I took a little holiday hiatus, and I must say it was good for me. Tonight my brain started rolling again, and boy did it roll, and roll, and roll. 

Julie Mills and the people she loves. L to R: Husband Jake, Julie, Dad Dan and Mom Callie

I’ve been thinking a lot about the passage of time. It’s constant. And with every second comes something new. Every day brings a new experience. Every week a new memory. Every month a new habit. Every year… Well. Every year brings the same days — but every year could never be more different. It’s strange. But it’s true. 

Time is a strange phenomenon because even though it’s constant it feels as though it goes faster and faster. As though Thanksgiving was here two weeks ago and Christmas just yesterday. But now the new semester is here and the New Year and the goals and the changes. And time continues to tick as I’m writing this, and I know it doesn’t seem like much, but I’m thankful for the time. I’m thankful for the time that it gives me to write to whoever wants to read. The time it gives me to spend time with my husband, to laugh, to learn, to play music, to relax, to get stronger. 

Do you ever feel like there are moments where time slows down? Where no amount of power can get you to move? Where the exhaustion is the darkest forest lined with the deepest fog? Those moments where your body is so enshrouded that your mind clouds over too? Fatigue is the demon of time. Chronic fatigue is the ever present monster for those living with chronic pain. 

I’ve lived there. Deeper than I ever thought I would be to be honest with you. I’ve been in bed for days. Nothing has been powerful enough to drive me out. Nothing strong enough it has seemed. Fatigue takes its hold like Superman’s hands with no kryptonite in sight. But people don’t understand the hold that it takes. You may have slept ten hours the night before but you wake up and going back to sleep is all you have the power to do because all your energy is gone. Zapped. Non existent. There is no reason, no explanation. There is nothing more frustrating that that. 

However, when the fatigue reaches its peak, the monster plants a seed for the depression to wreak its havoc. Your desire to stay in bed turns into a desire to retreat from others completely. To pull away. It’s horrifying. But it’s a reality. It’s a mad reality. A reality I saw in myself. In 2013, and again in 2014. 

…I have seen those depths. But I am not going back.

My body has been dragging today. I’ve had so much vigor for this new semester but this morning my aching body just said no. I however said yes. I slept a little later than planned, but I shoved myself out of bed at 7:00am and I worked myself through exercises, and I ate a healthy breakfast, and I started my homework, and I grocery shopped, and I did more homework, and I ate a healthy lunch, and I went to class, and I ate dinner, and I prepared tomorrow’s meals because of work, and I just keep pushing even though my bed is calling at 7:30pm. And that’s what I am going to keep doing this year. It’s the fatigue fighting fifteen, because I’m done giving in. I’m done crawling back into bed because I feel powerless. I’m done saying yes to those rogues who say I can’t. 

Because I can. 

I want you to do it with me. 

We aren’t saying no to power naps. We aren’t saying no to rest. We aren’t saying no to good mental health. We are saying good bye to that brute. 

We are going to eat healthier. Get our exercises in. Say yes to 20-45 minute afternoon snoozes. Get moving. Talk to more people. Smile more. Stay out of the bedroom (the bed taunts me). Keep the blinds open. Listen to music. Read good books. Go for walks. And surround ourselves with the ones we love. And when the flares do hit, we’ll find our way to make it through them, but we’ll keep fighting. 

It isn’t going to be easy. I’ve spent a lot of time with the big F word (Fatigue) the last two years. But I’m tired of my time soaring by not being spent doing the things that I love. I’m tired of giving in to a nap and waking up three hours later still wanting to sleep. I’m tired of having zero motivation. I’m tired of the accompanying bouts of depression that sneak up on me and pounce like tigers in the night. I’m tired of my rheumatoid flare-ups being worse because of the fatigue. It’s a no-win situation. 

Time is time. It’s constant. I don’t want my time to slow down. I don’t want it to speed up. I want my time to be reveled in, and spent with the ones that I love. I want to learn, every ounce that I can while I’m here at college. I want to soak in every bit of my world religions class. I want to absorb my drugs of use and abuse lectures. I want to devour the studies of epidemiology. I want to be prepared to hike 21 miles through a slot canyon this summer. I want to be ready to fish every weekend with my husband. I want to have the energy to skip through the park with my nieces and nephews, and to enjoy the heat of the sun. I want to be in the moment. It’s 2015. It’s the fatigue fighting fifteen. And I am ready. 

No more. 

It’s over. 

FFF. 

Fatigue. You’ve met your match.