What Being Fatigued Really Feels Like

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by Wendy Caroline |

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covid-19, calm, healthcare

Fatigue is a challenging condition to describe. It entails being tired, but it’s so much more than that.

Fatigue is the side effect of chronic illness that haunts me the most. It can hit at any time like a ton of bricks. The worst part is that it’s all-consuming.

When I’m fatigued, I wake up tired in the morning after a full night’s sleep. I’ll drink two cups of coffee and still be half asleep. Making breakfast seems like a monumental task. I feel that I need a nap, but my brain is too busy making lists of all the things I’m too tired to do.

Fatigue gets me when my brain stops functioning because it takes too much energy to think. Brain fog grabs hold and wrings out my thoughts until all I can say is, “I’m tired.”  The word “fatigue” doesn’t fully encompass the pure and total exhaustion my mind and body experience.

It’s a difficult situation for many people to understand because they often confuse it with laziness, lack of sleep, or the tiredness one feels after too much activity. Who knew there were so many different ways of being tired?

When most people are tired, they can take a nap to feel better. They can unwind and watch Netflix to be refreshed. Being tired is something people can push through or remedy with rest.

Now imagine that you’re stuck in quicksand. The harder you fight, the quicker you sink. The same is true with fatigue — if you try to fight it, it just gets worse. Even as I write this, I struggle to keep my brain focused long enough to make it to the end of this short passage.

I’ve spent many days trapped in mental quicksand, trying to escape my own perceived laziness. What will people think if I stand still for a second in this fast-paced, hyperproductive world? How far behind will I fall while I wait for my body to catch up?

Please don’t tell me to take a nap or that I’m being lazy. Fatigue is more than just being tired. It’s all-encompassing.

» Follow my journey at “The Living, Breathing Wendy” «


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