The Most Challenging Part of Every Day With Chronic Illness

What was the most challenging part of my day? Let’s rephrase that. How about, what is the most challenging part of my everyday?

One of the toughest tasks of my day would be actually getting up in the morning. Let’s be honest, the majority of us have had a hangover at some point in our life. Maybe some have only felt it once or twice, others more often. No judgment. Just a fact. I wake up every morning feeling hungover. But here’s the thing: I don’t drink. Yet I wake up every morning feeling groggy, lethargic, stiff, head hurting, and dehydrated.

It’s really no fun getting the hangover without the fun stuff the night before. But alas, I know that a large part of the chronically ill community feel this way in the morning. I had nine hours of sleep last night. That’s a lot of sleep, and yet I’m still absolutely exhausted. All my energy is taken up by my body trying to function as normally as possible. In the evenings, I’m so tired that my body slowly starts to shut down, making it impossible for me to keep warm and making me need the bathroom even more often that throughout the day.

Now, let me tell you a bit about fatigue. Because so often when I tell people that I’m tired someone says, “Oh, me too!” I am not trying to minimize that others are tired. You’re all working all week, raising kids, trying to meet deadlines, and trying to have a life outside of it all. I get it, I once was there, too. But fatigue is very different.

The best way I can describe fatigue will unfortunately only resound to a percentage of the population: women who have been pregnant. Remember that feeling during your first trimester? The complete exhaustion? That tiredness that no matter how much you slept at night, no matter how many naps you had during the day, no matter how lazy of a day you had, you were still exhausted throughout the entire day? Nothing could satisfy that fatigue. That’s how I feel literally every day. Not just for three months. Every day.

I was going to try and summarize this video that I saw a few weeks back, but instead I’ll just post it. It’s spot on as to what the differences are between fatigue and being tired. Take two minutes and give it a watch.

Honestly, I’m not sure what I can do to make this easier. I do what I can when I can. I’m physically unable to do more than my body will allow. I’ve had to learn to listen or I become violently ill. It’s just a part of my day now and I’ve had to learn to deal with it.

Follow this journey on A Gut Feeling.

We want to hear your story. Become a Mighty contributor here.

Lead photo by Thinkstock Images

Find this story helpful? Share it with someone you care about.

Related to Chronic Illness

A young woman is standing in the doorway of her kitchen and is looking at the garden at sunrise

5 Truths to Remember If You're Feeling Guilty About Your Chronic Illness

If you are chronically ill, chances are that you feel (or have felt in the past) guilty about the fact that you’re sick. You can find yourself doubting whether you really are sick because of the way people treat you. You can feel as though you are having a negative impact on the people you [...]
Woman standing in front of lake at sunset

7 Wishes for Myself in 2017 as a Person With Chronic Illness

There was a certain relief for me as 2016 drew to an end after struggling with chronic illness all year. Like the closing of the curtains on a play, where the stage lights dim and house lights come on. The actors celebrate their performances, and there’s a feeling of relief and happiness that everything went [...]
woman dressed in winter gear

What People Don't Understand About Chronic Illnesses During Winter

I live in Colombia, which is very close to the Equator, so we don’t have seasons. Depending on the altitude, there are a variety of climates that stay relatively stable throughout the year (the exceptions being the rainy and dry seasons). I’m currently in Europe for vacation. I’ve been to Fatima, Madrid, Salamanca and, currently, [...]
Woman looking in compact mirror before doing make-up

5 Things I Do Because of Chronic Illness That You May Not Realize

I live with several chronic illnesses and they make certain daily tasks difficult to complete. Over the past six years I have developed ways to make those daily tasks easier so that I can continue to live as “normally” as possible. I guess you could call them chronic illness “hacks,” but most of them you [...]