I’m Just So Tired…

I have chronic fatigue caused by hypothyroidism. For years, I didn’t know what was wrong with me. I was always tired, and could easily sleep 14 hours a day if not woken up. In fact, my fatigue has created significant problems in almost every relationship I’ve ever been in. Before I knew what it was, I didn’t really have an “excuse.” My partners often got frustrated with my “laziness” and wondered why I had to sleep all the time. I would try to explain that I couldn’t help it, but they didn’t seem to understand. My mother would always tell me to “push through it,” but often that was impossible. I really COULDN’T wake up. I DIDN’T hear my alarm. I PHYSICALLY CAN’T keep my eyes open.

I finally went to the doctor when I had a job as a nanny for a toddler. I would sleep 14 hours a night, and still find myself unable to stay awake while watching her. When it felt like it was getting bad, we’d go up to her playroom and I’d lock the door, just in case I fell asleep, because I knew it was a safe room. When she napped, I napped. And then, driving home from work one day, I momentarily dozed off at the wheel. Nothing happened, thankfully, but that was the wake up call I needed to finally seek help. I’m not very good at taking care of myself, so it takes extreme events for me to actually do so.

Medication changed my life. I was still more generally tired than most people, but I could function. However, when I moved to Boston, I forgot to make sure there were refills on my thyroid meds. There were not, and my doctor would not give them to me without blood work, as I’m supposed to have my levels checked every 6 months. The earliest appointment I could get up here? November 1. And so, for the past 3 months, I’ve been unmedicated. I’d forgotten how bad the fatigue gets. By the last month, I was missing work because I either didn’t hear my alarm or physically couldn’t get up. I spent 20 hours at a time asleep, while Jesus sat there waiting for me to wake up.

And as understanding as he is, he still got frustrated with me. I’d HAVE to go home and pass out at 5, even after 14 hours of sleep. “But I don’t understand,” he’d say. There’s nothing more frustrating than knowing that your medical problems are negatively affecting your relationship, but being physically unable to fix it. I couldn’t help it, I couldn’t fix it, it wasn’t my fault, yet I felt guilty as hell. When you think about it that way, it’s easy to see why I gravitated towards Adderall or cocaine; I was self-medicating my fatigue. I was going to MAKE myself stay up, and if it required drugs to do so, so be it.

But all that to say that there’s a reason it’s been so quiet around these parts lately. I’ve been either at Jesus’ or asleep when I am at my place. The fatigue drained every ounce of energy I had, so that even blogging seemed like a daunting task. I’m medicated again, and am hoping to be feeling more normal in the next few weeks. Fatigue’s a helluva drug, man.

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  1. FridaNo Gravatar
    Posted November 8, 2010 at 7:28 pm | Permalink

    “When you think about it that way, it’s easy to see why I gravitated towards Adderall or cocaine; I was self-medicating my fatigue.”

    I’m pretty sure the opposite is the reason I smoked a LOT of weed back when I found it hard sleeping. I never actually got it diagnosed, but looking back, I’m think I had pretty bad insomnia. Ah well, it (and the drugs) is over with now. Self-medication makes sense at the time but is rarely the path to actually make things better.

  2. Another Suburban MomNo Gravatar
    Posted November 8, 2010 at 9:31 pm | Permalink

    What kind of doctor do you see to get diagnosed with that. I have been freezing and exhausted for two weeks now, and even before that, when I lay down with PP each night at 8:30 to help her get to sleep, I have to have Hubman come and check on me if I’m not out of there in 15 minutes because I have fallen asleep.

    • Britni TheVadgeWigNo Gravatar
      Posted November 9, 2010 at 9:55 am | Permalink

      That could definitely be a thyroid issue. Your PCP can do the bloodwork, and mine also prescribes my meds. If need be, they’d refer you to an endocrinologist.

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