Linking up for thinking out loud Thursday because this post has nothing to do with the topics I usually blog about. It is what I’m thinking about though, so…if you came for a completely random topic today, you’re in luck.
Do you want to know what an autoimmune crash feels like? No, you don’t. I hope you never have to *know*, but you can imagine. So imagine being sleep deprived. Maybe you got less than 4 hours of sleep last night, or maybe you can’t remember the last time you slept 6 hours straight; that kind of sleep deprived. You do everything sluggishly, everything takes more energy than it should, your thinking is slower and fuzzier, and when you do find a coherent thought you want to articulate, there’s no guarantee it will get out of your mouth intact.
Now imagine, after that, that you got a good night’s sleep. Several in a row, in fact. And…nothing changes. That’s what autoimmune crap (technical term) does. Sleep isn’t enough. Rest isn’t enough. Healthy eating isn’t enough; specialty diets aren’t enough; you don’t have enough energy to start one of those anyway. You can’t do enough to make it go away, but you can’t do little enough to make it go away.
Of course, autoimmune diseases have many symptoms beyond fatigue. For me it’s joint aches, sun sensitivity, migraines, feeling too hot in rooms where other people are cold or vice versa. But the overarching feeling is of not enough. Most of the time I’m fine – high activity, normal energy – but the autoimmune monster is always lurking, keeping me wondering when the next time will be I won’t be strong enough to keep it away.
Two weeks ago I was strong enough to run a half marathon; last week I wasn’t strong enough for a marathon lab day. I knew some fatigue would happen; I just planned to rest it away. But as soon as my head hit the pillow that afternoon, I crashed instead…and now rest isn’t enough.
P.S. Please don’t worry about me: I have medication, and a doctor, and an appointment with that doctor tomorrow. I wrote this, I guess, because it’s hard to explain how not fine you feel when you look perfectly fine. And maybe this can help someone else?