Fa·tigue [fuh-teeg] noun

I slept 11 hours last night, and I could have slept more.

The last few days have been pretty busy for me at work.  By Wednesday night I felt wasted.  Not binge-drinking wasted.  A wasted where your whole body hurts and is exhausted at the same time.  I slept about 7 hours that night, and woke up the next morning already tired.

It affects your brain, too.  You feel cloudy and tired and you can’t think clearly.  I left the house yesterday morning ready to go to work, panicked and drove all the way back to the house thinking I had forgotten to put makeup on.  Got back, looked in the mirror and realized I HAD in fact completely put it on.  Scary.  Your brain isn’t making all the connections it should.

It can leave you feeling exhausted, overwhelmed and wondering how you’re going to make it through the day. You just feel weary. And all you want is to have energy and to feel normal.

I don’t feel like this every day.  But when I am going through a flare, if I overdo it, or don’t take care of myself… this is how it is.  It isn’t a case of just wanting to sleep in a little, being lazy or is something that is all in my head.

Fatigue isn’t a symptom that shows on the outside.  You may look a little tired, but most people can’t see it as they would a rash or hair loss.  It is a silent symptom that unless you tell someone, they aren’t going to even know you have.

Unfortunately, as many as 80% of lupus patients experience fatigue. Experts aren’t sure what actually causes the fatigue, and they don’t really know how to treat it.  Sometimes people can have their lupus symptoms and problems pretty well under control, but still have fatigue.  This is just another lupus mystery.

So, as someone with lupus, what can you do?

  • Get plenty of sleep.  Aim for 10 hours.  See how you do with different amounts of sleep.  Find your happy spot and aim for that or more every night.
  • Try to get some naps in! I am not a napper, but if I am feeling tired, I will try to take a nap.
  • Don’t overdo it with activities and exhaust yourself. But, that doesn’t mean do nothing.  Try to stay active and if you can, get in some exercise.  Just take a short walk!
  • Prioritize your activities.  Figure out what you have to do that day that is important. Put your energy towards that activity or event and let the rest go if you don’t have the energy to do anything else.  Be flexible and don’t be hard on yourself if you aren’t able to get everything done that you would have liked.  Do it another time.  Let it be.
  • Eat real food.  Eat foods that are going to give you energy and not bog you down.  Vegetables, fruits, protein. Real, simple food.  Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. Don’t rely on caffeine or other stimulants.  They aren’t going to help in the long run, and you’ll only end up crashing later on.
  • Communicate with your loved ones when you are feeling tired.  Try not to complain but just explain that you are tired, and that you are doing the best you can with what energy you have.

Try not to feel overwhelmed.  Do what you can and just let the rest of it go.

Get some sleep!

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