Pretty much as soon as that last pesky stitch came out, I finally felt better. Better than I had in a year. The low iron and the tonsillitis (and tonsillectomy) were nearly back to back, leaving me vaguely sick but outwardly functional for most of a year. It’s only since “coming out of it” that I’ve been able to define the types of tiredness that I’ve felt.
Tiredness Vs Fatigue
We all get tired. Parents. Non-parents. Carers. Anyone! There is no need to compete about this, nor is there anything “wrong” with being just tired. I’m going to add in here #NotADoctor but to me, if we weren’t tired, we wouldn’t need sleep daily. Tired is not bad, it’s just one state of being that we have. However, in my experience, tired is not the same as fatigued.
Based on what I’ve felt, there are different types of fatigue. The fatigue I felt when I had low iron was very different to the viral fatigue I felt when my tonsillitis turned chronic. The big difference between “normal” tiredness and fatigue is that when you are tired you don’t want to do everyday things like put a load of washing on, but you know you can. When you are fatigued, you genuinely don’t know if you can carry a basket to the laundry. You don’t know if putting the laundry on means you won’t have the energy to spend on brushing your teeth.
Which Am I?
Again, because I don’t think you can say this too many times on the internet, #NotADoctor. So how do you know if you are tired or fatigued? Well, you as a person probably don’t clinically know. But I do think being aware of what you feel is a good indicator. I don’t know if you can tell the difference between tired and fatigued if you haven’t distinctly felt them. But what I do know is that being tired all the time should not be a normal. Talk to your doctor if you do feel tired all the time. Yes, you can make positive changes at home – many people have wind-down routines before sleep, others have smells, heats or weights that makes them comfortable to sleep – these are all good things if they make you feel good, but to me they are complimentary. So they need something to compliment. Which is making sure that your body is ok, by asking a medical professional to give you a check up.
As I get better, I can see why* people who’ve never had any kind of ongoing health issue beyond a flu think that people with chronic health issues are “lazy” – it is because of this difference between tired and fatigued that means when you’re tired, you can push through, and when you’re fatigued, you can’t.
*Before anyone gets mad, I said I can see why; I don’t agree with it! I think it shows a distinct lack of empathy and respect. You don’t have to understand someone’s condition to trust them, believe them, and support them. Your experience of life is not their experience of life.
Have you ever found a difference in the types of tired that you feel? Have you found a definition between tired and fatigued that helped you understand it?