I’m tired all the time.
If you want to know the truth, it stopped being “tired” years, maybe decades ago.
I’m fatigued. Chronically.
There is a difference between tiredness and fatigue and people with auto immune diseases can tell you what it is.
Someone who is tired can generally cure it by getting a good night’s sleep or a few day’s rest.
Fatigue is not so easily fixed.
Years of dedicated rest may or may not make a dent.
Simply, our batteries don’t recharge all the way and we have no real idea when our energy will run out.
Add sleep disturbances to this mix and “catching up on rest” is a lot harder than healthy people understand.
There are few things I am more envious of than watching someone easily fall asleep and stay asleep, except when that person wakes up full of energy and raring to go.
My family knows not to call me before 11 a.m. at the earliest and to tread easy when they do. On the flip side, my best friend knows she can call about 1 a.m. and find me rattling around the house and watching Adult Swim on Cartoon Network.
I have used medications to sleep since I got my first diagnosis 40 years ago. Without those, I doze, that first edge of sleep where you can still hear the TV or conversations. If it goes deeper, it’s never more than five minutes.
I really wish that was a joke.
It gets dangerous when your body has to sleep. Believe me, you go enough time without deeper sleep and your body will make sure you get it. You will fall asleep in inconvenient places and at awkward times.
My fatigue was so out of control before I left my job that I could not stay awake more than 30 minutes at a stretch. I could not drive or carry on much of a conversation. My short term memory was toast.
I would fall asleep while writing. It was bad and I knew it but I wouldn’t give myself permission to collapse.
My doctor gave it to me.
I was barely conscious when my mother died about six weeks after I left my job. I remember my husband getting me to the hospital after she was gone, and I remember falling asleep while arrangements were being made.
I’m not proud of that.
I was pretty much out of touch with everything for a full year after I quit my job. I didn’t even feel like writing for well over two years.
These days, I can do things for maybe three days in a row before I have to have a day or so to do nothing but lie around and let my body recharge as much as it can. I love my empty days now, coveting them.
And yes, I’m still tired.