Tired and Weary
Last updated: March 2020
Exhausted, fatigued, wrung-out, worn-out, emotionally exhausted, physically exhausted, mentally exhausted, maybe spiritually exhausted also. Do any of these apply to you? I know the answer, but if you want to yell it out, go ahead!
Describing the feeling of RA fatigue
I wish there was a specific word for the types of exhaustion felt by rheumatoid disease patients. I’ve tried to find one. The exhaustion goes way beyond our capacity to describe to those without the disease.
Recently my friend had the flu. She called me and said, “I can’t even get out of bed, everything hurts, and I’m exhausted!”I wasn’t very comforting in my response. “Welcome to my daily world,” I said. She was stunned. “You actually feel this way all the time?” And you know my answer. “Yes, this is what I have tried to explain to you."
Sharing our personal experiences of RA fatigue
One of the things that impressed me when I found RheumatoidArthritis.net was that I heard stories similar to mine. I was no longer alone. Someone else understood.
The past month has been one of my most difficult. And I am weary. One verse that speaks to this: “I am poured out like water, and all my bones are out of joint; my heart is like wax; it is melted within me.” (Psalm 22:14). This describes so well what we cope with daily. I am tired of being weary. If I didn’t have coffee, I’d be in bed!!
Fatigue and other health ailments
Most days I can cope with the weary. But, there are days when the weary overwhelms every aspect of my being. Due to a crisis with my family, I ended up staying up all night early this month. It was necessary and I would do it again if need be. However, I have paid for it every single day since. I cannot seem to climb out of the weary hole. So now, the weary is overwhelming to the point that I wonder how much longer I can cope. I know I will continue to cope, but I wonder how.
Iritis: inflammation of the area around the iris
In addition to this very weary, exhausting, no-good flare, I now have a new add-on. Iritis-inflammation of the area around the iris of the eye. Severe photophobia and eye pain greeted me 10 days ago. I have now learned that I have to give up my beloved contact lenses and go back to glasses due to iritis and dry eye. This almost tipped me over the edge. I'm sure we all wonder, "what more can they hit me with?". So, how do I manage?
How I try to manage the fatigue
I’m usually much better at managing. So, what do we do when the weary is overwhelming? Some will tell you to get active and maintain your social life. Others will tell you to get therapy. What’s my solution? I limit my extra activities and spend extra time resting and sleeping. I came home from work on Friday and napped for 3 hours. I went to bed 3 hours later and slept for 13 hours. I read more and talk less. I watch funny shows to boost my mood. I pray and ask for prayers.
How you manage the weary is individual. What works for me might be a disaster for you. Try out several options and decide. Sounds like managing RA meds, doesn’t it?
Hang in there and share your ideas.
Did you know rheumatologist Dr. Donica Baker is answering community questions?
Join the conversation