Blogging. Who would have ever guessed that blogging would be something that I would enjoy. I tend to be a quiet, reserved, loner which doesn’t sound like a personality that would enjoy something as public as blogging – or does it? Through my blogging world, I can be quiet, reserved, and alone, but I can also be expressive, be an advocate, a teacher, a source of support and encouragement. Having said that, I haven’t written an in-depth blog post in months. Lately, as quickly as the thought of writing comes into my head, that thought is also consciously shoved right back out. Why? Because the tired factor seems to rule my life now. I am forever tired, and frequently all I want to do is rest my body and brain. Then, rest a little bit more.
The History of The Tired Factor
Here it is in black and white. A simplified timeline of the various factors that are contributors:
Babies & Toddlers
Kids & Teens
Living with depression
A Special Life – Always
Life seems like one long string of thoughts that go something like, “Once I get past ___, then it’ll be easier. Then, I can rest.”
Rest will come once the babies start sleeping through the night; once they are out of diapers; once we are past the terrible two’s; after I don’t have to buckle all three into car seats; when they are bigger and I don’t have to do so much for them. There will be more time to rest when they can drive and we don’t have to run them around all the time; when they move out and we don’t have to stay up worrying about them; once I am finished with college, adjust to working life, and adjust to nursing life; once I get Jessica’s care squared away, everyone’s health issues are under control and my medicine doses are balanced; once the kids have graduated from college, I get caught up on my budget, and caught up at work; after the kids are all settled into their adult lives … then, I’ll have the tired factors behind me.
Then, I Can Rest
As with most parents of children with extra needs, I had a point in time fixed in my brain, a deadline of sorts, to have life organized, planned out and settled. That magical date was the time at which my adult child aged out of school. By then, all would be figured out because it had to be. Because it just did. Was there any alternative to that plan? Of course not, because if the plan didn’t fall into place by then – well… let me introduce the black hole.
Was everything organized and settled when my adult daughter graduated?
Nope. There was not a job. My daughter wasn’t eligible for additional training. There were no day centers in our community. She couldn’t independently manage her self-care needs, and could not cook nor prepare herself a meal independently. Jess did not have skills for independence. It wasn’t time to rest yet. There was still much to do.
What about after the siblings graduated? Did that help?
Nope. One almost died, so there’s that. Then what? Oh yeah, add in early menopause, Hormone Replacement Therapy, followed by surgery – all in one year. Was it time to rest yet? I looked for answers to make that happen. But, I worked full-time 12-hour shifts on my feet. Then, I went home to care for Jess full-time.
A job change to a less stressful unit might help, right?
You would think. I had hope. But, nope. Why? That cursed black hole. I still didn’t have my daughter taken care of figuratively or literally. She was having to stay alone sometimes while I worked. It was unacceptable. I kept searching for answers, new ideas and theories. I could rest when I got that all figured out. Surely that was right around the corner.
A job closer to home would help, right?
I thought so. I had an hour for lunch and would be near enough to go home for a bit, feed her lunch, get her settled for the afternoon. Nope. That job didn’t work out. My work environment was inflexible. Back to the drawing board I went, and back to my first, extremely exhausting job I went. Apparently it still wasn’t time to rest just yet. If only I could figure out day time care for my daughter, then I could rest.
An adult day center close to work? Could that be the key?
Nope. A big fat NOPE. Jess couldn’t handle the new day center, and the day center couldn’t handle Jess. It was awful.
Read here about why it didn’t work: The Beginning of The End and The Final Accommodation. I was getting old fast. Some days I couldn’t get out of bed. I had to figure something out. We were crashing.
What about giving up my career to stay home and care for my daughter myself? Then, I can rest. Right?
Nope. But why not? I wasn’t sure. Nothing felt like rest. I felt like I was going to be tired forever and a day. For one thing, living with depression can be pretty exhausting all by itself. But depression is not new to me, it has been my constant companion for a long time.
Stress still ruled my life. Handing another persons self-care 24/7 for 27 years straight is sure to cause some weariness in of itself. In addition, I was still trying to get her Waiver program up and running and organized. There was a steep learning curve.
There was also significant stress due to a limited income. I’m a beast with budgeting, though, and I was surviving. So, what else was it? Why was I still so tired? Why did it feel like I never got enough rest? My hair started falling out. I ignored it. It kept falling out. I knew something was wrong – but I ignored it some more.
Eventually, the continued hair loss and ongoing low energy issues caused a panic. Finally, a doctor visit.
Then, A New Diagnosis
There was an explanation (or at least a known contributor) to my never-ending tiredness. There was a reason that there was never enough rest. I was diagnosed with Thyroid Disease. Hashimoto’s – an autoimmune disorder. (more about Hashimoto’s)
Unfortunately, a few months later, I got another diagnosis – Pneumonia. I never knew how hard it was to have pneumonia. There were days I thought I would not recover, and I cried. Me, the non-crier.
Thankfully, after medication, a special diet, supplements, and a year later, I have experienced improved health.
Now, Can I Rest?
Well, sometimes, maybe, a little bit. So, I feel like a ridiculous perpetual complainer when I say – I am still so tired!
Why? I am still in the cycle of, “Once we get past ___, then I can rest, relax, and feel better.”
I am learning there will always be that one more thing before it’s time to rest. For example, all of this 4th year of med school with my son, I have had thoughts like – this might be our last Thanksgiving together for a while – this might be our last Christmas together for a while – these visits home might be the last for a while.
These thoughts lead me to push myself to get some extra things done, and they also lead to letting other things go. We’ve been on a fun trip to Savannah for Match Day and St Patty’s Day, and we’ve been to Macon, GA for graduation. Then, a drive on down to see baby #3 in Valdosta, GA – another reason to push myself, and to let other things go.
Because we are past med school graduation, didn’t that mean it was time for a party? Of course it did!! So, I organized a party to celebrate the new MD. That party was the past Friday and I would have never made it without the help of my baby #3 and my mom. It was a fun gathering, and I spent the next two days out of commission and on the couch.
Now, is it time to rest? I am tired. I feel like I will be tired forever. Maybe I can rest after we…
This is not the first time I have written about being tired. Do You Hear Me? I Am Tired is one of my most popular posts ever.
Hypothyroidism. An Open Letter to My Family My family is great and very supportive, but I know that is not the case for everyone.