InVIsibLe ILlNeSS WeEk

This week I am writing in support of Invisible Illness Week. Invisible Illness sufferers are those with chronic pain or symptoms that don’t have a “look” of illness. There are many types of invisible illnesses such as arthritis, migraines, fibromyalgia, joint and muscle pain, autoimmune-related disorders and chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS). These are the “but You don’t look sick” illnesses. On the outside, people with these disorders/symptoms/illness don’t look sick…but on the inside…it’s like war but worse. {The previous link is from Christine Miserandino’s site that gives a rather detailed explanation of what it is like to have an invisible illness in her Spoon Theory.}

I like to call my explanation the gas tank theory. Each and every day, you…ya you, a “Normal” person, is given a full tank of gas in which to run your life, body and work. You would probably get through your day of working, exercising, cooking for your family and living a life without even using a quarter of a tank.  I start each and everyday with half a tank of gas. However, one night of bad sleep could mean I wake up with a quarter tank of gas. This is all the gas/energy I get for the day. I can try to borrow from the next day but siphoning from tomorrows allotment could mean that by the end of my work week, I am depleted. Sunday’s have become my day of rest because cleaning my house and running errands on Saturday literally causes my tank to run dry.

I have Chronic Fatigue Syndrome due to an adrenal issue along with a vitamin D deficiency. The stress from the last few years of losing jobs, moving several times, emotional upheaval and tremendous workload has taken its toll on my body. Plus, there is the whole not eating right, not taking the correct supplements/vitamins and drinking too much which certainly didn’t help matters.  Most of 2011 is in a fog for me. I can only recall from about September of last year…I don’t even remember most of my 40th birthday. I think I had dinner somewhere. What I do recall is being tired, all the time! Going to bed at 6:30 and sleeping eight plus hours and still be exhausted. I went to the doctors, asked for tests and in the end was given yet another anti-depressant. Around this time my good friend Ms. M0nkey (name altered of course) suggested that I get tested for adrenal fatigue.  I thought it was peri-menopausal symptoms brought on by the antidepressants. I had seen an acupuncturist previously last year for my migraines (symptom of both chronic fatigue and vitamin D deficiency) and I made another appointment with her. Long story to short is that I was indeed diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome.

The road to recovery has been very rocky. My activity level is small and very controlled. I limit myself to only one night out a week (I see a small group of ladies twice a month in a local CFS support group), my errands and chores are done on Saturdays and Sunday is a rest day. I am taking more vitamins than I can sallow and am working on changing my eating habits. This has been tough but I am making small but gradual improvements. My illness didn’t happen overnight and recovery will not happen overnight. But at this time, any progress is great progress.

I know that for some of my “friends” what I am going through seems like one big excuse. Well, whatthefuckever! I may not know what it means to be married but I can listen, offer support and take you out for tea & sympathy when there are troubles in the relationship. You may not ever fully understand what it means to have chronic fatigue, but showing a bit of understanding and compassion wouldn’t hurt. There is nothing more hurtful for me than to be kicked while I am already down. If I tell you that I am unable to do something or need to make plans on a certain day so I can sleep in or rest, don’t roll your eyes or scoff at me. My pains and fatigue are very real and wishing them away doesn’t make them go away.

I happy to have found some very supportive people on my life that are working with me to improve my health and well being. To them I dedicate this week! You are my very own Sexy Sassy Posse and I heart you!

bye for now!

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One thought on “InVIsibLe ILlNeSS WeEk

  1. Picture being able to accomplish only half as much each day as you used to–with nothing obvious to account for your exhaustion. That’s life for people suffering from chronic fatigue syndrome.

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