Groundhog blog

You may wonder what shenanigans I’m up to when there is a long gap between posts. More often than not, the answer is simple: more of the same. I’ve been feeling like Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, reliving the same days over and over.

  • More fatigue and spending time in bed? Check.
  • Lots of photos of my pets taken from my bed? Check.

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  • Not enough time with my friends and family? Check.
  • More need for home organization? Check.
  • Not enough home-cooked meals? Check.
  • More time management schemes attempted? Check.
  • Need to get on a better sleep routine? Check.
  • Addicted to reading Jane Austen fan fiction on my phone? Check.

On and on it goes, ad infinitum. This state of affairs tends to hamstring my motivation to write, since I figure nobody wants to hear me endlessly repeating myself.

I can only hope that, like Phil (Bill Murray’s character in the film), I’m incrementally improving at each of these things, and that someday I won’t need to keep coming back to the same lessons over and over. Someday, I’ll get it right.

(Don’t worry – I know that I won’t ever get everything just right. I’m perfectionistic, I admit, but not delusional. Usually.)

Stuff is going on

No pondering for me tonight; I’m not really in a deep-thinking mood. Instead, let’s take a look at what’s been going on in my world this week. I shall list everything in alphabetical order and attempt to use no verb twice.

  • Blogging three times.
  • Catching up on my backlog at work (caused by people taking tons of vacation in December).
  • Cooking / making food every so often.
  • Dealing with paperwork.
  • Doing laundry, laundry, dishes, laundry…
  • Eliminating tons of electronic chargers, cords and USB cables.
  • Enjoying a book called Overwhelmed: Work, Love, and Play When No One Has the Time.
  • Freaking out about Hudson Taylor’s new album.
  • Getting licked on the face by my dog. Often.
  • Going to the gym three times.
  • Growing out my hair.
  • Having a nice long conversation with my dad.
  • Listening to old Aztec Camera.
  • Mailing out holiday cards in dribbles, when I can find time, find addresses, and find stamps.
  • Missing the Blazer game last night. (Just wiped out after the gym.)
  • Not buying any books. (I have purchased exactly one book since November 28th. From Goodwill.)
  • Playing Trivia Crack. (Q said she took a poll at lunch one day: “Who is playing my mom in Trivia Crack right now?” and half the people there said they were.)
  • Purging magazines.
  • Reading Pride and Prejudice fan fiction. (Surprise!)
  • Running to the store for food (as opposed to properly grocery shopping).
  • Sorting through books for Powell’s and/or Goodwill for SMYRC on MLK Day.
  • Spending a lot of time in bed.
  • Trying out a new list-making app called Tick Tick.
  • Vacuuming up endless amounts of animal hair.
  • Watching a Norwegian reality show called Sweatshop.
  • Worrying about Blazer injuries.
  • Writing in my line-a-day journals. (I haven’t missed yet! Woot!)

Nothing too exciting (with the exception of the Hudson Taylor album release, of course). It looks like a lot, all written out, but 10+ of those items were done in bed, and it would be more realistic if I’d put “go back to bed for a while” in between each one! Maybe it’s all the gym time, but I have been pretty tired lately.

Little MS energy audit

My energy levels are all over the place.

Some days, I feel like I can conquer the world, and I am able to do stuff like crazy. Other days, I wonder if I want to expend the effort to roll over in bed. You know, because I’d have to get the dog to scoot over, and then lift my head up and… ugh, it’s just not worth it. (These days outnumber the energetic ones 10 to 1.)

I know on a cognitive level that this is textbook MS stuff; fatigue is present in more than 90% of multiple sclerosis patients. Web MD defines fatigue as “a daily lack of energy; unusual or excessive whole-body tiredness not relieved by sleep” and adds that MS fatigue “comes on more easily and suddenly than normal fatigue.” It does not seem to correlate with the type of MS or the number of years one has had it, the severity of nerve damage, or how severe one’s impairment is.

There is no clear-cut understanding of the causation, either. The fatigue might be related to primary disease factors; for instance, since I have damaged nerves to my left leg, the muscles don’t work well and thus tire easily. Researchers also believe this, in turn, puts more stress on the central nervous system, which could cause overall fatigue. Secondary factors related to MS can also contribute. Medications might have an effect on energy levels; the depression that is common in people with chronic disease could contribute as well.

It could be MS fatigue. It probably is. I know this.

But on a minute-by-minute basis, that’s not how it feels. It feels the same way it always has – like I’m not measuring up. Other people get their work done. Other people finish their chores. Other people take care of their homes. Other people are successful, are competent, are not total and complete losers. (I even know how exaggerated these thoughts are… but I still think them.)

I tell myself I shouldn’t be so lazy, that I should get the hell up and live my life.

I tell myself that just because four different drugs for the fatigue haven’t worked or had horrible side effects, that doesn’t mean I’ll never find one that helps.

I tell myself that all the studies say that my fatigue may improve if I eat well, get exercise, take good care of myself, schedule rest periods, reduce stress, practice mindfulness and simplify my life. (Then I laugh hysterically, because all of those things take energy, and if I had any energy, I’d be a lot more inclined to do them.)

Going down to three days a week at work has definitely helped. The main floor of my house is pretty well under control. I’m keeping up with laundry for the most part. I’ve checked some books out of the library and actually read them. I’ve been blogging a bit more. I’ve managed to see some friends. I’ve even been to the gym, though walking on a treadmill at 3 mph doesn’t seem like an amazing triumph.

It’s just worrisome when lying in bed for 18 hours seems like a more appealing option than any of these – or, at any rate, an option I think I can handle – or when it seems that it takes all my effort to live my life halfway when I want to live it to the full.

Edited to add: After writing this, I went to bed for 90 minutes… but then I got up and went to the gym and took the kids to the movies and went to the grocery store. Now I’m going to bed again, but still – I’m proud. 

Hot Water Heater” by Dylan Pankow / CC BY