17 Things I Don’t Admit on Bad Days With Chronic Fatigue

The most difficult days with chronic fatigue can also be the hardest to discuss. When one of the symptoms of your illness is chronic fatigue, you know any flare day can mean you are unable to take a shower, chat with friends or even leave your house. These physical challenges as well as their mental health effects aren’t necessarily easy to bring up in conversation, especially when others assume you’re “just tired” and will feel better after a good night’s sleep.

To shed light on the effects of chronic fatigue that aren’t often understood or discussed, we asked our Mighty community to reveal what they don’t admit on the bad days of their chronic fatigue. It’s important to note that people with many illnesses experience chronic fatigue, but it should not be confused with chronic fatigue syndrome/myalgic encephalomyelitis, a distinct diagnosis that also includes chronic fatigue as a symptom.

We’re share these answers so others dealing with chronic fatigue know they’re not alone — and so those who have never experienced chronic fatigue can begin to understand the challenges you cope with even when you “seem fine.”

Here’s what the community told us:

1. “I procrastinate showers because they’re just too much work, especially now with a central line. I don’t brush my hair between showers because it kills my arms, and my muscles get extremely fatigued and hurt. I really need help but hate asking for help and feeling like a burden.”

2. “My housework falls behind, my washing falls behind, my sorting of things and objects falls behind. I want to have a clean and tidy house but find that dumping things in piles has been the only thing I can do now. I’m constantly tired of battling a fight I don’t think I’m ever going to win.”

3. “Laying in bed, doing nothing… still equals trying. Just a little extra love and support on days like this can go a long way.”

4. “Brain fog makes me feel so out of it some days; even the simplest thing is so hard to hang onto and comprehend.”

5. “I will not admit that I’ve lost. The way I see it, if I lose a day to chronic pain, I can try again tomorrow. The chapter may be finished, but the book isn’t.”

6. “Some days it takes all day to get enough energy to shower, so around 3 p.m. I start to get terrible anxiety thinking someone will come to my door and think I’m lazy or dirty because the laundry is on the sofa, dishes in the sink and I’m unshowered and in bed in the middle of the day!”

7. “I’m in more pain than someone could even imagine. I wouldn’t wish this pain on my worst enemies. I don’t like to complain to those around me because if I did, I’d be complaining 24/7 and I don’t want to be ‘annoying’ or ‘a burden’ to anyone.”

8. “I’m on the verge of losing it at everyone because everything seems so loud, like it’s way louder than normal. And it’s so annoying it makes me angry. Like even someone drinking a drink seems like they have megaphone at their throat.”

9. “I’m exhausted. Sometimes people see it but you can’t admit it. It makes you look weak or like you’re faking it. It’s all part of the ‘invisible’ aspect of our conditions. People can’t see that we’re sick so we just ‘need a good night’s sleep.’ If only.”

10. “The ‘good days’ – now so few and far between — bring me sadness, and I’ve come to resent them. When a good day pops by, it’s hard to enjoy them, knowing it’ll soon come to pass.”

11. “Needing help to do the simplest of tasks but not wanting to admit I need that little helping hand to get through the day can make it worse as I get stressed over not asking or admitting the help would actually help me. I try to hide it all from the ones I love dearly.”

12. “I don’t admit I’m incredibly unsure of whether I can continue to hold it together — my career. It was the one thing (beyond my marriage) I wanted to keep sacred and fight for in spite of all the pain because I worked so hard to earn my degrees and license. I don’t admit I’m barely limping along from one day to the next, hoping like hell I can make it from Monday to Friday each week because I’m so utterly exhausted from the pain and the painsomnia… I no longer feel that drive to be the very best at my career because of what the pain and exhaustion has taken from me.”

13. “I’m often so tired that even taking a deep breath is exhausting. I will even put off going to the bathroom for as long as possible because just walking the few feet from my couch to the restroom feels like walking a mile. My whole house feels like it triples in size on my bad days and everything is so far away.”

14. “Having two big days in a row wipes me out, and I need a quiet day with little interaction, which is hard for my son to understand as he just wants to talk to me.”

15. “I don’t admit that I’m not really strong enough to handle it all all the time like everyone around me thinks I am. It’s hard to cope with the soul-crushing fatigue, but harder still [are] the expectations of those closest to us in the midst of it all. It’s like taking a deep breath and sinking to the bottom of the pool just so you can actually take a break. Most don’t understand. Then again admitting defeat doesn’t help either. The battle is in between.”

16. “I don’t change out my pajamas, brush my hair, take a bath (I have a central line — no showers) and certainly don’t shave! Way too much! Luckily it’s still cold (enough) that I can cover my unshaved legs in pants.”

17. “I don’t admit that I feel lonely. CFS can be such a lonely disease because when you are sleeping constantly you are separating yourself from the rest of the world. And the pain is so segregating — you own it, no one else is sharing that pain, you are alone. It is hard to feel connected to others when you crash for days.”

17 Things I Don’t Admit on Bad Days With Chronic Fatigue

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