Monday, May 21, 2012


I know that tired is normal sometimes. Not enough sleep, working to hard, stress-filled lives. 
I know a lot of tired people. 
I am not normal tired. 
Mum says I always needed a bit more sleep than my brothers. In 2007 I had a week off placement with what at the time myself and my doctor thought was influenza. I felt really sick, so incredibly tired, and essentially a week long migraine. I didn't feel like myself the next week, but figured I wasn't contagious any more, and the doc had given me 5 days off with a med cert. So back to placement I went, plus work in the weekends. I felt so tired still, but was still functioning, I had to.
That's how it kept going until I finished my degree. That was tough. I just thought I wasn't good at studying, that I wasn't very focused. But I managed to finish. I passed that end exam. I qualified. I was plagued with headaches the whole time, panadol was a great friend.
Then I started working, doing a New Graduate programme. That was full time employment, 40 hours a week, plus study... oh yeah, and that's shift work.

That went OK for a little while. A few months. I was so tired. The headaches continued. I wasn't happy, I retreated from social life... and became a bit of a shell of myself. For those who know me, I can be a little quiet to begin with, but really I'm a very social creature. I thrive on social interaction, being around people energises me. I had my boyfriend, who then became my fiancé, and he was and still is fantastic. I had some tough personal stuff to deal with then, and it took a while to get through it. I also was struggling at work, not with work itself, that I was good with, my patients and their families were easy to deal with, I was learning tonnes, but some of the people in my work environment were making it a miserable place to be. I don't know what was going on for them, but it seemed to all be directed at me, and I was already weak. I  did not have the strength in my soul to deal with that at the time too.
I sought help, I saw a counsellor for a while, it helped me get some of my thoughts straightened out, and easier to see and cope with. I also cut back on my work hours to 32 hours a week. My days off I did nothing. The occasional coffee with a friend. Some wedding planning. Mostly I stayed in bed, slept a lot, and watched a LOT of Gilmore Girls. All of it in about 3 months.

I also saw an osteopath for the headaches, a bit of help there was amazing. The low grade headaches faded.
Slowly things got easier as I had our wedding to look forward to, I tried to focus on the good days at work. Started looking for the next job. There was other things to face along the way, but I got there. At the end of the New Graduate programme I eventually found a new position on another ward. They gave me a fresh start, another chance to prove myself. I'm still on that ward, and I'm good. I'm learning all the time. I'm a good nurse. I love going to work. I am friends with my colleagues. I'm still tired, but I am managing more. 
It has taken me a long time to accept that I am not well. Turns out that influenza isn't what I had. I had glandular fever (for those overseas, that's mono). A return visit to the doctor about the tiredness lead to a blood test for IgG, showing I had had the infection.
To add to that, I have always had bowels and a bladder that misbehave. There has been specialist, changes in diet, multitudes of different medicines, and not a whole lot of improvement. Another thing glandular fever gave me, is an increased intolerance to many normal foods. Symptoms became worse, and it was worse, but I didn't realise immediately. Last year I sought out help from a digestive health specialist, and am now avoiding foods that make it all worse (there are a lot), and trying to eat what won't exacerbate the problems (thankfully there is still a lot I can eat). I have what gets classed as IBS-C. It's a broad umbrella term, that encompasses the group of symptoms that aren't able to be identified by disorders such as Coeliacs and Crohns.

I am tired, and that it is OK. I don't totally accept it. I want to be able to do everything everyone else is doing. I don't want to miss out. I don't want to spend half my time sleeping. I will get my energy back, it won't happen overnight, and I do need to take care of myself.
I am trying to listen to my body more. Relax when I need to. Lately that has meant a nap in the afternoon/early evening for the last couple of weeks. The days I skip that I get overtired and grumpy, because there are things to be done, like cooking and dishes... and it drains my energy until I feel like I can barely get up off the couch.

 I try not to whinge and complain about this too much, in fact, I don't think a lot of my friends know this is something I struggle with. Things are getting better. I think. I hope.
I want to move forward, I want children some time in the next few years. I don't want this to hold me back. I don't want this is impact on my ability to be a mum either. The future is never certain, I know that, but it's still all a bit scary, but we'll tackle that when we get there.

I'll leave you with a few pictures of what's been happening in the last few weeks.

Drive home after night shift
Nails :)
Painted nails
Tea with a friend
Breakfast out, before going to the movies
New nephew Bede
<3 Anita

1 comment:

  1. hugs Mummy. take care of yourself... it will get better. loves you.