(Not So) Busy: Looking at the Roots of My Fatigue

This week at the spin cycle, the writing prompt is “busy”. I am not technically very busy. I do not work, after all, and am not in full-time school. I still have enough time to sleep, although I sleep often at the wrong moments. During the day, that is.

That being said, you might believe it would be easy to incorporate new requirements into my schedule. Exercise three times a week. Go to the educational department at my institution to study for 90 minutes twice a week and study for an extra hour on Sundays. Write a blog post everyday Monday through Friday. Yet why don’t I accomplish this?

It’s probably that I feel too overwhelmed. It’s not necessarily that there’s not enough hours in the day, but that there are too many requirements on my mind at the same time.

I also, of course, do have limited energy. I don’t know why, but it’s probably one of those symptoms of the aches and pains of daily living. What I mean is, I don’t have a physiological explanation for it, but it’s there nonetheless.

I am not busy as a bee most of the time. Sometimes, I have more energy and tend to put my day full of activities. It seems I’m almost normal then. Right now, I feel far from normal. I feel exhausted while I’ve hardly even done much of anything.

When I once read part of a book about medically unexplained chronic health symptoms, the author presumed there were two causes of these types of symptoms (other than of course an unknown physiological ailment). Some people tended to push through and do too much, while others tended to give up and do too little. On the surface, I appear to be fiercely in the second category. After all, even on days when I feel as though I push through, I don’t do nearly as much as a healthy person my age. I still don’t work or go to school full-time and I don’t care for a family.

However, it seems to me like I do have issues with dividing my limited energy correctly, pushing through on days when I feel lots of energy and giving up on days when I feel little. Psychological treatments of mental illnesses like bipolar disorder, which include fluctuations in energy levels, teach the exact opposite. Dialectical behavior therapy for borderline personality disorder also teaches acting opposite to one’s state of mind. Could it be that I, too, need to rest when I feel energetic and push through when I feel fatigued?

I know that conventional treatment of chronic fatigue syndrome follows this line of thought. Now I don’t claim to have CFS, and I don’t mean to say that this line of treatment is correct for those who do have CFS. What I mean is that it could be helpful for me.

Everyday Gyaan

8 thoughts on “(Not So) Busy: Looking at the Roots of My Fatigue

  1. It’s interesting that they recommend doing the exact opposite of how you feel.. that seems to contradict most medical advice! Sometimes planning too much can really tire and stress you out because if you don’t get everything on your list done you feel like you’ve failed. Some days you won’t do as much as you do on others and that’s okay 🙂

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  2. Sometimes I find just thinking about the mountain of things you want to do is so overwhelming you just decided to ignore it- so it never gets done. Maybe start of with really small goals and see if that helps rather than trying to take it all on at once. x

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  3. My brother has CFS, and has had for a couple of years, having been really fit and healthy before then. Infitially he used to do what you found, on good days, he’d try and do everything he could do before…and could. But then would have a huge couple of down ill days. So he’s given up everything he did before – golf, cycling, squash, and now does gentler hobbies (fishing like he did before and metal detecting) that he can be doing more stable consistent low impact activities. He still has down days where he needs to sleep as soon as he gets back from work at 2 in the afternoon, but largely it’s much more under control now he’s lowered his pace for everything

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