Not just sleepiness, but exhaustion to the point of nodding off at your desk. On the train. On the loo. In an important meeting. At the traffic lights.
Some days, I feel so tired, that I literally have to hold my eyes open and try to force my way through what looks like a fog in front of my eyes.
I can sleep 15, 16, 17 hours, and still wake up utterly shagged. And not the good type of shagged. The type of shagged where you rock up to work looking like this:
And thankfully, I am not alone. As the Endometriosis Foundation of America describes, “The main cause of endometriosis-related fatigue is the body’s effort to eliminate the diseased tissue. While the immune system attempts to combat endometriosis, cytokines, also known as inflammatory toxins, are secreted by the tissue. What patients feel to be fatigue is the result of these internal chemicals.”
Ah. So basically, my body is working over time to heal itself, and its literally shit itself into exhaustion. I once had a gyno (a rare fave of mine) describe whats constantly going on in my body, as I have nerve damage after all of my years of pain.
She said: “You know how, if you go and put your hand on a hot plate, your body automatically reacts by flinging it away, as fast as possible so as to stop it from burning you? Well, inside your body, the hotplate is on, and the hand can’t move fast enough. It just stays there, and your body is fighting extra, extra hard to lift it, but there are so many damaged nerves, that it just works itself into overdrive all the while, burning your fingers off. And that’s where a lot of your exhaustion comes from.”
The worst part about all of this, is majority of outsiders who are just trying to be helpful come up with hints and tricks, or just suggest the following to rationalize your zombie like status:
-just get a good nights sleep (you mean, on top of the rest of the 7-10 hours a night I’m getting, and yet struggling to function still?)
-maybe you shouldn’t stay up so late (ahem, I’m generally asleep by 9pm)
-eat healthy (I don’t eat Maccas on the regular. I don’t gorge myself on chips and chocolate)
-drink less alcohol (Well. *cough* I’m kind of sprung here. This, I am trying to do less of)
-get some exercise (If I could run myself into a state of having energy, I would, the only thing is, that just leads to more exhaustion in the days after).
– have a nice bath (and fall asleep)
-drink coffee (yeah, no thanks)
-do less (If I did any less, I would be a hermit)
-you can’t be that tired, its impossible, maybe you’re sleeping too much. (This is a personal favourite of mine. Walk a mile in my shoes buddy. I dare you.)
I absolutely agree, going for regular walks and getting fresh air is helpful. But there are days, when it actually takes every ounce of energy I have, to just get myself out of bed. I saw a fantastic example of what its like to live with a chronic illness, using ‘The Spoon Theory’ created by Christine Miserandino. The below image relates this to Dysautonomia, however it can be used for Endometriosis, Lupus, Diabetes etc.
If you were to calculate your spoons today, what would you have used?
For me today:
Get out of bed – 1
Get dressed – 1
Take pills – 1
Have a shower – 2
Read (attempted this, but fell asleep against the train window on the way to work) – 2
Socialize (seeing friends tonight) – 3
Go to work – 4
Go shopping – 4
Total= 18 spoons. Well, shit.
It’s not even 4:00pm! I’m already over by 6 spoons. And this, is a normal day for me. If I don’t shower for work, I may as well look like the chick in the Gif above. If I don’t take pills, I am in pain and suffer. If I don’t get out of bed, I don’t get to work, and if I don’t work, I don’t have money for medication, surgeries, LIFE.
If I don’t read, my brain goes into overdrive stressing – reading is my outlet.
If I don’t go shopping, I won’t have the basics I require like food for me, and my cat.
If I don’t socialize, my depression and anxiety skyrocket.
Where can I save my spoons? Where can I get extra spoons? See, its all a catch-22.
In all seriousness though, the next time you see me (or your buddy who is struggling with fatigue), count your lucky cutlery you don’t have to worry about spoons.
It’s just as well I like to fork.