By Sarah Wells in My Stripey Life.
Chronic debilitating fatigue.
Now I don’t mean being tired, tiredness and fatigue are very different things. We all get tired, our lives are busy, we put far too much pressure on ourselves to perform at school or at work. To be the best mum, dad, wife, boss, friend, son, daughter. Life can be tiring. But after a good nights sleep or a couple of early nights you can guarantee to feel much better.
Fatigue is different. It is extreme tiredness resulting from mental or physical exertion or illness. It makes you weak, not just physically but mentally too and it is debilitating and doesn’t go away with rest.
I pace everything, instinctively. If I walk the dog then I have to sit down afterwards. If I have a busy day then I have to keep my diary free for a couple of days afterwards. If I do an activity that uses a particular muscle or group of muscles I know that a) I can’t keep it up for long and b) there is a high probability that the strength in that part of my body will be next to useless for a couple of days. I have to prioritise the management of fatigue or it may just swallow me whole.
For my daughter we pace her day for her, as she grows she is learning better to rest before the onset of pain and fatigue but she needs support with this. She has four planned laying down rest breaks every day at school. Her teacher combines typing with writing and sometimes she has to have a scribe. She has regular movement breaks planned into her days and spends at least two afternoons at home each week resting so that she can manage life the rest of the time.
For my son fatigue has slowly stolen his life over the last 12 months.
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