Fatigue and Mental Illness

I am very tired today.

A good portion of it is my own fault. I got caught up in playing a computer game until 5:30 am and was back up at 7:00 am to meet a deadline in another computer game. I managed to get back to sleep shortly after 8:00 am and was back up around 10:30, so I’ve had a couple of naps instead of a good night’s sleep. Tonight slumber will come early and in great quantity.

The thing is, I’m used to being this tired. My body aches almost all the time, when it’s not outright hurting. (My back has let up over the past couple of nights, so there’s a silver lining.) And this ache brought on by chronic fatigue is common in mental health patients.

As I’ve written about often, I refer back to my checklists that I keep of my activities during the day. As of this writing, they read: vitals, meds, breakfast, hygiene, exercise, stretch, lunch, read, learn, write, to-do, meds, vitals, dinner, meds, leisure, socialize, meds, vitals, good, hygiene, bed. It’s not a big list, especially since my to-do items are usually few in number. They’re there to help me to remember the basics for the day. (Yes, I have to have help in remembering something as basic as hygiene and going to bed at a set time.) It’s not a difficult list, as the most physically taxing of these items is my daily exercise. And yet I find myself skipping exercise and stretching, and often just forgetting about the book after a certain point in the evening because I’m just too tired to bother with keeping track anymore.

The odd thing is that oftentimes insomnia pairs up with fatigue, and it takes me an hour or longer to drift off to sleep at night, even if all I do is lie down, turn out the light, and close my eyes. You can imagine how one situation exacerbates the other.

Thursdays are my most physically taxing days because of the radio show. While it doesn’t take me a ton of effort to put together the show, I have more prepwork do to than just devising a playlist – I run a weekly trivia contest and feature a “This Day In Rock” segment that requires research before the show. Then I have the expenditure of energy that being on the air pulls out of me. I enjoy it, I get a lot out of it, but it wears me out at the end of three hours of having to put the mask in place without a break.

And it’s that radio show that means I don’t get another nap today until after I’m off the air. Already I’m achy all over and there’s little I can do about it until time for bed tonight.

However, I can say that despite the change in sleep schedule I’ve managed to stick pretty close to my checklist today, which is a good thing. I have to admit that a lot of that is simple bullheadedness. I stayed up to get things done. I wanted to go lie down and sleep for a few hours.

Sometimes doing the right thing is exhausting, especially when you aren’t sure whether being productive or listening to your body is the right thing. I guess we’ll find out in about three and a half hours, at the end of my show.

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