Chronic pain is exhausting.
Because pain is exhausting, but then when that pain stops you from sleeping, cutting down the hours and quality that you need to function, it ruins any chance your body has for extra rest to recover from that pain your body has been through.
So you wake up tired.
While it’s not exactly the same, if you suffer from anxiety attacks it’s like when you have a particularly bad one and then you wake up the next morning feeling like complete trash.
Except it’s a lot of the time.
It’s sort of like waking up with a hangover, but worse… I’ve never woken up after a big night feeling as bad as I can feel because of my endometriosis and chronic pain.
I first started to write this post months ago because of something I saw on Instagram that really hit home.
This resonated with me to the point that I was almost in tears.
This is something that people who don’t live with a chronic health/pain condition will never understand, which is good, you’re lucky that you can’t get it because that means you don’t have to feel like this.
As much as your average stressful, busy week where you’ve gotten less hours of shut eye than you needed is valid, this is so far beyond that.
But please, just stop giving me advice that would help you when you’re tired.
Getting an early night seems like a great idea, however I slept for 13 hours and I still can’t get out of bed.
Some mornings I wake up and I can’t roll over, let alone get up.
And contrary to popular belief, getting up and not sleeping all day isn’t going to make me feel better, because I probably lost enough sleep last night in pain to warrant more than a nap and again, can’t actually get out of bed.
I have so many days where I can’t physically get up, so while just kick starting your day might work wonders for you, it’s not achievable for me so much of the time.
Put perfectly in Lees’ post, ‘we run on a 4-5/ 10 Pain 24/7, 7 days a week’, and you will probably never be able to comprehend how exhausting that is.
To put that into perspective, a surgeon explained the pain scale out of 10 as:
1-3 present but manageable
4-6 need to change what you’re doing due to pain
7-10 pain needing you to present in hospital
I should note that I’ve never presented in emergency because of my endometriosis (even though almost every member of my family has tried to call an ambulance for me at some point) because my GP told me they would turn me away.
From my experience with this condition and medical professionals, I don’t doubt that and considering my 7+ pain makes me unable to sit I’m not going to be spending hours in a waiting room for him to be right.
I like to refer to my baseline pain as π, low and never ending.
It’s really never not present in some form.
The physiotherapist I am seeing as part of a clinical trial to manage my pain has made me think about my exhaustion from another angle too, my body is constantly operating in ‘fight or flight’, trying to protect me from the pain I am experiencing.
Our bodies are not meant to spend so much time like this, it uses too much energy, which makes understanding why I’m so exhausted a little easier.
Easier for me to understand, to stop beating myself up over.
Because when you’re not in pain that should stop you from doing things at that moment but you still have to cancel plans, or miss classes because you’re physically exhausted, it gets to you.
It’s hard not to feel like you’re just lazy or useless.
Because I’m just so so so tired.
But having people who don’t experience it kind of get it helps, because then I can get a little less worked up about what everyone around me is thinking about my inability to function a lot of the time.