Living with chronic pain is exhausting. Although I have conquered my night time sleeping battle, I still battle daytime fatigue, just not as often as I used to. Pain related fatigue comes in many forms. There are days when I am lucky if I am able to stay awake for an hour or two. Some days I may need two or more naps that last an hour or more each. My favorite fatigue days are those that I only need one nap that lasts less than two hours. Then there are my least favorite fatigue days, these are the days when my body is exhausted yet my brain isn’t. It is during this type of day that my body craves deep sleep, but my brain won’t shut off to allow it.
The latter is what I have been dealing with for the past few days. My body was too tired to do anything, which was terribly frustrating considering that my mind wanted to work! I have had several blog posts floating around my mind, yet have lacked the physical energy needed to sit up in bed or to type. I tried to fight the fatigue. Each time I attempted to sit up and write, I was hit with an overwhelming need to sleep. From past experiences, I know that fighting this stage is impossible, so I would close my laptop and prepare to give my body what it wanted. Unfortunately after approximately 15 minutes my eyes would open as my mind resumed its prior focus. But my body wasn’t ready to be awake, it needed more time to relax and heal from being awake earlier.
This predicament left me with three choices. The first was to stay in that position and hope that my mind would eventually shut off. I rarely choose this option, because it is the most frustrating and least productive. The tension in my muscles increases as my frustration grows.
My second option was to medicate as I do for bedtime and sleep the entire day away. Yet another option that I don’t like to use often. I lose more than an acceptable amount of time due to days when I can’t keep my eyes open, so why would I want to add another. I am only open to this option when my pain is so intense that medicating to that degree is the only way to keep my sanity.
My third option was to sit up and attempt a project in hopes that my mind would soon tire. Sometimes this option works and sometimes it doesn’t. Yesterday was one of those days when it didn’t help at all. There wasn’t an hour that went by that my body didn’t scream out for a nap. I tried to satisfy its need for sleep, but my mind would not allow it. By the middle of the day my body felt like it had been run over by a semi truck. My pain and tension continued to rise until I took my heavier evening dose of MMJ. Thankfully my body and brain both reached a relaxed state and I slept like a baby.
While I am not thrilled about lacking the physical strength to do much more than type today, I am ecstatic that my mind and body are on the same page. I have no doubt that I will be able to sleep when the urge for a nap hits.
As long as our bodies are fighting pain, we will always be faced with a certain amount of fatigue that others will never understand. I will be honest in sharing that prior to my life of pain I wouldn’t have understood how one could not have the stamina to type a few sentences or to hold a conversation just because of pain. Of course now I am fully aware of just how tiring living in pain is and no longer take being able to do something simple for granted. Chronic fatigue, whether experienced daily or not, can be more frustrating than the pain my body experiences. The reason for this is that some of my pain can be worked around when necessary. There is no working around the need for sleep.
My hope for you today is that you are able to give your body and mind the rest they need.
The Disabled Diva