Depression is a very real thing and many people suffer from it. Many people with chronic conditions suffer from it. Depression on its own can be a chronic condition. I am not minimizing the importance of being evaluated and treated for depression.
However, I am not depressed. What I have are bouts of unrelenting fatigue and fatigue is one of the most maddening symptoms of my disease. The kind of fatigue I sometimes feel can be very hard to describe. It feels like every muscle is weighted down by cement. It feels like trying to run a marathon through waist high mud. It feels like being smothered in a thousand wet blankets.
While fatigue is often a very common symptom of depression, fatigue is also a very common symptom for a multitude of other health issues too and should not automatically be chalked up to depression.
When I am fatigued, my brain sometimes feels disconnected from my body. I might want to move but I can’t or if I do, it’s in slow motion. Sometimes I am also in pain but a lot of times it is just that my muscles are too thick and it becomes burdensome to make the effort. And, when my body is empty of all energy, my brain also moves like a sloth. Thoughts do not come easily, words are mixed up or forgotten. My brain and my body are engulfed in a hazy, dense, sticky, fog.
To survive my fatigue, I have to be mentally strong. I have to be patient. I have to wait it out. Rest might help some, but a nap doesn’t fix this type of exhaustion. It comes and goes at will. Sometimes it is predictable. I will always experience it if or when I over do it. Other times, it just comes on out of nowhere and blindsides me.
Sure, there are things I do to combat it. I eat a healthy diet. I avoid processed foods, sugary foods and caffeine. I stay hydrated. I exercise. I walk most days. I make sure I get enough sleep. I listen to what my body needs. Fatigue is just part of my disease. One of many symptoms I have to live with.
But despite how frustrating my fatigue is physically, what frustrates me more, are the stupid things people say to me about it and the way I know I am sometimes judged for it. If you’ve not experienced the kind of body stopping, mind blowing fatigue I am talking about, then you cannot possibly begin to understand it. So don’t tell me to go take a nap and I’ll feel a lot better. And, please don’t automatically mistake what I experience for depression.
Don’t judge me for it and don’t assume you have any idea what I am going through because if you have not felt this type of exhaustion, you have no right to assume you know better than I do how to handle it.
Sometimes fatigue is just fatigue.
4 thoughts on “A Nap Won’t Fix It And I’m Not Depressed”
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OMG!! This is so RIGHT on! For some time I have been “you” where the fatigue is concerned! My family has been so down on me for always being tired, they all have suggestions, ie, doctors, iron, supplements, excersies etc. Now that I have been diagnosed I have been vindicated! Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!
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This blog post seemed to help a lot of people with helping their families understand what it’s like to have this disease
Read it and if you think sharing it with your family would help them feel free to share it.