Chronic Fatigue isn’t just about being ‘tired’, it’s about my whole life

“I’m exhausted” is all I say these days. I get so tired it drives me to tears; tears that are for more than one reason. I cry because I’m so physically exhausted I feel ill, and I cry at what that brings – it interferes with my personal, social and work life. Sometimes I have to let people down at the last minute because my energy has depleted before my day has even started. Even if I’d had a fab sleep, I could wake up feeling like I’ve been up all night. Some nights I am up all night. I hate sleepless nights, I’m always so bored. Nothing interesting on tv, most people are sleeping, even the dogs don’t wanna know. I usually spend the night lay in bed on my phone for an hour, downstairs for a bit, back up, then back down, all the way through til the morning. My phone will bing early usually, and when it does I get excited that the world is waking up. Might sound mad, but that’s how lonely I feel when I can’t sleep, especially when I feel like I could sleep. At the moment, regardless of the amount I sleep at night, I can’t get through a day without having to go and lie down. Sometimes I lie there for hours, other times I sleep for hours. Mostly I lie there feeling absolutely physically drained, while my mind feels foggy. Through the fog, every now and then, I am anxious because I have a lot to do and don’t feel like I have time to be lying in bed for hours. That, is the most frustrating thing. Knowing that the kitchen is a mess (still), that I’ve not hoovered for a couple of days (again), that I have emails and texts to reply to (that are almost a week old). When I’m feeling “exhausted”, I’m speaking literally. My body has just enough energy to keep me breathing at times it feels, and even breathing hurts during these flares, because of the soft tissue around my ribs. Those are the very bad days; which can last weeks actually. 

I was really made up that I did the 5k run last week. Then I was bounced off that high, right back down with a bang when I realised I wouldn’t be able to do it this weekend just gone because I was still in agony and my fatigue was keeping me in bed most of the days. So frustrating wanting to do things I can’t do anymore, or having to go at a slower pace than I’m used to. 

Anyway, if I am to try and remain positive, then I should try to stop looking at what I can’t do about it and see what I can do. I’ve noticed more recently that my imaginative and creative sides are becoming more prominent again. I’m getting more ‘light bulb’ moments with ideas that just pop up. Usually something I can do with the house. My most recent idea was to upcycle an old lamp I was going to get rid of. So I should try to encourage that more in myself at the moment I think, especially when I’m feeling this tired. It will give me something to do, isn’t too physically demanding, it can be an ongoing project that I keep going back to. I need to do something so I don’t go insane. And I don’t mean insane from boredom, I mean I need to do something, because at least I won’t then be doing nothing. Doing ‘something’ is better than ‘nothing’, for me anyway! 

Choices. Just; choices!

I came across this meme on Facebook earlier and thought it was very apt. At the time, I had just been having a conversation about my recent changes in attitude. The fact that I’m striving to improve myself, be healthier, look after myself more. And that all this work I’m doing is “for” me; nobody else is asking these things of me; they are things that I am hoping will improve my overall health and general wellbeing. And I have realised, nobody can do it “with” or “for” me. People can encourage me, support me and give me feedback but ultimately it is only me who can do it. Because I am the one who is making these choices, with choices being the operative word.

Everything we do, we choose to do. We “choose” to eat to survive or to enjoy the taste etc. We choose to go out, stay in, drink alcohol, smoke; basically everything. I know some people may argue this, some people have said they don’t “choose” to work and they “have” to work to earn money to survive. That’s a fair point, however you’re still choosing from those 2 potentials; do you choose to work to survive, or do you choose not to work and risk the consequences of that whatever they may be. You choose the lesser of the evils, but that doesn’t mean the lesser evil will be a great alternative.

In moments of desperation, when my world had crashed down around me and almost buried me alive, I ‘chose’ to hurt myself. The only options or choices I could see at that very moment were: I hurt myself right now to relieve the feelings or I kill myself to permanently stop the feelings. I could never see other options in those situations, where I can now (for example, an alternative option could have been I could have tried to tolerate those feelings a little longer, reminding myself that they were thoughts and feelings and they could not hurt me). So I’ve realised (just now by writing this very random post), that problem solving is quite important, in order to try to see the other choices you have. Opening up your mind, slowing down your thoughts, reassuring yourself. Maybe then try to take a step back from it for a few seconds and consider your options. That 10 or 20 seconds when you take a step back and assess the situation properly, could potentially distract you enough to really reduce your urges or feelings. That is not easy, but try just by reminding yourself every day to use that 10 or more second step back from things so you can gather yourself.

