my friends and loved ones do their best to understand, but it's not one of those things you can just easily explain. Most days when people ask how I feel, I want to just blurt out, “Oh I feel like I’ve been hit by a dump truck, have the worst hangover of my life, and have the flu. And all of those things are simultaneously fighting against each other, making my mind and body feel like a complete wreck,” but since that seems a little intense, I just simply reply with, “I’m good, but I’m tired today.”
I don’t expect others to understand my MS fatigue
When I say I’m tired, no offense, but unless you have chronic fatigue, MS, or something along those lines, I don’t expect you to fully understand. I know others may feel like they can relate when I say I’m tired, but it's not quite the same. The fatigue we deal with isn’t the same as being tired. And even to say I’m exhausted doesn’t do it justice. Like that quote said, my fatigue and exhaustion consumes me. It does weigh me down from the center of my being. The only thing I can think to relate it to is, it’s like I’m sinking in quicksand. The weight of it is pulling me down, and some days it’s all I can do to keep my head from going under. Every attempt to function properly is altered by the heaviness. Every move and every thought takes effort and the little bit of strength that I have left.
What does MS fatigue feel like?
Physically, it feels like I’m being weighed down by the vicious pulling of the sand. It's of substantial strength and it hurts, and I have to fight the pressure to keep from sinking. Not every day is like that, but after an emotionally stressful last few weeks, I’m feeling the weight of my fatigue in full force. It’s a daily battle to get out of bed, and no matter how strong I think I am, each attempt to do something is met with resistance. The fatigue is something I have to maneuver through to complete whatever it is I’m attempting to do. It’s on these days that every bit of energy I have is used to complete simple everyday tasks, and by the end of the day, I feel spent and don’t have much left to give.
Fatigue is like quicksand
Again, it’s like the quicksand. I know you probably haven’t ever personally dealt with quicksand (or at least I hope not), but you’ve probably seen it in scenes of a movie or TV show. Someone ends up wandering through the desert or the jungle, and they come upon this sneaky sand that easily blends into their surroundings. They aren’t expecting it, so when they come upon it, it quickly tries to swallow them whole. They fight their hardest to try and step out, but it’s not that simple. You can’t just simply walk away from it. The fighting and resistance makes it worse until they have no choice but to succumb to it. The best thing I’ve been able to learn is how to function with the fatigue the best ways that I know how. I try to fight it, but most days I just go with it, because that’s the only way I know how. Some days are easier while some are harder. I despise it, and I long to be free of it, but like the quicksand, I can’t just walk away. I’m stuck.
MS is exhausting
I needed to vent on my fatigue today, because it’s been, well, exhausting. Some days I find peace in knowing that I don’t go through this alone and someone can relate. Every time I go through these episodes of severe fatigue I long for the moment it will end, so I can go back to my sort of normal. So, now I want to leave it to you…does your fatigue tend to swallow you whole for months, like mine does me? What do you do to beat it?
Have any of the following helped to reduce your pain? Select all that apply.