Chronic. This seems to be the word that is describing my whole life at the moment. I have a chronic medical condition, I have chronic depression, grief is chronic, my anxiety is chronic and the feeling that nothing is going to change is chronic.
We talk a lot about how teens suffer with mental illness and self-image problems and that’s great, but what about teens who suffer from chronic illnesses that can cause those mental health and self image problems? I suffer from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (CFS) and a chronic gastrointestinal problem that we still don’t have many answers to (I’ll talk about that another time).
Before I talk about my experience with CFS, lets get down to the basics about it. CFS is the feeling of ALWAYS being fatigued, sore and the need to just keep laying down forever no matter how much sleep you get. There is a difference between feeling tired and feeling fatigued, just like there is a difference between feeling down once in a while and having depression. There is no cure for CFS, just many suggestions from doctors that can include eating healthily and trying to keep your body active (this is quite hard when you feel like every bone in your body is aching and every nerve in your body is on fire and you feel like you haven’t slept for 30 days straight) They say that CFS is most common among people in the age box 40-50 and most of them are women, but I don’t care about those statistics! I want to hear about all the young women who suffer from this ‘old persons disease’ (I’m not saying that 40 is old though! ;)) There are so many more symptoms than just feeling tired and having a sore body. These can include:
- loss of memory or concentration
- feeling unrefreshed after a night’s sleep
- chronic insomnia (and other sleep disorders)
- muscle pain
- frequent headaches
- multijoint pain without redness or swelling
- frequent sore throat
- tender lymph nodes in your neck and armpits
You may also experience illness or extreme fatigue after physical or mental activities. This can last for more than 24 hours after the activity.
People are sometimes affected by CFS in cycles, with periods of feeling worse and then better again. Symptoms may sometimes even disappear completely (remission). However, it’s still possible for them to come back again later (relapse). The cycle of remission and relapse can make it difficult to manage your symptoms.
Thank you to http://www.healthline.com/health/chronic-fatigue-syndrome#Symptoms4 for this information.
Now back to me. Every morning I get up and feel like I haven’t slept at all, my bones hurt, my toes feel like they’re being poked with hot pins and needles and I have to fight the feeling to fall back into my soft, warm and comfy bed and sleep forever.
The lack of motivation from feeling so fatigued all the time has negatively affected my life in a great way. I can’t concentrate on my school work, I can’t help around the house as much as I want to and it’s super hard to get the motivation to go somewhere nice with my mum when my anxiety is tolerable. And when I do pluck up that slither of motivation to do something, what ever I do with it uses it up in a heartbeat. It’s extremely annoying when you’re trying to sleep and your teacher from school rings asking you about your school work and you say “Well you know that when you have depression you get brain fog well, the same thing happens when you have CFS” and the she says “Yes I do, but if you keep pushing the fog clears”. That’s bulls**t! If you keep pushing the brain fog it comes back ten fold and then you just sleep because you’re exhausted from trying to push past the exhaustion and the brain fog!
Being a teenager is hard enough with out the added stress of having a chronic health condition or two and stressing about not passing school for the SECOND time round.
You know what is even harder than that though? No? Well let me give you a hint…
Try pushing yourself to go for a walk outside or go on the treadmill because you need to let go of all that extra weight that you put on because you’re so depressed and anxious and you have no metabolism so you don’t burn your food off, and how can you burn your food off when you’re so tired from a chronic fatigue problem? Yeah, that’s even harder! I’m working on it though.
Dory off Finding Nemo had it right when she sang “Just keep swimming, just keep swimming” That’s what I’m trying to do every day, just keep swimming against the current that is Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.
My next post is going to be all about becoming vegan and gluten-free and if it’s helped or not. Stay tuned!
Keep safe and keep going, you’ll get there one day!