I’ve made it no secret that I have medical issues that cause me to become easily physically fatigued. I’ve made it no secret that I have strong empathic strains that can cause me to be mentally fatigued. These are ongoing facts on any given day in my life.
I’ve concluded that I have reached very near the full extent of exhaustion. I believe this is due largely to the continued bombardment of media which never has any good news to report. I don’t have to go into detail for anyone – the COVID-19 issue is worldwide and only someone living under a rock doesn’t know about it. Add to that the large amount of political dissonance here in the US since President Trump was elected into, and took office. That dissonance has reached an all-time volume of cacophony during this pandemic. To make matters worse, I have a very dear friend who suffers endlessly with anxiety and panic so that every little possibility for the chance of contracting the virus becomes a personal assurance to her that she will get it (despite the fact that she is the most pro-active person I know to make certain she and her family stay safe!). Pulling her back from the edge of the cliff she sees herself on, time and time again, has taken its toll on me as well.
I have prescription sleeping pills. I have issues with getting sound sleep or even long periods of uninterrupted sleep past three to four hours maximum. The prescription is intended for use when several nights of poor sleep leave me feeling sleep deprived. With them, I fall into a much deeper sleep, and my body is grateful for it. I’ve never abused them, fearing an addiction to them. Having said that, I’ve taken one the last five nights in a row. Logically, I know that I need to go a few nights with poor sleep to let them get out of my system.
I drink three large (15 oz.) cups of coffee each morning. Sometimes, I have a fourth cup. That much caffeine no longer gets me past early afternoon. I now have a sugar-free energy drink that I drink around lunch time if I want to try and have energy to do anything past noontime.
Unless it is raining into my porch, regardless of the temperature, I go outside with that third cup of coffee and drink it sitting on the porch. I can see Main Street and whatever traffic goes by, or I can turn my head and watch birds and squirrels among the spring blooms of the trees across the street. I figure the change of scenery from the inside to the outside, plus the fresh air, certainly can’t hurt, right?
I can not watch TV shows longer than 1/2 hour anymore; in fact, I’m quite antsy before the 30 minutes is up. As much as I love to read, I tend to only make it through a chapter plus a few pages until it becomes tiring to keep my eyelids open. I find myself laying in bed, eyes closed, not sleeping but simply resting. Once in a while, I fall asleep but then wake up feeling groggy and grumpy.
The task of grocery shopping, which I’ve always enjoyed, now becomes a race to get what I “need” so I can get outside again and take my mask off. Don’t get me wrong – I’m grateful to have a mask, but, to me, it’s like wearing high heels to a fancy occasion – necessary but not comfortable. Cooking (from scratch) doesn’t even hold any appeal to me – – – and that is perhaps the most prominent sense that I’m not myself!
It doesn’t help that I am still nursing the last of the pain radiating down my right arm from having pinched a nerve between my clavicle and my right shoulder. Certain ways I move it will cause that pain. It’s no longer severe, but it’s still uncomfortable.
Favorite pastimes on the computer means I have to first get through all of the news blurbs. I scan them, because I don’t want to risk not knowing something important, but it’s very rare I actually bother to read past the headline. The numbers of those infected by and/or died from this virus are too staggeringly high for me to comprehend – strike that – are too high for me to want to comprehend.
I’m exhausted. I’m physically exhausted, even though I push myself to do a chore every day. I’m mentally exhausted by the amount of news that may or may not be accurate that is being shoved at my brain. I’m emotionally exhausted by my own concerns for my well-being and the well-being of those I love and hold dear. I’m emotionally exhausted, as well, by combatting the negativity of others’ fears rather than embracing it and letting it eat at me as well.
And so, I take a sleeping pill. It’s not an automatic routine. I lay down to sleep and give myself time to fall asleep, but when it seems I can’t do so without assistance, I sit up and take one with the water I keep at my bedside. And each time, I think to myself, “Maybe I won’t need this tomorrow night.”
But for right now, I need the escape….