exhaustion

Hi. It’s 4pm (at the time of writing, at least), and honestly, I am knackered.

This is not at all unusual. I typically have a 2-to-3 hour nap most days, because I am just so wiped out all the time. And I don’t even do anything! Today I went to one lecture, came home, ate a hasty lunch, and then went out to a seminar. So, that’s a few hours of sitting down and about half an hour of walking time total. And I feel like I’ve just run five miles. It’s infuriating, and it makes me feel like the laziest being alive.

Except I know I’m not. I know I’m expending so much energy simply being –  staying alive, essentially – that I’ve got so little left for doing anything else. There’s also the fact that physical fatigue and mental fatigue are two different things, and I’m experiencing both. When I was healthier (not even necessarily in remission, just healthier than I am now) I’d come home after a long day of studying and take a nap, not because I was tired physically but because my brain needed a rest. After my nap, I’d be up and about again with no issues. But physical and mental fatigue together is an entirely different beast. Sleeping doesn’t seem to help at all, but it’s more or less required anyway. I’ll find myself slumping down onto my bed without meaning to, or lying down just to ease bloat in my gut, and the next thing I know three hours have passed, it’s dark outside and there goes my entire afternoon. Fun.

It’s difficult, since I know I’m probably not being as responsible about sleep as I should. A quick look at my sleep tracker app reveals that only once in the last week have I exceeded seven hours of sleep, with my current average sleep per day sitting at six hours and 20 minutes. This is clearly not ideal. But the main contributor – the main reason I go to bed at 1.30am instead of a much more sensible time, such as, say, 11pm – is that the fatigue pushes me to stay up even more to compensate for it. Think about it: if I wake from my afternoon nap at 5.30pm, having done no work, and then need to make dinner, the only time left for me to do any work (and the only time I’d feel capable of doing any work) is after dinner. I’d want to cram in as much as possible, and keep going for as long as possible, in order to maximise my potential and keep up. So, it eats into my sleep time. It’s the guilt, really: the guilt that comes from feeling like I’m not doing anything, that I need to keep up with everyone else to be worthy of my place at university, and the fear that I could so easily let go of all my discipline and let days and days wash away on a tide of slumber.

I just want to have the energy to do more than the bare minimum. I want to go out on a Saturday to look at clothes in multiple shops, to stroll down the seafront and just enjoy the experience, to grab a coffee and read and then go food shopping on the way back home. That doesn’t sound like much, but honestly, I could only attempt one of those things on any given day before feeling wiped. I want to have the energy to go for a walk – or even a run! – in the sunshine, rather than shutting myself away inside my room to recharge and waking up when it’s dark outside.

This cycle is terrible and unsustainable, I know. Honestly, I don’t want to let it continue any longer than I have to – but I’m stuck in the limbo between gastroenterologist appointments. I don’t know what our next step is going to be. I’m just living from one day to the next at this point. But that’s okay. It won’t last forever.

Disclaimer: I had to take one of those aforementioned two-hour naps in the middle of writing this! 

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