Fatigue within chronic illness is a major stumbling block for me at the moment. No matter how much rest I seem to get, the urge to snooze for Scotland still comes over me and it's utterly relentless.Waking up in the morning I never feel ‘awake’. I know that isn’t a particularly surprising statement, it’s a pretty normal occurrence for everyone to feel decidedly less than joyous when the alarm goes off.
But I’m talking about waking up feeling like I’ve only just lay my head on the pillow the night before. It’s annoying and frustrating and is hard not to shake off – and that’s just me opening my eyes.
Lately I’ve developed an intense hatred for a wee bird who lives in the tree outside our bedroom window. Purely because he is LOUD and sound so HAPPY to be wide awake at 5.30 in the morning. It’s not natural to want to locate the nearest utensil to throw from a window at an unsuspecting twitterer before your eyes have barely opened. You eat worms mate, what have you got to be so perky about?
After dragging myself to work whilst attempting to remain awake on my bus journey, I manage around 3-4hrs work before the tedium strikes again. Then when midday comes around I consistently think ‘Lunch will perk me up!’ – It never does. In fact it only serves to make me even sleepier. The need for 40winks is almost unbearable at this point. There is nowt I can do about it either – I don’t have a car to nap in or the chance to nip home as my home is a 50 minute bus journey away. (Plus I only have an hour’s lunch break – that just wouldn’t be do-able – believe me I’ve considered it). The next few hours until my shift is over are a struggle. Add to the constant fatigue the pain or nausea that comes with whatever I’ve dared to eat for lunch, it’s a tricky tightrope to walk.When that glorious moment arrives and my work day is over, I get that same lovely bus back home. This is where the fun really begins. How much time have I lost from dozing off on my journey? How many times have I fallen asleep? Did anyone see me drooling? Am I now 12 stops beyond my house?
It’s the trip home where my skills at keeping my eyes open when my whole body is telling to do otherwise really come into their own.
Every day in life I tell myself I’ll nap when I get home. It never happens. I get home eventually around 7ish – then chat to my partner then have dinner then it’s almost bedtime anyway so ‘what’s the point?’ I don’t want to spend my life waiting to go to bed.
The thing is, even if I was blessed with the ability to work from home, or I had a shift that finished midday, I still don’t think I’d take the opportunity to nap. I would feel like I was wasting time or that there was something else needed doing. Have you seen the state of the grout on my bathroom tiles for a start? Don’t answer that.
Fatigue is a common symptom of Crohn’s and most chronic illnesses. It’s very hard to deal with as it also affects your mood – I find myself irritable and snappy when I haven’t had enough sleep (so that’s all the time I hear you cry). I find myself getting regular headaches and sometimes even nauseous when I’m tired. There is no simple fix for this either, many Crohnie’s find vitamins, changes to diet and/or sleeping patterns helpful but in most cases it’s just a cross to bear along with everything else.Trying to get as much rest as possible does tend to help – even if you like me, can’t nap, at least make sure you are being lazy and putting your feet up. Take it easy when you can and if sleep wants to take over and you are not in charge of a vehicle, crossing the road or carrying a small child then let it.
I feel it’s soft duck-down pillow grip on me now….zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz