Fatigue: extreme tiredness, typically resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness.
I haven’t been blogging or keeping up with this website, my day job, working out, or my novel writing lately. My fatigue has been debilitating. It makes it very difficult to concentrate or exert any energy or even feel motivated to do anything. I even got out of breath just trying to get dressed a few days ago.
Unfortunately fatigue is a symptom of Ankylosing Spondylitis and most chronic illnesses that people just don’t understand. People within the healthy community say things like, “Yeah I am tired today too,” or “It must be nice to take a nap.” What people who do not suffer from fatigue don’t understand is that this isn’t just being tired from not getting enough sleep the night before, or having physically exerted oneself. This is all day, every day, feeling like you have the flu, can barely even keep your eyes open for more than thirty minutes at a time, can’t stand up straight, might fall asleep at the dinner table face first into your spaghetti plate kind of tired.
I had my fatigue mostly under control until I was off my Enbrel back at the end of May. When that happened everything just went downhill. Of course, I am back on my Enbrel now, so everyone expects that I will be back to full power, but it takes time to build back up in your system, and sometimes even if you were full of energy the day before you won’t have any the next day. This of course goes back to the Spoon Theory.
The reason that fatigue is so prevalent amongst people with autoimmune disorders is because our bodies are literally attacking themselves. Our immune system has been tripped into thinking that there are bad foreign substances within our bodies that they must defend us against. Just like when you are sick, but this is when we are healthy. The immune system is attacking healthy cells and actually making us ill.
Fatigue is not in our heads. We are not being lazy. We don’t just need to get more sleep at night or take a nap to be refreshed. We wish we could wake up after a full night’s rest without being tired. Our bodies just have other ideas. Until there is a cure for whatever chronic illness we suffer, we will still have days, weeks, and months where we just can’t find the energy to accomplish what we desire to do.
Be patient with us and trust that we wish we weren’t tired all the time.
Gentle hugs and extra spoons to all my readers… XoXo