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My experience of 'Fatigue'

Discussion in 'Post-Exertional Malaise, Fatigue, and Crashes' started by pigsmightfly, Aug 7, 2017.

  1. pigsmightfly



    So I just wanted to check-in and talk about my fatigue and to see whether it chimes with others out there. In general, my fatigue has slowly got worse as the months have ticked by. Where as a 30 min jog was once comfortable, now a brisk walk seems more palatable. (I appreciate that for many even a short walk seems insurmountable). However, it is work rather than exercise that really seems to make me fatigued. Doing what I would describe as 'higher order mental tasks' really has a profound effect on my nervous system. Sitting in front of my computer all day, thinking a lot, contributing at meetings, teleconferences, presentations.......they just drain my batteries to the point that if feels like every nerve fibre is trembling in my body, so that it hurts to think, and my brain just goes slow. I've had to stop playing my much loved sport, stop jogging, and now take walks as my exercise. But even walking for relatively long distances doesn't effect me like my work does. So in summary I seem to have good energy still for physical tasks that I can do automatically, but mental / thinking / cerebral tasks drain me flat. And I would add that it is not a "nice" fatigue feeling, full of yawning, arm stretching and drooping eye-lids, where I could just go to sleep. It is a "nervous" fatigue feeling, where I feel wired, agitated, like my nervous-system is on melt down. Not nice at all. Does anybody else feel they have reasonable physical energy but very poor mental energy? Is this common?
  2. ChrisD

    ChrisD Senior Member

    East Sussex
    HI @pigsmightfly, this is exactly the predicament I was in one year ago from now, before I crashed hard in December 2016. Before that, for the whole of 2016 I was able to walk 30 mins to work each day (A bit fatiguing) and back, and whilst I was at work I had no problem moving around the office, between floors etc. and going out for lunch for an hour and stretching my legs- yet the whole time feeling physically stressed as you mention. And this was (also as you say) a consequence of the cognitive fatigue of my work. I would spend all weekend recharging my batteries, but could still go for a country walk or to the town comfortably because they weren't mentally taxing. I look back at this now as my ''CFS/FIbromyalgia'' period which has now transitioned into ''ME with a tiny bit of Fibro''. I remember coming home from work and feeling wired, agitated and 'frazzled'. In hindsight, I wish I had switched to part-time last year in order to give my body some time to rest and potentially heal before the big metabolic switch/crash that has left me with ME. So my advice would be that if you can, financially etc. try to give yourself some extra downtime to try to let the nervous system recuperate
  3. SSekouB


    This describes me almost to the letter. Yes, I'm tired, and not sleeping as well as I'd like, but the fatigue that comes from mental "work" leaves me more exhausted than if I ran a 5 miles. It, literally, feels like my brain is bruised. Like it hurts. I get odd, achy pains that seem to come from my brain itself. My brain starts to burn. At its worst, particularly after a day in the office, meetings, talking, managing staff, etc., it leaves me unable to process information at the normal rate. I even find, during these times, that it is impossible to multi-task -- for example, listen to a speaker and take notes, too. I have to stop writing, or I can't understand what's being said. Not only strange, but a tad bit scary. And afterward, the full body muscle twitching/spasms start -- FROM THINKING!

    If I had to pick the most troubling symptom I've experienced with this, it would have to be the mental exhaustion that manifests itself in physical fatigue. Yet, unable to rest and ease the physical fatigue because my body feels wound too tight, on edge, jittery, like a caffeine reaction -- and I don't drink coffee! By the way, please don't let Starbucks know I don't drink coffee. They make you leave Seattle if they find out. It's against city ordinance, or something. I walk around holding an empty cup and pretending to sip from it every now and again. As long as it has Starbucks on the front, they don't question it.
    Azriel likes this.
  4. nettle_tea


    Your fatigue triggers are not exactly the same as mine, but I relate a lot to what you're saying. Straight exercise is not usually what triggers my PEM - I can be reasonably physically active, although I have to resist the temptation to overdo it on good days. But prolonged effort throughout the day is really hard. Usually it's not mental tasks that drain me, but just having to be "out and about" for long amounts of time. Shopping, taking public transit, driving, waiting around in public, spending the day at work, going to the doctor - all of those things take a lot out of me.

    I also have an anxiety disorder that surfaces from time to time. If I end up having a very anxious week or so, it's almost certain that I'll be wiped out physically the following week.

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