Well now you have a choice to make. Try the above or don’t try the above. Further choices along the way, if you do try, do you give up after 1 failed attempt or do you keep practising until it gets easier? If you ignore the above, is there anything else you can try that might help? Or would you choose not to end the cycle at all?

All choices that come with their own consequences; positive & negative. Which is the lesser alternative? Is that a lesser alternative for the short-term? Or is it the lesser alternative for the long-term? Sometimes we have to choose harder options in order to improve things for the long-term. That means pushing ourselves out of our comfort zones, making choices we might not usually make and trying things that might fear us to death.

Choices choices choices 🙂

Borderline Personality Disorder: We found love in a hopeless place; literally!

Relationships have always been a sticky subject with me. To be quite honest I’ve always preferred being single, and even as a teenager, was never really interested in finding a boyfriend (or girlfriend for that matter). This was possibly a lot to do with previous experiences in relationships; I usually always gave in to my partners and they usually had full control of the relationship. Even if that meant I wasn’t happy; their feelings were always put before mine (which I believe is called ‘subjugation’ sp?).

I’ve had a number of relationships, some short term, some long term. Nothing ever too serious. The fear of commitment was far too much for me. I much preferred being on my own, enjoying ‘me’ time at home on an evening, not having to check with your partner before agreeing to go out in case they’ve made plans for us etc. And I very clearly remember discussing this in a group setting about 2 years ago; “I don’t ever want to get married, I don’t want kids, I’m happy as I am and that’s that”. Anyone dared suggest otherwise I’d freak out.

There was one person in this group who I considered to be a friend. We’d not long known each other, but I instantly felt comfortable around her because she was just so laid back and chilled out. I admired people who were like that; because it was something I could never be… I did not “chill out” and was always on the go, worrying about something, feeling tense. I could never have the attitude of “don’t worry, it’ll be fine”. Being friends with her really helped me to be able to start doing that and now I’m so laid back I’m horizontal at times. I don’t worry half as much as I used to. I don’t stress about the little things like I did.

We were very good friends and I could tell her anything, with her feeling the same about me. I didn’t have any ‘feelings’ for her in the beginning. And, in my mind, I was ‘straight’; the thought of being in a relationship with my friend who also happened to be female just never entered my mind. Then eventually, just before Christmas 2014, I realised I was falling in love with her. I did have feelings for her and I loved her and wanted to be with her. You can imagine, I was pretty dumbfounded at this point; what the feck do I do now?

At first I tried pushing those feelings away. It was scary to think I might be falling for a female; I wasn’t ‘gay’. The feelings grew stronger and after finally discussing it with my CPN, I managed to work through my anxieties and fears, before coming to terms with the fact that actually, you really can’t help who you fall for. Never in a million years did I expect I’d be settling down with someone of the same sex, but it’s happening.

We told family and a small selection of close friends just after christmas 2014, and have been together since. I can honestly tell you, I have never been in a relationship like this and it certainly isn’t dysfunctional. In almost a year of being together we’ve not had 1 single argument. We talk things through, we’re honest at all times; if I piss her off she’ll tell me (in a kinder way) and vice versa. There’s nothing we ever need to argue about; if we disagree about something we’ll discuss it and work through it or agree to disagree. I absolutely love her to pieces, she is my world. I’ve never met somebody before who I felt I could spend all my time with and always be happy. Of course, we both have our own time too as that’s important, but I much prefer being in her company. She has, at times, carried me through the past couple of years, and I’d be utterly lost without her. And now I think, so what if she’s a female; I love her and she loves me and we are happy together. It’s taken a good few months for me to be able to finally tell the world we’re together, because of my fears of what other people would think mostly. But in all honesty, our happiness is much more important, and I don’t want our relationship to be a secret anymore. She is my world, she makes me laugh, I feel safe with her, she treats me as an equal; all the things I’ve never had in previous relationships.

You genuinely just cannot help who you fall for. Love came along when I least expected it, and has brought me a long way in my recovery from mental illness. I don’t think anyone needs to be out looking for ‘the one’, I think they’ll find you one day when the time is right for both of you!