For some months now I have been suffering what I can only call a mystery illness. I am always tired, extremely so (having to sleep in the day that sort of thing), I get bouts of nausea that are alarmingly similar to morning sickness (but bearing in mind its been going on for months I think I’m ok on that front, thank the Lord…). These spates of tiredness and nausea can appear with little or no warning. At first I thought I was working too much, then I thought it was because I wasn’t sleeping enough, then I began to worry. Others noticed and commented. Eventually I went to the doc. (which was not easy, I have a thing about going to the Drs, I really don’t like it). Blood Tests followed, all of which were negative, apart from raised white blood cells – apparently a sign of a lingering virus. But after a second batch of tests, all were clear. In the Autumn, I began to feel a bit better and then went down with a flu/cough number which went on for weeks and compounded the tiredness.

Where I am usually outgoing and raring to go, I am now a bit pathetic. I don’t want to go out, I am refusing to make dinner dates and even a night away with my husband is making me fearful. So now I find myself in a funny position. Apparently there is nothing wrong with me. Yet I still have these symptoms, but I also find myself wondering if I am making it worse by worrying about it, like it could be psycological. I do have a lot more time on my hands so I have the luxury of being able to worry about it. If I were busier would I feel better? Could I ignore it? Or would I be worse? I know I needed to slow down and take a break from the way I was filling every second of my life. And now I have the time to slow down I can’t seem to settle in to it. Part of me thinks that God has given me this time, to have a break and to spend time seeking Him more (perfect preparation for going into Mninstry I am sure!) and the other part finds the concept of not doing much very alien. This last week, every morning after dropping the kids I have come home, lit the fire and had 2 hours of bible reading and prayer. It has been wonderful. but there is such a sense of guilt about this time. Surely there are hundreds of things I should be doing rather than sitting here. But then what is more important than seeking God and spending time in His presence?

My husband is very sympathetic about my tiredness and has said, ‘you may never get this time again, so enjoy it’, but every now and then I sense a slight irritation in his voice or a lack of understanding. comments like ‘well we both had such a busy weekend I think we’re still suffering from that’ do not help. It’s not like I have some awful illness that I can actually say, I have xxx, which would give me a ‘right’ if you like, to be feeling ill. Tiredness affects something like 70% of the population at any one time, from any number of complaints. But its like a silent complaint – you can’t really evoke peoples sympathy with ‘tiredness’. not that I want sympathy at all, it’s just hard to explain to people why we’re not going out or why I don’t want to go for a walk or why I can’t come to that meeting.
It’s so pathetic. I feel pathetic. This is not me. I am used to being a driving force, to being the one with the ‘get up and go’, to be driving forward new ideas. I am not someone who shuts themself away and has to rest. It’s so F***ing boring. grrr….

Sorry, I felt the need for a rant. This post was actually going to take a comepletely different slant about the way we view ill people – that will ahev to do for another day – but there we go, perhaps I needed to get out that frustration. Perhaps I just need to accept that for the time being I need to be more restful, that it is a ‘season’, that it won’t be for ever (I have faith that it won’t) and just relax into it.

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  • Reply
    January 26, 2011 at 12:18 pm

    If I might dare to comment, I don't know you but this sounds astonishingly like a case of depression to me. Depression is often nothing to do with being sad, and the symptoms you describe are all familiar, you are not being pathetic…

    Perhaps a second opinion re the Drs, as antidepressants work, and restore you to your normal self pretty quickly!

  • Reply
    January 26, 2011 at 1:07 pm

    Love your post. I too have had many bouts like this.

    I think the latest one broke when I went to see my Bishop and Archdeacon and my Bishop told me to get off my bum and get a job, my Archdeacon told me I was as good a candidate as any for an upcoming job and the Bishop's Chaplain said I sounded depressed…

    Suddenly the tiredness lifted, I felt energised and affirmed and I haven't looked back.

    I think partly it started because I had suffered from three horrible viruses and felt cross with myself and useless.

    Not telling you this is what you are suffering – just telling you my story. It may well be something else.

    If you want a bit of unsolicited advice, I think you may have been giving out for a long time, plus the selection thing is more tiring than I imagine you recognise and you need someone or something to give you a boost…

  • Reply
    Anita Mathias
    January 26, 2011 at 1:50 pm

    Hi Red, Like Lesley, I have had many bouts of low energy and tiredness.

