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If Someone With Chronic Illness Says They're Tired, Please Think Before Responding, 'Me Too'

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When being “tired” is more than just feeling tired…

Don’t you just hate it when people try to get one up on you, by always striving to be worse off than yourself?

Don’t you just hate it when people assume that tiredness is the same for every single person on this planet?

Don’t you also hate it when, despite knowing how badly you struggle with fatigue, someone who doesn’t is always delighted to tell you, “Yeah, I’m tired too?”

Me too, and I’ll explain why:

I fully understand that everyone is entitled to feel tired, it’s a way of life. I also understand that everyone has different levels when it comes to how much tiredness their body can take. However, if you’re a person who is tired because they went to bed two hours before their alarm, or a person who is tired because they were binge-watching “Grey’s Anatomy” for two days solid without going to bed (I salute your dedication by the way, just saying!), then your tiredness level and my tiredness level aren’t really the same now, are they?

In my opinion, people who sit there claiming that their tiredness from burning the candle at both ends is the same as tiredness from illness are pretty much insulting every single chronically ill person out there. Obviously with strangers, it’s slightly different as we can’t expect them to carry their crystal balls with them everywhere they go. But, when it comes to our loved ones who know our situations and who know how tiredness affects our minds and bodies, that’s when, personally, it makes my feelings seem less worthy.

So, how is chronic illness tiredness different than “regular tiredness?”

Well, seeing as everyone responds different to tiredness in general, I will answer that question based on my own personal experience. Tiredness due to my multiple chronic illnesses is a level of fatigue which involves me sitting on the toilet crying my eyes out because I am so tired. It’s when I have hardly been able to move around my house due to lack of energy, yet I’m still sitting on the sofa yawning my head off, with tears streaming down my face and an extreme bout of nausea because I am just so tired. It’s being unable to have a conversation because tiredness has sucked all of the energy out of my body; therefore opening my mouth would use up a lot of the limited supply of energy I currently have to work with because, you guessed it, I am just so tired.

Getting an early night doesn’t fix my problem.

Doing less activity doesn’t fix my problem.

Getting more sleep at nighttime doesn’t fix my problem (and that’s if I can even get to sleep!).

Despite being absolutely mentally and physically exhausted, I can’t sleep, even though I would love to (and nearly do) fall asleep wherever my head lands.

It’s debilitating. It’s exhausting. It comes with the territory of multiple chronic illnesses (fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue syndrome, etc.).

So the next time you’re sitting on the sofa binge-watching 90s shows on Netflix, or re-watching every single episode of “Grey’s Anatomy” and staying up until lunch time the following day – please don’t then tell a chronically ill person that you feel tired too. People like us would love to be able to binge-watch our favorite programs, but seeing as doing that would take up vital amounts of energy we just cannot spare, we have to choose activities which will keep us alive – like eating.

Remind me again: Are you tired, too? Because I am exhausted.

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Getty Image by Juliia Tochilina

Originally published: January 29, 2018
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