There’s a 99.9% Chance I’m Tired: Living With Chronic Fatigue

When you see me, I’m probably yawning.  I don’t mean to be rude; I’m just tired all. the. time.

There's a 99.9% Chance I'm Tired Living With Chronic Fatigue

It hits me when I wake up in the morning and I feel like a train ran me over.  It doesn’t matter if I got 4 hours of sleep or 9. I feel exhausted. I just want to curl back up in my fluffy comforter and go back to sleep.  But, I’m a mom, so I can’t. I have to make sure my middle schoolers are up and fixing breakfast. I have to make sure the 3rd grader packs his lunch and practices his piano. Sometimes, I need to get myself ready if it’s a work day.

My daughter asks me if I’m tired. “Always,” I reply. Yesterday, I considered buying one of those t-shirts with the slogan “She knew she could, but she was too tired, so she didn’t”. 

I fight to keep moving, pushing past the temptation to lie down for just 5 more minutes. I know if I do, I won’t move for an hour or more.  So, I clean the kitchen, do the laundry, or force myself to dress and head to the gym.

I have a chronic autoimmune disease. That means my body is always attacking itself, and defending itself from itself. If that sounds exhausting, that’s because it is. It takes a lot of energy to fight off infection, as everyone who has ever had a virus or serious illness can tell you. It takes all you have to heal, to get back to normal.

With a chronic disease, I will never “heal”, or get back to normal. So, I’ve had to accept a new normal in my life: I’m just always going to be tired.

I’ve had to make adjustments to my life.

Even though I take some (doctor-recommended) extra vitamins and supplements to help me keep my energy up, I still just need sleep. I treasure it. I protect it.  So the days of staying out late are pretty much over for me. On date night, we hit the 7:00 movie instead of the 9:00 movie.  I never used to take naps.  Now I often need a short power nap to get through the afternoon and evening.

I don’t work full time. I don’t even work truly part time. My job as a substitute teacher is great because I can tailor my work days not only to the family schedule, but to the needs of my body. I work a full day and come home and crash. Working two days in a row is hard, but doable. Working three days requires a recovery period. I am thankful to my husband for working, let’s face it, more than full time in a job that makes this possible for me.

I have lower expectations for myself at home. Some days, nothing gets done. I won’t do much more than put away the breakfast dishes and throw the dirty clothes in the hamper. I used to feel guilty when the house stayed a mess.  Now, I just accept it. The kids are old enough to help keep the main area of the home presentable, and I try to make up for it on days I’m feeling well.

Are you tired all the time?

Maybe you’re up all night feeding babies, or have insomnia and can’t sleep. Maybe you’re like me and fighting off a disease that makes you exhausted.  Whatever the reason, I hope you’re giving yourself grace. Our job as mothers is just to do the best that we can each day, and that’s going to be different from day to day.  Know your body. Take care of it. Take care of you. 

You’re not alone. I mean, they sell those t-shirts with slogans about being tired for a reason.


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Valerie grew up Naperville, Illinois, and is a Midwestern girl at heart even though she spent 16 years in Phoenix. She moved to Marion in 2016 with her husband, daughter (14), and two sons (12 and 9). Valerie graduated from BYU with a degree in Instrumental Music Education. She is a former band director, a current substitute teacher and accompanist, and an avid reader and crafter.