    I used the latest one to read up on nutrition, and was shocked by how much my sloppy, careless diet could be improved. Sorting out that, and sleep and exercise (and exchanging draining work for energizing fun work) helped.

    Just make the most of the opportunity to have 2 hours of Bible study and prayer, and store up spiritual "fat" for the days to come!

  • Reply
    Mary Beth
    January 26, 2011 at 2:19 pm

    You are in my prayers. I would second Sally's comment. Worth looking into, anyway.

  • Reply
    GOD thinker
    January 26, 2011 at 3:44 pm

    I went through something similar. I went to all kinds of doctors and testing. Doctors found no reason for all my symptoms. I did my own research and found out I have an MSG sensitivity. I do not know about food in the UK, but in the US any packaged, processed, canned or boxed food has some form of it. It is a neurotoxin and can cause many types of symptoms including fatigue. (I wrote about it in a post called "A Personal Story That May Help Someone" if you are interested.) You may want to check out a site that I believe is called msg myth. It lists all the varied symptoms that are caused by MSG and similar products used in many foods.

    I agree though with the other commentor that even if it is not MSG, nutrition may have something do to with it. I thought I was eating healthy but I was really poisoning myself. Now that I have cut out all processed food I feel so much better.

    No matter what it is, I pray the Lord gives you wisdom in finding it out and that you would not feel guilty about the time spent with the Lord. I hope you feel better soon.

  • Reply
    Dreaming beneath the Spires
    January 26, 2011 at 3:54 pm

    Hi God thinker and Red, Virtually giving up processed food, white flour, and sugar has helped my energy levels hugely!
    It's amazing how depressive episodes can be almost miraculously lifted with the right anti-depressant (not saying, yours is one, but if it were…)

  • Reply
    January 26, 2011 at 4:34 pm

    Thanks for sharing-I will pray that YOU feel yourself again. I have nothing else to say to comfort you, I do not know how you feel, It is not about Me, its is about you.
    I do know some true things though. Your Heavenly Father knows exactly how you feel, and will show you the way out. Keep us informed -all your faithful Christian readers will put your name in that golden bowl REV 5 v8. This bit of the Bible was read out on Monday night at our Healing Prayer group(Filey Parish). I think its for you. xxx

  • Reply
    January 26, 2011 at 7:29 pm

    Gosh I didn't know you all cared 😉 seriously, thank you all, it makes a difference, I wasn't expecting advice! And Hi to Sally & Mary Beth who I don't think I've seen before, so welcome.
    Thanks for the comments and ideas. Depression has occured to me as I have close family members who suffer with it, and indeed the GP raised it as a possibility. Thing is I don't think I am depressed – and I'm sure lots of people who are depressed say this! But actually in myself I am very content. I am not wokring now (which is a total blessing from God), so I am out of a stressful situation, I am loving having more time to spend with the family (and with God of course). On top of that I have no desire to take anti-depressants, having seen the affect they have had on people in my life. But I still appreciate your comments 🙂
    The food issue is interesting as I already have an intolerance to dairy products so diet too has crossed my mind. Lesley – your situation sounds more like mine – just bug after bug and, yes I have been giving out rather a lot, so I suppose its understandable I am so tired!
    I guess the thing is, where do I start with all of this? Do I trust God to sort it out when He is ready? do I keep going back to the GP where she will (probably) keep stabbing in the dark, or do I try and suss it out for myself? Or… do I just carry on enjoying the time I have and stop worrying about it all!

    Margaret thank you for the lovely scripture and you are so right and in a way that's why I wonder if he's not ready for me to be well yet. I have had to slow down so I can't keep going at the same pace or giving out so much and perhaps that is what I need right now. Like being ill was the only thing that was going to get me to stop and take a break. (not that I'm suggesting God is causing this!)
    Anyway thanks again, you are all lovely 🙂

  • Reply
    January 26, 2011 at 7:54 pm

    Hi Red

    I dunno – the other thing that struck me is it is disorientating, stopping work, I can completely relate to the feeling of not feeling stressed and spending more time with the family and with God. However, I think there are subtle stresses that our subconsciousness has when the routine falls away. Also, the buzz of stressful work sends adrenaline around the blood stream so I'm not sure what happens when that reduces. And then there is the feeling of achievement that work gives that is good for our morale..

    Anyway – no routine when you are a vicar so it is good in that way!

  • Reply
    January 27, 2011 at 10:46 am

    hadnt though of it that way, thanks 🙂

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