So, the post today is to talk about fatigue, which is kind of appropriate considering that I’ve been drowsing / sleeping all afternoon. *sighs*
I say “fatigue” instead of “tiredness” to distinguish between the two sorts. My dictionary on the computer has a section called The Right Word under some words, and here’s what it says about the various different terms used to indicated tiredness:
THE RIGHT WORD
Tired is what you are after you’ve cleaned the house, spent two hours reading a dull report, or trained for a marathon; it means that your strength and energy are diminished, without giving any indication of degree.
Weary, on the other hand, is how you feel after you’ve had to interrupt your dinner five or six times to answer the phone. It implies not only a depletion of energy but also the vexation that accompanies having to put up with something that is, or has become, disagreeable.
Exhausted means that you are totally drained of strength and energy, a condition that may even be irreversible (: exhausted by battling a terminal disease).
Fatigued is a more precise word than either tired or weary; it implies a loss of energy through strain, illness, or overwork to the point where rest or sleep is essential (: fatigued after working a 24-hour shift).
Tuckered is an informal word that comes close in meaning to fatigued or exhausted, but often carries the suggestion of loss of breath (: tuckered out after running up six flights of stairs).
I definitely mean “fatigued”, though not in the exact sense used in the definition above. I mean fatigued as in a long-term condition (that isn’t “exhaustion” as per the definition above).
So, fatigued is how I’ve felt for the last… several months. Drained of energy, with the accompanying issues of concentration loss, lowered sensory threshold, problems with creativity, and occasional insomnia (yes, that happens when I’m fatigued. Don’t ask me why).
Usually, the most likely cause is depression. My depression isn’t the black, angry sort; nor is it the sad, just-on-the-edge-of-tears sort. It’s the grey, apathetic sort, where any emotions seem to be at a distance, and I just don’t feel like doing much at all. (Which seems to lead naturally to how I feel when I’m fatigued.)
But over the last few months, I’ve found things and people to care about. I’ve expanded my circle of connections to include some of the people who are on my blogroll. I’ve found myself interested in autism advocacy. I’ve started doing more exercise.
And yet I’m still suffering from fatigue.
Other things that are potentially behind it, or linked to it, are: the Great Effexor Issue; the frustration my parents and I are going through as we try to make connections that will help when it comes to independent living; feeling like I’m doing four jobs instead of just one sometimes (with three work placements from the ILRC, plus my job there); financial stuff and trying to sort through all that while at the same time working to change my behaviours to support independent living; or some combination of the above and general depression. AKA I’m feeling more than a bit overwhelmed at times.
Then there’s the whirlpool effects. Having a lowered sensory threshold means that I’m much more likely to experience sensory overload before I would under normal circumstances (because the sensory input is affecting me more seriously), which drains serious spoons, meaning increased fatigue on those days, which worsens the effects, and so on and so forth. Whirlpool. The same thing with insomnia.
And then there are the other potential contributors.
Mom is on my back (understandably enough, really) to make sure I eat three healthy meals a day and get enough exercise. I’m working on the exercise issue (the treadmill is set up again, so I’ve started making sure I get at least 15 minutes of exercise a day, either walking outside – usually to go to and from work at the moment – or using the treadmill), but there are still times when I end up skipping lunch for some reason or another (usually I either don’t feel hungry or I’m absorbed in something and by the time I realize it, it’s almost time for dinner). So that adds another thing to the stuff I’ve got to watch myself for and pay attention to (like the financial stuff, and making sure of my hygiene, and the four “jobs”, and… you get the picture).
She’s worried about me, and I understand that. And like I said, she’s right that I need that exercise (which can help with depression, which can in turn improve how I’m doing and help combat the fatigue) and to make sure I eat. But it’s still hard.
Work lasts until the end of the month (at which point I have to then start looking for a job). The rest of that…. *shrugs a bit helplessly*
Anyway, if anyone has any suggestions on how to handle this, I would greatly appreciate them. Otherwise, consider this a venting post. I just felt like I had to get this out there.
I don’t know if I have advice on how to handle the fatigue, but what I tend to do when I hit that point is pull back from the world as much as I can. That might be easier for you when you’re living independently than it is now, though. But I find that the fatigue is kind of like an open wound and interacting with others is kind of like throwing sand in it.
Oh, yes, definitely (re it being an open wound). I’m working on it. Have now got my sunlamp set up in my “study”, so that might also be of help.
Thanks for the comment!