Just beyond the pain of fibromyalgia, fatigue is probably the biggest deterrent to life for the fibro warrior. This is not a good tired such as, after a hard day of working in the garden or boating at the lake. This tired stays with you. It’s there almost every morning when you rise, whether or not you slept during the night. It really doesn’t seem to matter how much you rest, this fatigue keeps you feeling zapped with no energy. It sticks around for afternoon tea and evening prayers.
This week, Winslow Dixon is writing to you about fatigue.
Dear Loved One,
Thank you for being concerned enough to ask me questions about my health challenges. I hope this letter will help you understand me better.
One of the most daunting parts of my chronic illness is fatigue. This fatigue is much more than being tired. It is a constant state of exhaustion that no amount of sleep can remedy. My body is so overwhelmed from pain and other symptoms that it longs for nothing but to lie down and sleep. But, because of the prior mentioned things my body cannot enter a restorative phase of rest. It becomes a vicious cycle of frustration and weariness. Sleeping becomes a frustrating effort that is not easily obtained. I always feel tired but am never able to truly rest. I am constantly struggling with fatigue to the point where even the smallest of tasks seem enormous.
Taking a Shower is Not Easy
To a normal person, a shower is just a part of their hygiene routine, but to me- it is a feat of strength. Taking a shower becomes the dreaded task of standing up in the draining heat of steamy water while forcing myself to wash my hair and my body.
Everything in my life comes with the question
“Do I have the strength to complete this?”
It requires planning beyond comprehension.
“Every event, every task, every social interaction in my life now comes with a price.”
If I do too much today, I will certainly pay for it tomorrow.
This planning comes with its own anxieties.
I always wonder, “Will I have the strength do to this?” every moment of my life. Once simple tasks have now become daily challenges. Things like driving, cooking, and walking are now seen as parasites to my tiny amount of energy. I have to constantly be vigilant of my abilities. If I push myself too far, I can end up bedridden for days or worse- hospitalized.
Understanding My Limits
Understanding my limits is essential to my wellbeing and frankly, my life itself. If I push myself too far, I pay for it. Nothing is worth landing me in the hospital. I must be constantly vigilant of my body, my strength, and my limits. This is where understanding from loved ones is essential. I know I may appear lazy, unmotivated or sloppy but nothing could be further from the truth.
I am literally fighting every day. What I used to accomplish easily is now a massive undertaking.
I know you wish you could cure my illness, but you can’t. Instead, you can still help me live the best life possible. The greatest thing you can do for me supports me anyway I need you to. Can you…
- do a load of laundry?
- prepare a meal?
- pick up some of my medication for me?
- remind me to take my medication?
- make sure I feel loved, understood and cared about?
- Read this post about “How you can help me.“
The answer is yes.
I may not always ask for your help, despite how desperately they may need it. With chronic illness, my independence and pride have been stripped away. It is very difficult for me to ask for help. How would you feel if you were suddenly too weak to get a glass of water?
This is my daily reality.
It would help me if you would offer to help, even if when I don’t ask for it. Most of the time, it is needed. I am not saying “baby” me and make me feel sick or disabled, but I am saying that when I am in need, the smallest of things can improve my quality of life.
So, loved one, I hope this helps you understand the mind of a chronically ill person battling fatigue amongst other symptoms. Life is not always good, but there are always good things in life. You may not cure me, but you can certainly help me. Thank you for caring enough to understand.
Wishing you hope, health and happiness,
Winslow E. Dixon
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started her young career in geriatrics. She specialized in Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia and worked as a resident care director/memory care coordinator. After continuing her education, studying holistic health and nutrition, she worked as a holistic health coach, aromatherapist, licensed med-tech and licensed medical thermographer.
As a holistic health consultant through her business- Against the Grains LLC, she worked with those suffering from food allergies and helped clients establish rare disease diet protocols.
Upon her diagnosis of Medullary Sponge Kidney Disorder and Addison’s Disease, she was forced to find a new purpose. Winslow is now a published author, freelance writer, and columnist. She volunteers her time as an advocate for those suffering from chronic illness through the organizations “The UnChargeables” and “Action for Adrenal Awareness.” She is also a motivational speaker and has dedicated her life to spreading hope to those who are suffering through her non-profit organization, Inspire the Fire Ministry.