Today I got up at 4:15 am (on purpose) because I have a busy at work and need to catch up on things, or at least have 2-3 hours before the meetings begin. As I drove the 45 minute commute, I thought how much my world has changed since 1988 when my symptoms first began. Back then, I was in high school, working part-time in the family janitorial business and doing hours of volunteer work. When I got sick, I began sleeping in – as you saw by my first sentence – not a common thing in my world. I could not stay awake. I came home, if I made it to school, exhausted. I fell asleep, Mom woke me up for supper, and then after eating, I was back asleep until the next morning. This went on with numerous doctor appointments, school discussions, etc. trying to figure out what was going on with my exhaustion.
Fortunately, around a year after my symptoms began, I was diagnosed with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. in this post, I will not go through the roller coaster of exhaustion, insomnia and years of herbal remedies, diets and various methods we used to give me some energy and relief of symptoms.Eventually, I was able to stay awake and live off between 4 – 7 hours a sleep most nights. Currently, this is still the average amount of sleep I get nightly. On this schedule, I’ve been working full-time since 2001, and most of the time have some sort of extra-curricular volunteer, part-time job and/or social life.
Today, I work 5 days a week, 7 – 8 hours per day, more hours when needed, write in my spare time, include time for many other hobbies and interests. I have a busy career, active life and work out a few times a week at my own pace. There are many more things I plan to do in my life: I intend to write full-time and leave this working for someone else (as satisfying as it is; truly it is!) so I can travel and pursue my other interests.
It’s been about 27 years since I began sleeping 18-22 hours a day. I am extremely grateful I can manage my symptoms enough to lead a full life and I will continue to listen to my body; feed it what it needs spiritually, emotionally and physically. I take one day at a time and treat my symptoms as it comes. Rest when I need to rest or as soon as I can get home. I appreciate the energy I have, the family and friends and support and I look forward to my future adventures!