I tend to not discuss the less than stellar parts of life with a chronic illness, with chronic pain. I can talk about the pain easily. And the physical limitations forced upon me by Rheumatoid Arthritis.
But that isn’t all that there is to life with RA.
I struggle with the fatigue the most I think. I’m not talking tired. I’m not talking the kind of fatigue that comes after a great workout or a nice long hike or something like that. I’m talking bone deep, sitting up is too much work kind of tired. The kind of tired that doesn’t fade after a good night’s sleep.
Hurting all the time is taxing. Especially when you have to get up each day and go out into the world. You have to push it aside and force your exhausted body to function. The act of forcing yourself to function creates a second kind of fatigue.
When this sets in I am done. D. O. N. E. I don’t have it in me to keep up with a lot of the niceties of our society. I become more blunt. I have less patience. I pull away from people around me because I can’t trust my tired brain to be nice. At work I stay in my office as much as possible. Out in the world, at stores or restaurants, I try to move through the people around me with minimal interaction. At home I go to bed at 6:30, trying desperately to get enough sleep to be a better, kinder person the next day.
In a normal body, pain is a gift. It is a warning, telling you that something is wrong in your body. In an RA body pain is a constant. With my over achieving immune system attacking my joints, pain is a warning, but it isn’t a warning that I can turn off or fix. The Bible teaches us that pain is often a way God reaches us. In our weakness He is strong. And I believe that. But at the same time….I’m just so tired.
Being worn down by pain and fatigue compounds all of the other every day stresses. Worries about heath, money, friends, family become all consuming and overwhelming. Trying to keep up with hobbies, pets, and even writing make you feel like you’re drowning. All of the things that you normally can carry without any trouble start to feel like anchors you’re dragging around.
We sing a song regularly at church that speaks of being freed and healed by the Lord. In the Bible God promises we’ll have new, whole, unbroken bodies in Heaven. All of the pain of life on Earth will be gone. On the days that I’m at my limit, totally done with the world, I remember those promises from God and try to hold on. And I pray that I’ll sleep well and wake more rested than tried. And I hope that one day a cure for this disease will be found. Even if it comes long after I’m free from this world, I still hope it comes. Because no one should have to live a life this far beyond tired.
Hugs and pain-free days to you all.
(Sorry for the all over the place post. Logic is another thing that goes out the window when I’m beat down.)