Fatigue. One of the most common, and least visible, symptoms of MS.
When I see how other people describe fatigue, they usually use a metaphor similar to the following:
‘Imagine you hadn’t slept in a week and then had to walk up 10,000 steps with a backpack full of bricks’
‘Imagine your worst hangover… and times that by a million’
Yes, fatigue is awful, but I’d like to know which poor soul has had the misfortune to be able to make this comparison. I certainly don’t know of anyone that has not only suffered fatigue, but also has had to climb Everest with a load of weight on their back!
Fatigue is like that feeling when you’re so tired that you can barely keep your eyes open, but you’re so invested in a series that you force yourself to stay awake just to finish the last episode.
This is a feeling I’m sure most of us have experienced at some point (especially since the birth of Netflix!). You’ll keep telling yourself that this is the ‘last episode’, but eventually you’ve forced yourself to stay awake for another 4 hours. With every passing episode your eyes close a little more, and your enthusiasm about the episode shrinks.
It gets to the point where your brain stops working properly.
A dull headache sort of creeps in, you know there’s only one fix: sleep. The series you were addicted to 2 hours before, you no longer care about. You’re now unable to concentrate on the television (or anything else for that matter), and you certainly don’t have the energy to get out of bed to grab some more popcorn.
And then you just drift off. No matter how exciting the episode was, or who was killed off, you just can’t do it anymore. Your body gives up and shuts off.
To me, this is what fatigue feels like.
I suppose the difference is that I could have this feeling at any point during the day with no warning. I could get ‘one more episode’ syndrome at lunch time, or even half an hour after waking up.
I’ve been learning new ways to manage fatigue. I’ve started to learn what my body can or can’t do, what situations might create fatigue, and how to pace my daily activities to avoid this.
Little changes, like separating activities into smaller chunks, asking for help from other people, and even sitting with correct posture have helped me manage my fatigue.
Oh, and taking a lot of power naps!
It’s all a learning experience, but I’m getting better at it day by day.
Experienced fatigue? How would you describe it?
How do you handle it?
Let me know in the comments below.