Honesty Time

Keeping it real since 2013

Fighting Fibro Fatigue

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Yesterday was our closing show at Dracula.

A little over a week ago I was suddenly put on board for a new job that has been way more work than I ever expected it to be back when I first applied months ago.

Probably because the company hired me for a much higher position than which I applied. But. You know. Life.

So as you see, there has been some overlap between Dracula shows and trying to get in the swing of things with my new job.

To go from almost no work to 500%, full-steam ahead, work all day, every day has been a special sort of intense hell for my fibro-ridden body.

At the very least, I can say that I am stoked about my new job, and Dracula has been an experience that I will forever cherish.

I haven’t been home at all, except to sleep for a few hours, which have not been nearly enough. So how I am I even conscious enough to be writing this? Here are my tips:

1. Love what you do and make your work count

If you have a chronic illness and you work, and you don’t love what you do, you are doing it wrong. The only reason that I make it through a day at Job 1 and then can keep on truckin’ into Job #2 at the theatre is because both jobs provide me with great joy. I have a reason to return to work each and every day, which makes dragging my mushy brained body out of bed worth it.

2. Have support – both at home and at work

I don’t like to let on, wherever I am, that I don’t feel well. I don’t lead with my sick foot, but sometimes I become annoyed when people ask me why I always look so exhausted. Like my BRF (bitchy resting face), it’s just something I can’t control. So when I hear it a lot, I feel compelled to explain that yes, I am exhausted. No, it will not change. And yes, I can deal with it.

I’ve learned that what this ends up giving me is co-workers who know to ask “How are you doing?” rather than “Why do you seem so exhausted?” or co-workers who know that I need help for simple tasks like lifting a box or carrying costumes.

It goes without saying that having help at home is invaluable. I needed litter this weekend, but I had zero time in which to pick up some. My parents gladly went out and bought me 2 bulk sized containers of cat litter, so that I don’t have to worry about it. My mother woke up at the same time as I did yesterday so that she could make breakfast and lunch for me. That was 10 extra minutes that I had to do something I needed to do to get ready for the day with less frantic haste. Every extra second counts. Every helpful question, versus a stare filled with misunderstanding, makes a world of difference.

3. Make your sleeping time count

I tend to fall asleep to the sweet, sweet sounds of Food Network or the Cooking Channel. I set the TV to a very low volume, which acts like white noise and lets my mind wander. However, sometimes the light distracts and the noises keep my mind running. The past few days I have simply fallen into bed and not turned on the TV or the computer. I have also been checking the temperature of the house and outside so I spend less time tossing and turning through the night because I am too cold or too hot.

Think of all of the little things that wake you up at night. Can you change it? Fix it.

4. Wake up earlier. Yes, I said it and I swear it doesn’t contradict #3

If I set my alarm for 7 full-well knowing that I will be late to work if I don’t jump out of bed at that first alarm, I get stressed, my sleep is less peaceful, and I don’t have adequate time to let my body leave slumber-land. It’s that quick, urgent rousing from my slumber that leaves me groggy and irritated throughout the day.

Instead, I set an alarm for 6:30 and for 7. I snooze through the 6:30 alarm, and let myself wake a little more with each snooze cycle so that by 7, I can get up and get ready without my heart beating out of my chest after being startled out of bed by stress and a late alarm.

5. Happy jams on your drive to keep you active and alert, then have an earworm keeping you going to the beat of life all day

When I know that I’m going to have trouble driving because of my grogginess, I put on tunes that I can sing along with. It keeps me alert and kind of wakes up my froggy, sleepy voice. This is almost always show tunes or 90s throwback music for me. S Club 7 sing-a-longs and my favorite belty, screlty Broadway tunes wake up my mind, body, and soul.

Bonus points if one of the songs gets stuck in your head, because then you have a cool beat to set your pace to for the rest of the day.

6. Something to look forward to

This sounds silly but I am really looking forward to having a ganglionectomy on Tuesday because it means I have to sleep on Monday. It also means that I have to stay home and sleep on Tuesday and Wednesday. It will be my chance to rack up some quality time with my bed and my cats. Hallelujah. I’m also looking forward to the first day of camp, which will be when all of the hard work at my new job will fall into place, I will be able to see the fruits of our labors and see that the insanity of the pre-camp rush does have an end.

7. Get up

Seriously. Just get up. Thinking about how exhausted I am and how much I want to stay in bed never helps. So I have to just do. Sometimes, once I get going, and let myself have a good day, I forget about how exhausted I am. Yes, I will absolutely collapse into bed later, but if I just go for it, I can try to keep my mind off of the exhaustion.

 

 

Does anybody else have other tips on how to wake up or fight exhaustion or get the best sleep? I would certainly appreciate any other tips out there, as my camp opens next week and I know the exhaustion is going to continue for a while.

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Author: Allyssa Ellen

A costumer, a makeup artist, an educator, and a librarian, all rolled up into one convenient, fun-sized package.

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