The Vocabulary of Tiredness

My husband made me take a sick day today. I’d go into a rant here about the difference between people’s perception of headship and submission and the reality that my husband couldn’t really take care of me if I didn’t have to listen to him, but this rant would probably just make me want to go find someone to smack, and I don’t think that’s an approved sick day activity.

Sometimes I wonder if people assume that I milk this whole Lyme disease thing for all it’s worth and sit around eating bon-bons and watching Vin Diesel movies. (Mental note: my husband is also right about the fact that I should really not care what random people think. I should really listen to him.) In reality it’s more like I drag through my chores taking three times as long as I should because I’m too stubborn to just go take a nap, and when I really do need to sit down, instead of relaxing I research health problems and discount codes for household items we might need to buy.

I’m getting better about this, mostly because it makes my husband very unhappy when I make myself miserable trying to do to much. Since I like to make him happy, this means trying very hard to remember to rest when I need to, and overall trying to get healthier and have more energy so I can bake more cookies, keep up with the dishes and reorganize the pantry. (Okay, so maybe a reorganized pantry is more to make me happy.)

For instance, this morning, after several days of kind of having a cold I woke up feeling exhausted and congested. I tried to convince myself that I might feel great once I got up and around, and it didn’t really take. Four hours of extra sleep later, I was once again dragging around trying to convince myself that I should feel great with all that extra sleep, and it would be a great time to attack my Monday chores, maybe after one more cup of tea.

My husband got home and told me I looked horrible. Usually this statement makes me snicker and he then rephrases to what I knew he meant anyway. This time it just made me feel better about feeling horrible, because if I looked horrible too, I probably really did feel horrible.

I’ve been feeling a lot better overall the last few months. Still lots of ups and downs, but with the occasional entire week where I feel great and get a lot done. I’ve started to get used to feeling better.

I had the startling realization that after a full day of productivity I could be ‘tired’ and still feel better than I had all day on a bad energy day. Which made me realize that (a) I’d been functioning on a much deeper level of tired than I’d even realized and (b) I’d probably completely failed to communicate what ‘tired’ actually meant to most people who asked how I was feeling. Naturally this left me contemplating the subtle differences between ‘sleepy’, ‘winded’, ‘worn out’, ‘exhausted’ and ‘I think if I focus I can talk myself through getting dressed and starting my day, but I might cry if I have to exercise this morning’.

The best part of taking a sick day today is that I have a reasonable expectation of actually feeling better in a few days, instead of just getting back up the level of functional in a few days. It’s a lot easier to enjoy my sick day when I finished almost my entire backlog of to-do list last week and can look forward to starting in on my giant list of potential projects.

Plus, no guilt for taking a sick day, because I *had* to. My husband said so.

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