Dog Tired

Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy is tired.

No, I am not tired of living with rheumatoid arthritis. At the moment I have gotten as used to living with RA as I think I could – both the ups and downs and everything in between. In the past, I often used to get a feeling of being too tired, a feeling of not being able to cope with my illness any longer. Things have since changed. I continue to learn the importance of living in the moment, and not worrying about what the future might or might not bring.

No, I am not tired as a result of overdoing things in the past few weeks during which my pain and inflammation has lifted. One of the priorities that I set for myself as I entered this recent period of decreased RA activity was the importance of continuing to take care of the amount of things that I commit to doing throughout the day. The last thing I want to do is push myself to far and increase the probability of entering into another flare.

No, I am not tired as a result of lack of sleep. During the past three weeks I have been getting more restful sleep during the night than I have in a long time – so much so that I have even returned to dreaming. During the worst periods of the past few months, I was neither sleeping well nor dreaming; my nights were one long gray period. The color is back, and I have already received comments that my eyes seem so full and alive.

No, I am not tired as a result of cutting out my afternoon nap from my day. I continue to sleep at least an hour in the afternoon. When I am dealing with pain and inflammation, the afternoon hours of 2-4pm are usually one of the worst periods of the day. I have gotten into the routine of taking my afternoon naps, and this is something that I probably won’t change anytime soon.

Dog Tired
Dog tired
http://www.flickr.com/photos/aeortiz/ / CC BY-NC 2.0

What I am tired of is a result of the increased levels of fatigue that I have been dealing with for the past handful of days. No matter how much I pace myself, no matter how much I rest, no matter how much I nap – that feeling of tiredness remains throughout the day, from morning to night.

It can be confusing in a way – living with extremely low energy levels that come from seemingly nowhere. Of course, I know where it comes from – my rheumatoid arthritis. But this is so unlike the more obvious cause and effect limitations that result from joint pain and inflammation. If that joint is red and swollen, I know why it is more difficult to move. With inflammation, there is absolutely no external signs of what is going on inside. It’s spread throughout the entire body.

Yesterday, as I stepped away from the dining table in order to lay now on the nearby couch and get a few minutes of rest, the image of the Energizer Bunny entered my mind. Although if that was me in the commercial right now, I would be the bunny with the cheap generic batteries.

I try to stay positive, but the overwhelming weight that fatigue continues to press onto my body. So I will continue to do what works best for me. I will pace myself. I will eat healthy foods. I will rest and take naps. I will ask for help if and when I need it. And like all other aspects of living with rheumatoid arthritis, this too will pass.

I think I will also add some mindfulness mediation exercises back to my day. To be honest, the time I spent on this activity has decreased since the worst of my RA passed earlier this month.

What are some of the ways in which you cope with fatigue?

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I found this great post: Fatigue: Fighting The War Against Exhaustion.

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Stay tuned…for the next adventure of Rheumatoid Arthritis Guy!

13 Comments
13 comments
  1. Cathy says:

    I am a napper too. If I can’t nap sometime between 2-4 I at least try to lay down and read for a while. Just doing that will ususally give me some energy. Staying away from the computer (I have an addiction I admit!) helps too.

    I think your ideas for getting back to some things that have slipped away while feeling better like meditation are a good idea. I know as soon as I feel better I neglect the very things that I feel helped boost me to the next stage.

    Enjoy your naps and I hope the energy fills you soon.

    Oh, something else I just thought of. Have you ever tried magnesium? Sometimes when our magnesium levels are low it creates fatigue. Just an idea.

  2. Lana says:

    I can relate the fatigue, but because I work, go to school, and have small children, the fatigue is my worst enemy and in addition to RA, I deal with fibromyalgia. I keep reminding myself that I am working on my master’s for a reason – so that I can leave my current job as a legal secretary – the typing and stress has really taken a toll on me. I can’t really offer advice on this one, but all I say is rest when you can. Sometimes, I will sneak in an empty office during my lunch hour and nap.

  3. Terry says:

    The fatigue is a very frustrating part of this disease for me. I can deal with the pain on bad days but on the pain free or low pain days, the fatigue still sets in. I just got off of a 14 hour shift last night and my feet hurt so bad I can hardly stand on them.

    I have a tendency to go all out when I feel good, then when the fatigue sets in, I just lay up and catch up on reading or watch movies.

    I don’t fight the fatigue as much as I did right after being diagnosed. RA, for me, has been a continuous learning experience and I continue to learn from it everyday. Just learn to listen to your body.

  4. Diane says:

    I too have a nap – I’m embarrassed about it, but it sets me up for the afternoon.
    I do take a suppliment, which I miss when I dont take them; Co-enzyme Q10 30mgs once a day – my GP recommended them and they really seem to help.
    Fatigue sadly is part of the disease, but we find ways of coping – it seems worse on some days than others. I’ve always imagined it depends on how hard my immune system is working!
    Hope you’re energy returns soon.

  5. Crystal says:

    I find fatigue is always worst for me this time of year. In winter I loose sleep because of painfully stiff joints, but in the heat I just feel so depleted. Anyone else notice this distinction?

    Naps are absolutely critical for me. And dreaming usually is very welcome.

  6. Elizabeth says:

    I really want to do 10K/Half Marathon by this time next year—and when I come home (after a few miles), I pretty much take a shower and “sack out”. I always think: “Mind Over Matter”—yet, my body isn’t following through.

  7. Diane says:

    YAWN!!! I hear ya! I have been on the go for over 3 weeks now. My RA is (happily) okay right now with minimal inflamation and pain….OH BUT the fatigue is always there…especially when I over-do it (summer!). It almost makes you feel sick and flu’ish! I probably should not use prednisone in this capacity but I started taking it last week and it has sure helped with my energy level and fatigue issues. OH how I love/hate that drug!

  8. Amy says:

    I too have been struggling with fatigue. All day yesterday at work I was trying to fall asleep at my desk. And for me going home and taking a nap is not an option. I have struggled with this off and on since my diagnoses last June, but for some reason lately I just want to go home and crash on the sofa. The funny thing is, I purposly will not go home and sit down, or I am done for the evening.

    I also changed my diet this week, trying to eat healthier and count calaries, so I wander if that has anything to do with it, but I don’t think so… I could use a nap right now.

    So coping for me is just to keep pushing myself. How much longer I can push… I don’t know. Why can’t I just be that lazy cat that sleeps in the sun?

  9. Debbie says:

    Thank you so much for your adventures and writen words.It like you have jumped into my world and expressed how i feel .You are so wonderful with your explanations of a illness not alot of people know about.I have Behcets its almost the same as what you have but as my doctor tells me “worse”.Keep up the great stories they are so inspiring!!!

  10. Synovial Sensation says:

    You’re not anaemic are you? I have to watch this super-add-on with my fatigue.

    Other than that, I carrot dangle for myself. My super-ego starts whining and cajoling me, sounding like a nightmare Woody Allen…’get through this and you can go to bed without washing your teeth’….’get in the shower now and you can dry off by lying back in bed in your towels’…

    Yup, push push and push. You can do it, you can keep pushing for ever if you need to. But you won’t need to. Rest will come, energy levels up will come at times.

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