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What This Second Cup of Tea Meant on a Hard Day With Chronic Fatigue

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These two coffee cups mean so much more than you can imagine.

ashley kristoff holding two coffee cups

Last night, after getting home from work, I crashed on the couch so unbelievably tired. I went to bed early and when I woke up this morning I was as tired as when I fell asleep.

I slept soundly the whole night, but I have chronic fatigue. I take supplements and always sleep well but some days those aren’t enough to keep it at bay.

I was stressed out driving to work this morning because I left a few minutes later than I had wanted to and I was still so tired and dreading my commute. My boyfriend insisted on buying me a tea to help wake me when I dropped him off at a cafe this morning near his work. I grudgingly accepted. I was annoyed I’d now be even later to work but I knew he wouldn’t let me drive to work that tired and I did appreciate the offer.

The morning workers at this cafe know me well, as many a time I’ve sat outside with my dog, Bear, and they’ve come out to pet him, chat and give him some treats. The woman behind the counter knew my order as soon as I walked in and immediately began preparing it, even before I began to order.

When she was finished she handed me two cups and said, “These are the same thing but I prepared this cup a slightly different way, let me know which you like better!” I grabbed both, unsure of what to do and clearly not understanding the situation. I blurted out, “But this is too hot to drink?” and she responded with “I know!” I then realized she just gave me a second drink for free, thanked her and left.

All the stress and annoyance of the morning melted away. This woman couldn’t have known I was struggling with my fatigue and had never mentioned anything about it before. This little gesture was exactly what I needed this morning.

I continued on my way to work and struggled not to cry. I’m often so frustrated with myself for being fatigued even though it’s out of my control. I needed this reminder that even though there’s frustrating and annoying things I have to deal with, there’s still so much good in my life.

When you live with a chronic illness or symptom, it’s so common to have bad days. Or even to have a lot of good days and then that one bad day really knocks you down. The simplest gestures can mean so much on those bad days. Even though it can’t “fix” what’s going on with your body, it can make it that much more bearable.

Originally published: February 8, 2018
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