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.
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?