This article was originally published in Money, Inc. I try not to answer “how are you?” with “I’m tired,” but today, I have three times because I am dragging-my-ass-barely-keeping-eyes-open-not-safe-to-drive tired. And three times, no one has believed me. Most of the time, I have more energy than the majority of people. I wake up early, work out, rock my tasks and facilitate coaching sessions all day and am still in a good mood when I go to bed. But every once in a while, something rears its ugly-soul-sucking head. Is it my Hashimoto’s Disease? Is it poor quality sleep? Or the how-is-this-even-possible high levels of pollen in North Carolina? When there isn’t a way for me to determine why it’s hard to know how to fix it or take care of myself. If I don’t get to bed at a decent hour or have to wake up earlier than I want, it’s obvious. If I have eaten junk food that doesn’t serve me or too much sugar, my own fault. If I have a cold, well, sometimes that just happens. But what about those other times and why don’t people believe me?
I don’t need sympathy, but I do want validation.
“Well, you’re tired is everyone else’s normal, so I don’t feel sorry for you.” Yep, I’ve heard this almost word for word, twice. I find myself every once in a while faking it when I feel less than stellar, but usually only when I have to be on my game during coaching calls and that’s not inauthentic, but focusing on my clients and acting as if, hoping that I get out of the funk. It’s been two days in a row of this low-energy drain, and my heart-rate variability was even off today. I haven’t slept well, also though I practice good sleep hygiene, I laid down for 20 minutes, but couldn’t take a nap. In fifteen minutes, I have to leave for a Discovery Session with a potential client and then attend a networking event, which I invited ten people to and will need to be Chief Connector. Times like this scare me a little because of my autoimmune diseases.
I get a bit nervous because if something were to start getting out of whack, I remember how long it took to get taken seriously the first time. I spent four years trying to convince doctors something was wrong with me, but because I wasn’t overweight, raced competitively and looked healthy, it was always dismissed, in my head or the worst, attributed to depression (and I wasn’t). I know it’s paranoia and these spells never last more than a few days. I may even regret writing this, look back and think “Girl, get it together!”, but here’s the thing… If you have chronic low-energy or know you could feel better and no one is listening, don’t stop talking until you find someone that does. If you have an autoimmune disease or something else you have to manage, it’s natural to get nervous. I hear so many stories of people like me, who took way too long to get diagnosed. If you are that person that everyone draws energy from, it’s okay to get in a funk every once in a while, just don’t let yourself stay there.
Three days later.
I went back to finish this post because I was too tired to finish it in the first round. I’m having a few good days. I don’t know what caused this downtime, but it did trigger a conversation with my husband about my two biggest life fears 1) being attacked or assaulted again, and 2) getting diagnosed with another autoimmune disease. I have to be careful that I don’t get hyperfocused and cause myself to become sick or look for symptoms that aren’t there. It’s a learning curve, behavioral shift, and mind trip all at once. There isn’t a call to action for this post. I’m not sure if there’s even a lesson, but if you have a disease or ailment that throws a tantrum, how do you handle it and keep it from sucking you down emotionally and decide not to live with the anxiety? What’s the balance between awareness and living without fear?
UPDATE: I most definitely was NOT ok. Read this post to find out what I learned.