Thank you for posting on the subject of ‘exhaustion’ as this can have a devastating effect upon people’s lives and, in my experience; the medical profession are not very efficient at identifying the causes or the cures.
At one time, I can recall only too vividly trying to explain to the doctor that I was experiencing ‘different types’ of tiredness and exhaustion. But, because they did not know what was causing it, they insinuated that it was psychological rather than physical.
Fortunately, I know a great deal about mental health issues, so I did not accept the mental health diagnosis and set about trying to identify what was amiss for myself.
The first thing I found was that I suffered from sleep apnoea. After badgering my GP to have my theory tested properly, the specialist hospitals found that this was indeed the case and I was given a Continuous Positive Air Pressure (CPAP) machine. From the very first night of using this device, my exhaustion was markedly improved and I ceased falling asleep at inappropriate times during the day.
This device did not stop another type of exhaustion which intermittently came on at inexplicable moments during my day. I would feel so tired that I would have to stop & sit down for a period of time to ‘recover’ before I could carry on with the day. On one occasion, when in hospital, the nurses expressed their concern for my very low blood pressure. This was the first time I had been made aware of this condition and one of its many symptoms was the sort of exhaustion and/or passing out that I had previously been suffering.
With this knowledge, I was able to do something positive to ‘manage’ the condition so that, as and when it happened, I could take appropriate action to mitigate the worst effects.
The third type of tiredness arose from the chronic pain and discomfort emanating from my anus. People(like doctors) who may not suffer personally from chronic (long-term) conditions, are prone to disbelieve that they can cause tiredness and exhaustion. When conditions are temporary , there is much more ‘hope’ and ‘belief’ that things might get better; When conditions are ‘chronic’, it is much more difficult to retain that hope and belief – because it can often be ‘delusional’.
After my operation and stoma , this type of tiredness disappeared along with the original physical condition.
There was just one other type of tiredness that I suffered from, and that was accompanied by severe headaches; or more accurately ‘eye-aches’. Now! I might have diagnosed this as a form of migraine, were it not for a fortuitous observation by my wife that my glasses were (in her words) ‘filthy’. I dutifully cleaned the lenses and Hey-presto! The ‘eye-ache’ and accompanying tiredness was resolved.
Another story that springs to mind in this regard is that of a friend of mine who commiserated with me at the time because she was having similar symptoms of exhaustion. She was less fortunate than me, in that she had ‘confidence’ in the doctors when they diagnosed an ill-defined ‘mental’ (psychosomatic) condition. Indeed, she spent a period of time on a mental health ward of the local hospital taking all sorts of psychotropic drugs which did not help at all. Eventually she was diagnosed with Coeliac Disease and went onto a wheat-free diet. The ‘cure’ for her tiredness was miraculous.
There are, of course many other conditions like diabetes, anaemia, etc, that can also cause symptoms of tiredness.
The moral to this story must surely be: to pursue every avenue for potential physical causes, before concluding that exhaustion might be psycho-somatic.
As is my wont, I have written some rhymes on the subject of tiredness, so I will share just three of these that seem to be most pertinent to the field of stomas:
I GET TIRED.
My chronic illness makes me tired
and so it’s hard to get inspired.
So what I choose to do instead
is think that I should stay in bed.
But laying there I am inclined
to get more tired in my mind.
Then as that tiredness is built
I start to feel a twang of guilt.
To myself I chide and scoff
there must be people much worse off.
Just look around and you will see
there’s many people worse than me.
But then my mind will once again
focus on my chronic pain.
And whilst I may have empathy
my instinct is to apathy.
Because I do not want to shirk
I’ll force myself to do some work.
That’s in the hope that I’ll get tired
in ways that might be still admired.
So up I get and off I go
and smile, so people will not know
that all that time, way deep inside
my true feelings I will hide.
Because my feelings are repressed
I will tend to get depressed.
But still my duties I’ll fulfil
though I know it makes me ill.
But I get tired of it all
chronic illness, big and small.
And sometimes when it gets too rough
I simply feel I’ve had enough.
B. Withers 2012
TIREDNESS AND ILLNESSES.
I think UC, Crohn’s and IBS
will all link up with tiredness.
Also there’s some affirmation
of this with bowel inflammation.
If you lose blood through your poo
when you sit down upon the loo
then you should take some extra care
and watch for other symptoms there.
If lots of blood runs from your bum
anaemia can sometimes come.
In much research it has transpired
that this can make you very tired.
With such diseases comes much pain
which causes energy to drain.
And if it’s with you constantly
you will tire consequently.
Chronic illness has some renown
for really dragging people down.
So if you don’t feel very well
within fatigue you may well dwell.
When your diet is not quite right
then you might lose your appetite,
and if you go right off your food
it’s likely you will be subdued.
Illness can create the stress
to put you under great distress.
Then there is the loss of sleep
where tiredness is what you reap.
These chronic illnesses aren’t kind,
they stress the body and the mind.
Because they are so difficult
tiredness is one result.
B. Withers 2013
My tiredness can overwhelm
to make me feel I’ve lost the helm.
Sometimes it’s like a little boat
sinking fast but still afloat.
As there’s no one else around
to this sinking boat I’m bound.
Tossed and battered by each wave
waiting for its watery grave.
All around dark clouds of gloom
intensify my fears of doom.
In this relentless stormy sea
I foresee the end of me.
I’ve heard of instincts to survive
and hidden strengths to stay alive.
Mine’s never been a half-filled cup
instead I feel like giving up.
My time has come, I can’t pretend
my tether’s come right to the end.
The pressure’s caused my will to crack
like last straw broke the camel’s back.
I can no longer have belief
that I will somehow get relief.
I’ve reached the point where I can’t cope
and now I feel I’ve lost all hope.
The more I try, the more I find
that tiredness engulfs my mind.
Every muscle I have strained
but now I’m weary, worn-out, drained.
My exhaustion is so deep
that all I want to do is sleep.
So now I will lay down my head
if I awake, I won’t be dead.
B. Withers 2012