I suppose yet ANOTHER explanation is warranted to all y'all who have been sending me emails and leaving comments on CHEESE, etc., regarding the disappearance of CHEESE CHAT, the MS Tapestry Project, and general inquiries about my health. I really haven't been ignoring you, in spite of trying desperately to IGNORE the overwhelming fatigue I have been experiencing of late.
I don't like to post/write about MS fatigue...particularly my OWN. Somehow, like millions of "others" who have never experienced MS fatigue, I still hold court in the back of my mind, trying to determine if I am REALLY experiencing a debilitating symptom of MS...or, if I've just succumbed to being LAZY.
There...I dared to say it. Most of us with MS DO think/wonder that about ourselves anyway whenever we are battling neurological fatigue...one of the primary symptoms of Multiple Sclerosis. And since I can only speak for myself, I'll just say "I" worry about balancing this crazy thought process between lazy inertia and literal neurological dysfunction that creates MS lassitude.
Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary defines "lassitude" as: A condition of the body, or mind, when its voluntary functions are performed with difficulty, and only by a strong exertion of the will; languor; debility; weariness. I'd have to agree with dear ol' Webster once again...my performance of late has been "with difficulty". And it has ONLY been because of strong exertion I am getting through my work days. I find myself feeling exhausted (but not necessarily "tired/sleepy") routinely each day. Nor do I feel depressed (said just for all of the armchair psychiatrists, such as myself).
What I struggle with mentally when trying to FORCE myself through my MS lassitude is determining WHAT activities might actually benefit me, i.e., give me more energy and less fatigue, and what activities of my daily life will end up zapping me of my strength, like Kryptonite sucking Superman's will to live. And I have to admit, I am NOT very good at making these judgments for myself. I know exercise DOES increase my energy stores in the long run (no pun intended), but OVER-EXERTION physically zaps me. I know that sometimes, if I just "push" myself to get to work, once I am there I feel fine...other times, once I am there, I feel like I want to die...if for no other reason, than to LAY DOWN! It is a physical balancing act that seems to change on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis.
And then there is the mental/emotional toll MS lassitude/fatigue takes...I'm REALLY skilled at convincing myself I am simply being "lazy" versus neurologically impaired. I sometimes jokingly refer to my fatigue as "MS Assitude" or "MS Molassitude"...or "FAT eeg" because I am overweight. Somehow making fun of my inability to get up and go because of a character flaw seems much more palatable/acceptable to the general public than trying to explain a HIDDEN neurological condition...everyone can relate to LAZY, yet few can relate to true MS lassitude...just like everyone can related to the assumed pain of a broken bone. A broken leg is tangible, visualized, experienced by many...MS remains an obscure, poorly understood disease.
I no longer experience intense rage when a well-meaning (or even NOT well-meaning) person tries to relate to my fatigue by aligning with me and saying, "Oh, yes...I'm really tired, too". My usual response NOW is to say, "I'm sorry you are not getting enough sleep" (my prior response used to be thought in my head: "Hey, there's a difference between being a lazy a$$/staying up partying too late/__fill in the blank__ than what I have going on!")...and I leave it at that. I seriously believe unless someone has EXPERIENCED MS lassitude, they have absolutely NO background to base their comment on, EXCEPT generalized tiredness. It's not their fault really...and I'm certainly not WISHING MS fatigue on them!
But, I DO still experience my own form of "MS lassitude guilt"...somehow, I can easily cut the ignorant slack (those who have no idea what I am experiencing, yet want to relate), but I continue to beat my own character with a stick. It was ingrained in me, after all, to NEVER be lazy...to work hard for what I get...to go the extra mile. I'm lucky now to make it the extra BLOCK, let alone a mile! Somehow, in my mind, if I only "try" harder, I will be granted magical points on my success card...unfortunately, the only one REALLY keeping score on that card is ME.
So, as you can see, this post is being written from my place of MS lassitude guilt. I am trying to explain away to y'all the WHY'S of my falling short of my OWN expectations of myself (because NONE of YOU have demanded anything from me!)...the reasons and rationales WHY I have not scheduled another CheeseChat time or continued my efforts toward the MS Tapestry Project. I've been sinking in the quick sand of fatigue and too PRIDEFUL to admit this publicly. What you don't know can't hurt you, right???
But what I choose to NOT know or IGNORE can and does hurt me...so I'm letting you in on my little secret. I'm effing tired/fatigued and I can't manage any more right now than simply getting out of bed each day and going to work. I "should" be thankful I still CAN get out of bed and go to work..but frankly, I'm not all that thankful in the moment...I'm wallowing in a severe case of a bad ASSITUDE...LOL...