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The Truth About Endometriosis & Chronic Fatigue, Signed the Very, Very Tired Girl

The Truth About Endometriosis & Chronic Fatigue, Signed the Very, Very Tired Girl

endometriosis chronic fatigue

Last night, I had an amazing sleep. I expected to wake up feeling refreshed and ready for the day. Instead, all I felt was exhaustion. When (at 10 a.m.) I could barely open my eyes or move my limbs, I realized that I was in for a flare-up. But this flare-up wouldn’t consist of the well-known symptoms of Endometriosis, instead, this flare-up would bring a lesser-known symptom—fatigue.

I sunk back to sleep until the afternoon, but no amount of rest would make this go away. I’ve spent the majority of a bright, sunny Saturday drifting in and out of consciousness, aware that I have things to do but am unable to do them.

How does Endometriosis cause fatigue? 

There’s no rhyme or reason for these sudden attacks of fatigue, it just happens. Perhaps it’s because I’m three weeks into a heavy period (thank you, Mercilon), or perhaps my body is just tired of being constantly inflamed. Regardless, there’s nothing I can do about it until it passes. I’m lucky it’s Saturday, so I can consciously allow myself to stay in bed. When I’m faced with fatigue at work, all I can do is try to keep my eyes open and look like I’m doing my job.

This is the reality for Endometriosis sufferers. Most of the time we have to fight through our symptoms to try to maintain some semblance of normality, because life doesn’t stop when you have a chronic disease.

What does chronic fatigue feel like?

Imagine you’ve run a marathon, then jumped on a 14-hour flight in the middle of the night  (there’s a screaming baby sitting in the seat next to you), only to get to your destination and find out that your bags are missing and your hotel is booked for next year.

Imagine this sequence of catastrophic events for an entire week straight – that’s how fatigue feels. Your brain gets foggy, your limbs feel so heavy it’s like they’re made of lead, and you can barely keep your eyes open. There’s no energy to speak, eat, go to the bathroom, or to get dressed. Talking to anyone is nearly impossible because forming a sentence is too exhausting.

When I’m fatigued, I feel nauseated and headache-y as well, which means that I can’t eat anything. Although we mostly hear about weight gain and bloating with inflammatory or hormonal diseases, weight loss is a common problem, too.

Endometriosis has led me to become extremely underweight from this pattern of fatigue and (pain-induced) loss of appetite. I can’t afford to have days on end where eating isn’t possible for me, and there are many women who are in the same position.

Today, the weather was glorious and my friends wanted to day-drink. I was supposed to be looking for flats, spending a session with my personal trainer, and hanging out with my friends. I had to cancel all my plans and spend the majority of the day in bed, only rising because I’m freshly inspired to write this post.

Endometriosis and Chronic Fatigue 

Medical professionals focus a lot on the pain of Endometriosis, but for me, fatigue is just as difficult to manage. (Sometimes, even more so.) I don’t have any tips to give or a magic solution to the problem in this post because my only method of management is to sleep it off until it passes, and then try to make up for the time lost.

It’s debilitating and depressing to be 21 and feeling 80. It’s difficult to explain to people why I need to cancel on get-togethers and other plans. No, I’m not just tired. I feel like I’ve just woken up from a three-century coma in which my veins were injected with cement.

For me, fatigue is one of the most difficult symptoms to manage. Right now, I’m in bed typing this… I’m aware that I’ve hardly eaten all day and that I’m starving. But, too exhausted to even consider chewing anything, let alone cook.

Chronic fatigue, or not, I’m staying positive. 

But today, I’m focusing on what I have managed to do rather than what I haven’t. No, I didn’t manage to tidy all of my room, but I did manage half. I may not have gone out, but I did get dressed. While I didn’t do all of the things I’d planned to do, I did everything I could do to make myself feel better.

Chronic fatigue is just one of the symptoms that I have to deal with mentally rather than medically for now. Yes, it’s frustrating and unpredictable, but I’m fortunate that (for me) the fatigue isn’t constant. I’m often tired, but severe bouts of exhaustion like today’s don’t happen all the time.

I haven’t mentioned fatigue as a symptom to my doctor, but the next time I see him I’m going to because, just like pain and inflammation, fatigue has affected my quality of life. Chronic fatigue needs to be more widely recognized and talked about. I’m going to speak up for the individual who faces chronic fatigue daily. For the individual whose life has come to a complete standstill because of it.

Endometriosis treatment needs to target all areas of the disease, not just a few. And the only way we can push for this to happen is by bringing it to the forefront of the conversation.

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