Where’d my spoons go?

I am so exhausted lately that I feel like I can barely function. I can’t explain why I’m so tired; I’m sleeping better than ever, but my batteries are just not re-charging. I’ve always had an issue with energy levels and poor sleep; I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome around the same time they diagnosed the Fibromyalgia. Most of the time I can manage, but then I get stuck in these cycles of exhaustion and I start to wonder why I even bother fighting it. All I want to do anymore is sleep. I can get 8, 9, even 10 solid hours of sleep and I still wake up feeling like I’ve been up for 48 hours straight. Before I got off the medications, the answer was to simply throw more pills at the problem until something worked. Now that I’m off of them, I don’t have any choice but to push through it. 

It’s not depression. Aside from being tired, (and frustrated from being constantly fatigued), I’m happier than I have ever been; no dark thoughts, no mood swings, no appetite changes… It’s also not a Fibromyalgia flare up. I’m not pain free, but the pain is intermittent and mostly manageable. Somehow, I’m still managing to go to the gym and workout, but anything outside of my normal routine is just not happening right now. Every day, I am counting and recounting my spoons like a miser because I just can’t be sure I’ll be able to do the things I need to do. I am not normally the kind of person who plans their days, but lately I don’t have a choice. As it is, I’m having more trouble focusing on tasks, I’m constantly forgetting things and I can’t sit still for very long without nodding off, which is not only immensely annoying, but makes things like driving very difficult. I find myself getting grumpy for no good reason and I hate it. 

This particular cycle of exhaustion has been going on for at least 2-3 weeks now and there’s no end in sight. It’s wearing me down, it may not feel like this is a depressive episode now, but I worry that I’m heading that way. Getting out of bed in the morning is a chore. Going to the gym is getting harder and harder. The important thing is, I am still going. I’m still working through the Couch to 5k program and I’ve started lifting weights. It takes a dose of pre workout and usually a cup of coffee, but in the end, it’s worth it. I know that if I stop now, it will be even harder to start again. I’m hoping that the exercise will help me get break the cycle, so far, it doesn’t seem to be working, but in the end it’s worth it. If nothing else, I always feel better after a workout. 

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Setbacks, road blocks and fighting through them

For me, the hardest part about chronic illness has always been the ups and downs. A few years ago, I was mired in misery and the good days were so few and far between that all they did was point how very awful my “normal” was. Even when I had a good day, I was unable to enjoy it because I was dreading the return of my pain. 

Now, I generally have more good days than bad, but the bad days hit me much harder than they used to because I am no longer accustomed to the level of pain and fatigue they bring with them. I find that it is so much harder to bounce back from the bad days, especially lately, since I’ve fallen so far off track. 

I finally started going back to the gym about 3-4 weeks ago. Week 1 was great! Tiring, but I felt amazing. Then, on Thursday of the second week, I slipped and twisted the bejeezus out of my left ankle. It was bad. Tears and cursing and more tears followed by a miserable drive home. It nearly took the wind out of my sails, but I got through it, (thanks largely in part to my ever supportive husband!). I gave it a few days to heal up and I got back to walking. 

Last week, I started running again. I decided to restart my couch to 5k program, (AGAIN). I made it through the first two days and then I spent Friday, Saturday and Sunday sick as a dog. It seems to happen every time I start working out, the best explanation I can find is “irritated airways”. We’re talking full blown flu symptoms, they come on super fast and usually last just long enough to throw me off track, (if I’m lucky, sometimes there’s a wracking cough that lasts for WEEKS). This time, I’ve decided that I’m going to fight back. I got sick on Friday, today is Tuesday and I went back to the gym. My workout was certainly not amazing, but I managed to do week 1, day 3 of the C to 5k program. I’m going to take it easy tomorrow and then on Thursday, I’ll start week 1 over again. I figure there’s no point in moving forward until I can comfortably do the entire week’s program. 

I won’t lie, it’s taken a lot of fighting to keep from getting discouraged. I feel like every time I turn around, something goes wrong. It’s a daily struggle for me not to give up, but I know that if I do, I’m lost. I cannot go back to the dark place where the fibro rules, I don’t have what it takes to pull myself out of that pit again, so my only option is to not fall into it.

If I have to, I will do every week of the program over and over until I can get through, but I don’t think it will come to that. Hopefully, I can acclimate myself to the more strenuous workouts and my body will adjust accordingly. My goal is to finish the entire 9 week run plan before the start of 2017. I may be back at square one, but at least I have the benefit of knowing how my body reacts to it. Fingers crossed!

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