fatigue diary continues – battling it out myself

Posted: June 5, 2016 in Uncategorized

Since I last reported in here, I’ve continued, quite unsuccessfully, to seek clear and helpful information about menopause.  I’ve looked at a lot of resources, and as far as I can tell, this is such an individualized thing that basically what is available is a bunch of gross generalities that may or may not apply in any and all cases.  Let’s just say, I’m no less frustrated on this front while I’m actively seeking to learn than I was when I was just pushing it away and refusing to approach the whole mucky mess.  While my usual understanding of life is that learning more helps more, I have yet to uncover that truth in this instance.  My plan is to keep looking for it anyway.

My sleep experiment is going well.  The 3 AM waking time is utterly dead now – I hear G’s alarm when it goes off, but he turns it off quickly and slips quietly away to begin his day, so I’m able to get right back to sleep.  I’m getting up at 5 AM most of the time now.

This hasn’t changed the 7 PM bedtime.  Yes, I’ve done the math and yes, I understand that is 10 hours of sleep.  I’m sticking with it for the time being, with a willingness to change as my body indicates the need.  My reason for this is what my doctor said – that all her ladies going through menopause talk about being exhausted and unable to focus.  So while probably the part of my exhaustion that rose to the level of “debilitating” has been primarily from trying to rise at 3 AM against my body’s strong preference, maybe I also just flat need more rest during this phase of life.  Maybe all the ladies going through menopause are so freakin’ tired because we have this notion that 8 hours is some kind of magic number for sleep, and maybe we’re just WRONG.  Maybe for some of us, we are similar to teens in the need for much more sleep during this phase.  Since at this point the information I can find is so incomplete and utterly unhelpful, I’m making the decision to test my theory and just Sleep A Whole Lot until my body says otherwise.

This includes naps as often as I can get them.  On the weekends, I am getting a nap in every day that can be managed, and I have taken two naps on some days.  I nap when the wave of exhaustion rolls over me.  I nap maybe for 20 minutes or maybe for 2 hours, and I’m unrepentant about it.

The help I can find on the internet is unhelpful to me.  Let me explain.

First of all, every place I can find that talks about it blames tiredness on lack of sleep, and I don’t have that.  I have lack of RESTFUL sleep.

Every place blames lack of sleep on hot flashes, and I’ve never had a hot flash in my life.

The sleep experts say to never sleep in – that matching the rhythm of sleep daily will help.  I have now tried that over an extended period of time, and I’m done believing it.  I’m getting extra sleep on the mornings that allow for it.  End of story.

Most places also blame lack of sleep on anxiety or depression, and you can believe me or not on this, but at this point in my life I am unreasonably happy.  As in, basically every morning for the last 3 years, I wake up asking God WHY SHOULD I GET TO BE THIS HAPPY?!  It is surprising to me – shocking, even – to experience the levels I get of joy, peace, satisfaction, purpose, excitement, optimism, gratitude, humor, and contentment.  I’ve been to the wars.  I know depression.  I know anxiety.  I know misery.  I know discontentment.  I know fear.  I know drifting.  I know lack.  I know days and days of gray.  I know.  I was there.  I am so completely NOT there now.  It’s not even fair, how happy I am.  Oh, I’ll keep it for as long as it’s given to me (and truly I understand:  I’m not promised getting to stay in this zone for the rest of my days), but seriously – no part of my lack of restful sleep is related to depression or anxiety.  Just:  none.

I simply lack restful sleep.  My brain seems to have become habituated to “working dreams,” and so while I’m trying to rest, it is perseverating relentlessly on Getting Stuff Done.  Some have suggested sleep meds, and if I don’t find my way out of this I might consider it at some point, but I’m not excited about the idea of it (I won’t even explain why, because surely someone will feel judged by my explanation and I’m not here to judge – I’m just here to do what works for me and avoid the rest) so I’m not yet at the point of readiness to try that.

Also noteworthy here:  my labs are back from my blood draw, and all is well.  Vitamin D, Vitamin B, Iron – all fine.  There is no dietary connection to my fatigue, at least in that way.  It IS good to push that one off the table.

For now, I’ll keep on sleeping for what seems too many hours per night, and I’ll work on the other stuff too (diet, exercise, careful monitoring of what I do right before bed that might be unhelpful).  Having asked the doctor for help and not gotten it, having pushed into what the experts say without success, having read the menopause pages and found them just frustrating in their unhelpfulness, I’m just gonna push further into my own experiment – looking to and listening for God all along the way, of course – and see if I can find what works for me, since I don’t seem to match what I can find in writing anywhere that I’ve looked thus far.

  1. Kathy W says:

    I find that going to sleep in the sleep place, at the sleep time, and assuming the sleep position, helps.
    I’m not being funny. Routine helps.
    If work is overwhelming you to the point you’re reliving it at night, you might need a routine for it.
    You could write down a “to do” list, put it in the same place every day, and say goodbye to it. You are absolutely not to think about it again, not until you come back in the morning and pick it up. Work is “off”.
    One lady I knew had a work smock. She hung it up when she left work. She was in work mode IN HER SMOCK. Otherwise, she was off work.
    Maybe a bedtime ritual would help. Warm beverage, warm shower, jammies.
    Good luck.

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