“Hey! How are you doing?” I haven’t seen my friend in weeks, and I open my mouth to answer.
My limbs are weighted down. Every movement takes more energy and intention than it should, and I move slowly, like pushing through mud. Everything aches and shakes. Earlier I tried to open a jar, but my hands refuse to cooperate and rather than opening it I dropped it.
I had to shower today so that I could leave the house. I haven’t had the energy, so it had been almost a week. Every movement made my muscles want to give out, and afterwards I had to lay down and rest.
I’m running a mild fever, and can never decide if I’m hot or cold.
My daughter has gotten so big, but she’s still practically a baby. And I can’t pick her up right now. If the pull of her weight doesn’t cause a flare of pain in my hip, the up and down movement will leave me feeling weak and lightheaded.
My mind is sluggish, distractible. I forget what I was doing, what I was saying, where I was going. I can’t recall words I’ve used a million times. They float just beyond my reach.
Dishwasher. Syllabus. Table.
I can try to concentrate, but my mind always slips away to something less consequential, easier to process.
Or to nothing at all.
And everything overwhelms me. Any amount of noise creates a blank buzzing in my head. Bright lights raise a pounding in my temple. I have trouble managing even the most straightforward of minor social interactions, and I cry so easily. I crave darkness and silence and solitude.
Pushing on makes everything worse, to the point that I may end up sick in bed, unable to do more than sleep, for days.
Except that most of the time I can’t sleep. I’m so exhausted, but my brain buzzes with nonsense and worry. It won’t shut down when I need it to, and so I can’t sleep when I need it most.
And when I do sleep, I wake up feeling like I haven’t slept in days. “Rested” is not a word I understand anymore.
“Oh, I’m doing alright,” I say with a shrug and half-smile. “I’m just tired. How are you?”
I don’t mean to deceive. I know my friend really cares, and wants to know. But sometimes it takes too much energy to explain.
And sometimes I wonder what the point actually is. If you’re sick, you eventually get better, right? But I don’t. This has become my normal. There’s no status update, no difference to report, besides maybe somewhat better or worse. And I don’t have the energy to deal with the confusion and disbelief.
But more than anything, I’ve put a lot into coming out today. I don’t want to spend what energy I have left explaining how I feel, I want to enjoy spending time with my friend!
And so, for now, I’m just tired.