When Others Judge If I Have the Right to Be Tired

I find myself often apologizing for being tired or in pain because I find that people judge me on whether I should, or do, actually feel that way. Having lived a fibromyalgia and chronic fatigue diagnosis for the last 10 years, I’ve come to accept that I don’t have control over how my body reacts to the weather or the stress of travel or the woes of work.

I mean, when you look at me, I look “normal.” I’m bubbly and tend to be a pretty positive and driven person. But that’s because I’ve trained myself to put on my best version of myself when I’m around other people. The minute that I’m alone – hello sweat pants, fuzzy socks, and good book! I am specific about when I fall apart and relax. But I find that there are days when I can’t hide it. If I’ve traveled or had a particularly stressful work week, I don’t have the energy to pretend that everything is alright. I’m just dog tired.

And that’s when people look at me funny when I tell them I’m tired. Because I can see on their face that they’re calculating how much I’ve worked, what I’ve done that week, and they’re comparing it to their week. It’s like they are judging if I have a right to be tired, like if I’ve done enough or been through enough to be able to stick my flag down into tired mountain. I’ve actually had people snort and respond with, “Oh, you think you’re tired?!” and then they launch into their week.

It’s in those moments that you realize it’s probably not about you. It’s actually about them and how they feel. They maybe aren’t that interested in hearing how you feel or how you want to spend my days off. And when you realize that you understand that this person isn’t someone you can be real with, you get to tell yourself that anything they say right now shouldn’t be taken personally and, “It’s not about me.” And, “It’s not about me,” is one of the most liberating and peaceful thoughts you can give yourself.

The next time you are apologizing for something out of your control and someone barks back at you or judges you, tell yourself, “It’s not about me,” because to be honest it’s not. People have trouble responding gracefully to something they don’t understand.

Don’t apologize for how you feel, especially when it’s out of your control. Building a community of people who have empathy and compassion for what you’re going through is how you’ll make it through!

Follow this journey on Healthy Introvert.

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

Thinkstock Image By: subjob

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

Related to Chronic Fatigue Syndrome/Myalgic Encephalomyelitis

painting of a woman lying in bed

When Healthy Friends Think Being Sick Makes You 'Lesser Than'

We met during the first week of school as “Susan” lived a couple doors down from me in residence. Immediately we hit it off, sharing many similar interests and hobbies. We enjoyed each other’s company and laughed a lot together about relationships and school. Early on I explained to Susan I had chronic fatigue syndrome [...]
abstract painting with purple and orange colors

The Importance of Standing Up for Your Health and Saying 'No' When You Need To

We had been dating for five months. I knew I really liked him, and this could potentially become a serious relationship. At the same time, I anxiously knew how much my chronic disease could impact our relationship. I have myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME, also commonly known as chronic fatigue syndrome). It is a very debilitating disease [...]
airplane flying at sunset

Tips for Traveling to a Medical Appointment

Many of us in the chronic illness community have seen numerous doctors all over the country, whether it is seeking a diagnosis, or for a new treatment. I have taken many trips, some by car, some by plane, and I’ve learned a lot in the experience, and thought I’d provide a few tips and tricks [...]
embroidery that says but you don't look sick

When You Have to Defend Your Invisible Illness

When you’re “invisibly ill,” people tend to default to thinking you’re complaining for one of three reasons: 1. You’re looking for attention. 2. You’ve done it to yourself. 3. You’re a hypochondriac who has self-diagnosed with some unheard of illness that you can’t prove. Each of these assumptions are not only offensive, but really hurtful, [...]