Did you ever have one of those days, usually towards the end of the week, where you really felt like you could have done with a few extra hours sleep and it was all just catching up on you a bit?
It was a struggle to get out of bed and you felt slow all morning. For an hour or so after a coffee you felt kind of normal, but when it wore off you just felt a bit crap. Shortly after lunch and you could barely keep your eyes open, and if doing something repetitive or watching a screen you were guaranteed to doze off. Mid afternoon you’d have a strong coffee to try and kick-start yourself again but your heart wasn’t in anything you were trying to do. Desperate to get home and flake out in front of the TV, you didn’t really achieved anything of use all the day so just had to write it off. But you knew that if you could just get a couple of good nights’ sleep, next week would be far more productive.
Sound familiar? Of course it does; we all have days like this.
Now imagine everyday felt like that Friday afternoon – never quite able to get on top of anything; always feeling that if you just weren’t quite as tired you could take on the world again, but right now all you really want is a quick nap.
That’s pretty much how I feel all the time.
On days when I’m in a mood to beat myself up about things, it all just seems a bit pathetic. I’m not housebound, I can get out of my bed in the morning (however reluctantly) and I’m not in pain. So how can I be ill? Perhaps all I need is a good night’s sleep and everything will be fine tomorrow.
But it’s because I’m not in pain or unable to get out of bed, that I went for such a long time without realising anything was wrong. I can’t even tell you how long because I’d normalised it. Eventually, however, it started to seep in that every time tomorrow came, I’d feel the same way.
Finally it took my wife to say that she thought something was seriously awry to make me go to the doctor about it 12 months ago. I wasn’t yet 40, I’d sold my business and had a far less stressful life, I’d lost weight through much healthier eating habits, the future was brighter than it had ever been, so I shouldn’t still be complaining of always feeling tired. It was then the B12 deficiency was discovered.
When I saw the doctor again last week he agreed to up the B12 injections to every month rather than the 3-month cycle it’s been for the past year, although neither of us believes it is solely a B12 problem. It makes a slight difference for a few weeks after the jab, but not a greatly significant one.
For the first time since I started seeing a doctor about the tiredness, the words ME and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome have raised their heads. However, one of the key features of ME is severe muscle or joint aches and pains, which I don’t suffer from. As for CFS the problem is it appears to be a catch all term for “we’ve done the tests for everything else and it wasn’t that, so this is all that’s left”. Consequently the literature on potential cures or management of the condition is vague at best.
If the most I can hope for in terms of a diagnosis is a made up name for an unknown condition, then I figure I can claim my own title for the way I feel. So next time anyone asks what’s wrong I’ll tell them it’s CFAS - Chronic Friday Afternoon Syndrome – which is probably about the most accurate description I can find.