Fatigue is a dirty little word that I absolutely loathe. If I could punch fatigue in the face I would. Out of all the shit things that MS does to you, fatigue has to be the most debilitating. You can barely explain what it feels like to be fatigued, it is so much more than just tired. You actually feel like you are trapped in a blurred bubble, an alternate universe, in unknown territory, looking out into the world and not recognising anyone or anything but you still have to get up and keep going. Daily I push my ass out of bed when all I want to do is stay in foetal position and never move. For the most part I have found coping mechanisms that help me continue with daily life and sometimes most of them don’t actually do anything to help the fatigue but I’m all about tricking my psyche to believing it’s helping – because when you believe, miracles happen. These are the ways I’ve altered my general daily routine to help me get by:
- I don’t wake up as early anymore – I used to wake at 6am and I’d find it would get to 2pm at work and I couldn’t function anymore. I’d lose the ability to string sentences together, couldn’t concentrate or put pen to paper. Now I wake at 7:30am and feel like my mornings aren’t so hard anymore which in turn makes me last longer through the work day.
- I make sure I get at least 8 hours sleep – Now even though the amount you sleep has no weight on how your chronic fatigue affects you (most of the time I sleep 8 hours, I go to bed tired and wake up exhausted) but I know if I trick my psyche to believing that I’ve done all I can by getting 8 hours sleep I’m not allowed to be tired and even if I’m still foggy I push through.
- I visit the ladies – If during work or even at a party I start to get foggy and it becomes hard to stand up or put sentences together; I go to the toilet and breathe deeply for 4 minutes. I don’t know why or how it works but it does.
- Finally, when I’m tired I’m tired!!! When I can’t go on anymore I stop trying to push through and I let my body rest. I will sleep for the whole day if I have to because I know I will be better off for it. It makes me angry that in my 20s I need to sleep half a day to be able to function but what’s the point of dwelling on what your body can’t do. I do what I can to keep me moving and the moments I can function and get up out of bed are a blessing and I make the most of it.
In closing, fatigues a bitch! You never stop learning about your own body and what works for you, so whether you have fatigue or not; finding coping mechanisms in your own life and your own situation, tricking your psyche to believing what you want it to believe can be the difference between letting your bad situation take charge of you or of YOU taking charge of your bad situation.
P.s I also forgot I drink coffee on the daily, couldn’t live without my good mate espresso. Again, does nothing but what’s better than the smell of that freshly ground coffee at your favourite cafe, especially in Melbourne 🙂