I would like to talk about fatigue. Don’t you ever get tired of being tired? Don’t you ever get tired of pretending that you’re not tired?
Before I go any further, isn’t the word tired a strange word? I picture a person with tires on top of them or standing in the middle of the holes of a few of them. Never mind. Sigh.
I’m tired; I guess you already know that. The fatigue of Multiple Sclerosis is not at all like being tired as most of the other folks know it as. You know, the kind of tired that comes after a hard day at work, or after some exercise, then again, maybe not getting enough sleep. There are some similarities, grant you, but this is different and it’s very difficult to explain to someone who has not experienced it.
The only way I can talk about this is to explain my type of fatigue because I’m sure it’s a bit different for everyone else.
My fatigue, I think, begins in my head where just the thought of thinking something through to solve any every day problem is exhausting before it even comes to fruition. The thought of it is exhausting. The thought of anything other than nothing is exhausting. It’s as though you want to just merge into the wall and hope no one notices you there because you don’t want to be acknowledged. That would entail thinking and a response. That’s just too much work.
I know for some it’s a fatigue the makes them take to their beds, but not me. I probably should take to my bed, but I just can’t. There is something unforgiving in me that would look down upon me if I did that. Shame on me because I need to give myself a break now and then.
Just a sec. I have to let the dogs in.
Okay, where was I? For me fatigue somehow comes out as apathy. I just don’t care about anything or anyone including myself. I don’t want to do for anyone or myself. I don’t want to comb my hair, brush my teeth, get dressed, cook or anything other such nonsense. I don’t want to do anything. But it’s not simply that I don’t want to; it’s that because I am so fatigued that any chance of getting a smile out of me is moot. May as well not even try.
Walking? Forget about it! I feel heavy as though I’m walking against the tides of the ocean. It’s as though anything I do is counteracted by opposing forces. So if I want or need to lift up my arm, there is a dead weight sitting on it so that I can barely do it. I may get halfway up there and then my arm just wants to drop.
My head feels too heavy for my neck to hold up. I can’t sit up for long because that’s too much effort. I want to do the dishes or whatever and then my mind shuts down with the thought of it. Well you get the idea.
NO. ABSOLUTELY NOT! THERE IS NOTHING WE CAN DO ABOUT IT! I get so tired of people saying things like, “why don’t you take a nap when you feel like that?” Or, “I know what you mean.” They don’t know, do they? Unless they have MS or another disease with symptoms of the same variety, they can’t possibly understand.
Then there are those who think of it as laziness. I’ve not had that happen to me but I’ve heard that from friends of mine with MS. That’s not true, but they won’t understand so you may as well not even begin to try to explain it to them. Those are the types of folks that have a mind set and there is no changing it.
For me it’s not a need for sleep. It is a need for nothingness. I just want to be. I don’t want to be a “someone”. That entails having responsibilities, places to be people to talk to or nurture. Those are the days when it’s all I can do to walk out of my bedroom. If left alone, I would probably just sit there all day staring at nothing and thinking of nothing. It almost sounds catatonic.
I wish you would respond and tell me how fatigue affects you. I’m interested in finding out. You know I always talk about enabling myself to work through things from a different angle thereby making them work for me. This isn’t one I can do anything about. It’s internalized and then externalizes.
Well, I hope you are all healthy as can be and not too fatigued. If you are, write me a note and tell me about it, that is; when you get over this period and one never knows how long that will be do we?