This is not the first time I’ve said it and it probably won’t be the last. I am tired of being tired, especially now that I know that there is a physical reason that I feel tired and headachey all the time, but not the underlying cause. Now that I know this much, I want to know what’s causing it. I’m waiting for my specialist appointment. As anyone who’s ever had more than the flu knows, it takes a while to see a specialist and get answers to what’s going on and how to treat it. Instead, I just have to wait and wait and wait. And try not to worry at the same time.
I’m trying hard to not Google too much or go on WebMD. I’ve been cold-turkey for quite a while, but yesterday I did allow myself to click on two website descriptions of my issue. I wanted to know what might cause it. Of course, then I had to not worry about the fact that it was pretty vague and didn’t tell me much and what it did was pretty negative.
I feel like I’ve been feeling off for so long now. Symptoms started at least over the winter and now it’s July. I just want to know what is going on so I can do something about it. Having OCD means I often feel out of control, but I need it. Badly. I stress out when plans change or things come up that I wasn’t anticipating. So having an unanticipated health mystery after struggling for years to come to terms with my current chronic conditions is a little overwhelming.
I’m not good at waiting. I’m not patient. I long to be active. But I’ve done all I can do for now. I’ve had the tests. I’ve made the appointments. So maybe it is not a bad thing that I’m tired all the time no matter how much sleep or rest I get. I feel like my creative energy is suppressed and waiting just as much as I am. It wants to do something, but my fingers and arms are numb—sometimes literally—and I just don’t have the energy to do something.
Ironically, when I do have spurts of energy I’ve tried to use them to work out more consistently. It’s been a way for me to mask my physical malaise from myself with hard-earned tiredness and soreness. It’s good for me mentally to point to exercise and working out as the reason why I’m exhausted. I know it’s not probably a great long-term strategy, but that’s not what I’m planning. I’m hoping for a medical answer and response to how I feel soon. I just need to get from here to there.
This is not the answer everyone might choose, but that’s how mental illness and recovery works sometimes—what works doesn’t always make sense, but if it works, it works. That’s why generic lists of suggestions for how to relax or soothe anxiety or break repetitive thoughts only go so far. They try to apply to everyone and often what is stressful or helpful for people is specific to that person.
What works for one person is also shaped by their unique constellation of conditions: I like reading and watching mysteries and procedurals because they are predictable. I find they soothe my repetitive thoughts by distracting me and giving me a sense of control by providing me with the reassurance that all will be worked out and solved by the end of the work. I first started getting into them when I had my second surgery and I’ve been hooked ever since.
This might make others with anxiety and OCD worry more about danger and threats, but not me. Instead, it soothes my OCD and anxiety, provides me the reassurance I need sometimes, especially when I am stressed by actual world events and real-world fears.
This also works well because I often need rest due to my spine and or cannot sleep due to insomnia. I have something to do that helps with my anxiety when I cannot do something more active, even as seemingly inactive as taking a shower or bath or refilling the essential oil diffuser. Instead, I can read or watch. I can explore the world through screens, as horrifying as that might seem to more active, healthy people.
But I explore the world on my own terms when I can. That’s just not all the time and it’s not always an option. Sometimes I’m stuck inside with my own fatigue and aches and pains. Some days I’m lucky enough to have the energy to get outside and to explore. That’s why this recent bout of illness has upset my equilibrium—I’m having more down days and more fatigue—so instead I have to regroup and adjust my expectations and maybe soon, once I know more, I’ll have to do it again. This is the opposite of the stability my mental illness craves. So instead I’m trying to write to pass the waiting time.
Photo by Uriel Soberanes on Unsplash