Overwhelmed

Life

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Still no answers on the mystery illness.  More tests, more specialist appointments, more insinuations that it is in my head. That’s about it. Every test comes back saying I’m the picture of perfect health, while I’ve never felt so unwell in my life. I’m thankful that I now have a very understanding GP, who seems to actually somewhat ‘get’ who I am as a person rather than jumping to sweeping conclusions, so that is helpful. I also experimented with removing a medication I was taking in case it was the cause, but it hasn’t really had an effect.

Perhaps the worst part of this now is that I just feel completely overwhelmed, nearly all the time. Even if I am not feeling overwhelmed on a particular day, the smallest things can tip me over–like an additional, surprise request. Or criticism–it’s harder for me to take because I am trying so hard, and I am already so aware I am doing much less well than I usually would. I am always my own harshest critic anyway. So criticism that would normally just be water off a duck’s back takes on this additional sting.

Some days I just wake up feeling overwhelmed, thinking of all the things I need to be doing but can’t get done. Because I am so tired, it’s hard to keep on top of my work, on top of my life stuff (like cleaning and the dishes), on top of being a good friend, on top of family commitments. I’m still trying to eat healthily, though not trying to lose weight at the moment until this is sorted out, but even my meals are becoming more and more reliant on quick-fix options. It seems now that everything is either overwhelming, or has the potential to be overwhelming on any given day.

I’m trying to congratulate myself for achieving the small things–managing to make conversation at a conference dinner, managing to get x amount of admin done, cleaning the shower screen, getting more media to an event at work, baking a veggie slice, having no dirty dishes in the sink, making it to a social event for a few hours. But it just all seems so ridiculous that I can’t really take any sincere joy from achieving things that would normally just be normal, not some special effort.

How has this happened? How have I gone from someone who could travel the world, work busy and stressful jobs without batting an eyelid, have crazy amounts of ambition, exercise, socialise, write, argue, cook nearly all her food from scratch, and read and read and read to someone who just feels like everything is a streamroller running over the top of her?

And then, on top of it all, there’s the challenge of trying to get an answer to this questions of: Why? What the hell is this? What has gone wrong? What should I do to try to fix this? My encounters with the medical profession are often exhausting, and leave me feeling more flattened than when I walked in the door. Not to mention they involve driving all over Canberra, missing time from work, and are costing a cumulative small fortune (you don’t realise how big the Medicare gap is and how useless private health cover is most of the time until something goes wrong–for reasons unclear to me, my expensive private health cover will pay for a Chinese massage or a gym subsidy, but not an MRI or sleep study).

Anyway. I’m trying to do my best. I’m trying to balance it all. But it also feels silly to feel so overwhelmed, it’s not like I have kids to feed and look after or something. I get annoyed at myself for feeling overwhelmed for such mediocre reasons. But with this fatigue, it really seems to be beyond my control.

But after already missing out on so many things I was looking forward to in the last couple of months, and having to scrap my plans to go backpacking in India or Nepal this year around my 30th birthday in May, I just couldn’t miss out on another thing. So I’m heading to Bali for a week next month for a friend’s wedding, which I’m looking forward to. My little sister, who is living in Jakarta for a semester, will also come over to say hi. I almost didn’t book the trip, but then all of my friends told me I should go. I listened to them and booked the ticket, but in the same breath I also don’t think many of them understand how daunting the prospect of travel is at the moment when I have no idea how I will feel on any given day–the only thing I know is that I won’t feel normal. Hopefully it will be OK. In planning, I’m having to think about all these things that have never been an issue before. Time to recover from the flight. The need for airconditioning. Staying somewhere where I can still easily get food without walking very far if I’m really tired. The need to not get sick from food as it would wipe me out more. But Bali is an easy destination. Hopefully some time relaxing by the beach, and drinking all the organic juices Ubud has to offer, might help? Perhaps? Maybe I should go to some kind of ‘healer’, a la Eat Pray Love. Desperate times call for desperate measures. No yoga for me though, with the dizziness I don’t have the ability to balance! If I dared venture to the Yoga Barn at the moment, I think I’d probably leave with a broken nose!

2 Responses to " Overwhelmed "

  1. Jen says:

    Hi ashlee, your situation sounds much worse than mine got to, but I found that when I was on statins the exhaustion was terrible and debilitating (needing two or three naps a day etc). I came off them about eight months ago and things are still not completely back to ‘normal’, but they are improving slowly. I Don’t know if they are similar meds that you have stopped, but I thought I’d let you know that that (eventually) started to turn things around for me. Cheers, Jen

    • Ashlee says:

      Thanks so much for your kind comment. Wasn’t on statins, but hopefully things will start to turn around soon!!! Being tired all the time is just the worst.