Fatigue (also called exhaustion, tiredness, lethargy, languidness, languor, lassitude, and listlessness) is a subjective feeling of tiredness. Fatigue can be alleviated by periods of rest and can have physical or mental causes.
Medically, fatigue is a non-specific symptom, which means that it has many possible causes.
Perfectionism is a personality trait characterized by a person’s striving for flawlessness and setting excessively high performance standards.
Again a definition taken from Wikipedia. Or two rather. One on fatigue, the other on perfectionism.
A few words on perfectionism before I move onto fatigue: The work ‘perfect‘ can also mean ‘completeness‘. For me it is a bit of a double-edged sword. I don’t believe in perfectionism, simply because I think there is no such thing as completeness in this world. It would mean whatever it is would be over, done, finished. That in my eyes is not possible, well, where human beings are concerned anyway. No-one is perfect and it is exhausting trying to strive for that. Yet, I do find I occasionally have absurdly high standards on myself in my day to day life. Things, where the common sense me thinks ‘don’t be ridiculous, no-one is expecting this of you, why do you expect it of yourself?‘
I guess that’s where this damn disease plays such a trivial role. It tires you out. But not like a night or two partying would do. Due to this obstruction you cannot breath properly, hence your body deals with a completely different way of coping with normal day-to-day things which for others, non-ISS people, doesn’t pose a problem whatsoever.
For a long time I had been telling myself off for ‘wanting to just drop things and doing nothing, regaining strength‘, basically being lazy. Since getting to know this disease properly, something that has only been happening these last few weeks, I have started to acknowledge and learn that I am in fact not lazy when I can’t be bothered to do anything other than just nothing.
Don’t get me wrong. It is not a simple ‘Oh, I have an illness which has this side effect, I can use this as an excuse for not doing anything‘. Far from it. I think (and please correct me if I am wrong!) that with this condition we tend to build up this immense amount of pressure (perfectionism in a way) because we ‘just want to be normal‘, be it a conscious or subconscious process.
I can only speak for myself when I say this, but it absolutely frustrates me when I find myself struggling to bring up the energy to master daily life. Yes, I work (more or less full time). I am a single parent to a wonderful, demanding, typical five year old boy (who is a proper! boy). And I am actually mad enough to go running as well (something I need as a kind of balance to my life to prevent me going insane). So my day consists of getting up at stupid o’clock to get ready for work, get my son ready for school, go to work, do the work, go home, sort out myself and my son, then sort out the daily chores, squeeze in an hour of me-time by running and in all that trying to find some space to regain strength and look after myself.
Please understand, I appreciate to the fullest that this constilation of circumstances in any situation is physically and mentally draining. But now imagine it when you cannot breath properly. When you cannot draw in the amount of oxygen that you would need to cope with it differently. When you feel, on a day to day basis, as if you were being slowly choked.
It is angering, frustrating and so damn upsetting. So you want to give more. Or I do. I want to show that I am no different from anyone else, maybe to myself, maybe to others. Maybe both. That I can manage. But why? Why is there this need to do that? Why can it not be dropped and accepted? Why can I not just say ‘you know what, I am tired, wiped out, fatigued. I can’t do any more for now.‘
I guess the answer is ISS. Because it shows you that medically you are not normal. But at the end of the day, that is all you want to be….