Tag Archives: sleep

To fellow CFS sufferers


One of the crazy, stupid symptoms of this part of my illness (CFS – Chronic Fatigue Syndrome) has to be sleeping.

Well, not the actual sleeping per se but how it behaves.

For example, it is currently 4am. I have been awake off and on since 2am, but right now I am so awake that I want the day to start now.

It is called wired-tired, and normally occurs around 9-10pm when it is time to go to bed and sleep and all you want to do is party (although you can’t, of course, because if you tried you would last about two seconds before you collapsed with total exhaustion).

The other side of this insidious illness is that I know for a fact that when I finally go to sleep and wake up around 8.30am, it will be physically impossible for me to stop myself from falling asleep again.

What the?

An example is yesterday. Being a Saturday I was determined…no, determined…to stay awake so I could spend the day with my precious wife.

I finally got out of bed at one-thirty in the afternoon (??).

This is the stupid part I mentioned earlier.

I sat up in bed at 8.30am rubbing my eyes until they were sore, drinking iced coffee, reading, doing anything and everything to stay awake. However, and I would be interested to hear from other CFS sufferers about their experiences, it felt as though someone had each of my eyelids between their finger and thumb and were forcing my eyes shut.

The first I knew that I had gone to sleep again is when I woke up, head down, book in my lap and a very stiff neck. Angry, I redoubled my determination to STAY AWAKE!!

Crap, I’ve woken up again and my neck is very sore this time. Alright, I am getting out of bed and getting dressed (it is around 10.30am now) because I do not want to waste a Saturday!! Here we go!!

What the?? Head down again, and hell does my neck hurt! Bastard, I went to sleep again!

Alright, it is now about 11.30am and I WILL KEEP MY EYES OPEN AND STAY AWAKE!

Owwwww!! What?? No, could not have happened again, I control my body and I was staying awake damn it! Just after noon??? And I am still so tired that if I closed my eyes for more than a second I would be asleep again…wait, no you don’t, this time it is out of bed and WOAH my legs are collapsing and I am trying to walk and I am bumping into everything but at least I am awake! Take that you stupid CFS…what? It’s half past one??

And that, dear reader, is the stupidity of CFS. I could easily get up now, at just after 4.30am. Yes I would still be exhausted – I only remember waking up feeling refreshed and actually, really awake once in the past thirty years – but I could at least stay awake.

When I go back to sleep, in half an hour or an hour from now, I know that I will wake up around 8.30am and have absolutely no control over my staying awake or not. Some days, when my wife is working, I just give in and wake up when she gets home around 3.30pm or so, still feeling like I could sleep another ten hours and knowing that if I do not get up I probably will.

Which is why I am writing this at…4.42am. Because I know I will have no control over my body until much later today, sometime in the afternoon. Maybe.

I hate it, despise it, if CFS was a small creature I would rip it to pieces and then stomp on those pieces until nothing remained. I am angry, furious, and yet I have no control over it.

Many people, on reading this or hearing stories of people with CFS react with “Wow, wish I could spend all day in bed sleeping.” Well my dear fellow human being you are completely missing the point and have zero understanding!

Yes, if I had full control over my body and was actually in charge of my life, a day in bed would be glorious. The point, however, is that I feel incredibly exhausted all the time and have absolutely no control over when I sleep or for how long.

Try having a life around that! You might get to work at three in the afternoon, then fall asleep at your desk half an hour later. How long would you keep your job for?

Or you make plans to meet friends for lunch and then completely sleep through it. Yes, even with setting an alarm. Alarms for me are now just a reminder of past years when I could force myself to get up, when I was still in control. Today they are simply a temporary annoyance that my body ignores completely.

Even worse, every second of every day you know that if you closed your eyes for around three seconds you will fall asleep. (You can relax, I gave up driving months ago – another effect I hate about this part of my chronic illnesses (oh yes, there is more!) is losing my independence. Thank you CFS, I now feel like a ninety-year-old who cannot drive anymore because they cannot be trusted to remain alert at the wheel).

Three seconds until I fall asleep? Except between the hours of three and five in the morning, of course, when you just lie there wired so tight that even though you are exhausted you cannot sleep.

So you write a blog instead, that will be read by, maybe, three people.

Yeah, that is what I call a glorious life, bet you are jealous!

Bloody Migraines!!


Well, 3.35am and my latest migraine is now ‘just’ a bad headache.

I had one last night too. In fact they are so regular, I do not think I have gone a whole week without one since my illness started around June 2016.

It nearly always starts the same way. I am asleep, I wake up and need to pee (please excuse my crude language but I do have a very bad headache) and at this stage I feel alright, in that I do not have a headache. Then I get out of bed and it hits me, hard, usually on one side of my head.

This causes me to stumble and crash into the walls, furniture, basically everything, when I am trying very hard not to wake my wife (fail!). She gets up at 3.30am for work so she needs her sleep. This makes me feel guilty and my headache responds by pounding the side of my head even harder. It is the right side today (just in case the suspense of not knowing was too much for you).

So, I go and get the ‘beans’. We always have two packets of beans in the freezer, wrapped in tea towels so I can rest my head on them. Yes, two packets, as some of my migraines last for quite a while.

So now I am at the point (this point arises, at some time, with every migraine) of deciding whether to take a Maxalt, which is a tablet specifically for migraines. I place one tablet on my tongue and let it dissolve. The reason I hesitate is because they used to cost just over $6 a tablet, which quickly adds up when you have several migraines in a week.

Fortunately now I have qualified for the Disability Support Pension and with that comes cheap medication. So, now they cost me just over $2 each.

So why am I waiting, you ask?

Just take the tablet and get rid of the pain? Well, you see, if I took a tablet for every headache (as all my headaches can turn into a migraine within seconds, literally) then I’d be taking around 4-6 tablets a week, or between $468 and $624 a year.

My illness already costs me enough in Doctor and Specialist visits and all the other medication I have to take.

So I hold off on taking them until the pain is so great, and has been with me so long that I cannot stand it anymore.

I know that many people with ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia experience these same headaches, which I take some weird comfort in. So thank you, but I hope your headaches leave you for good.

And now the time has come. I cannot stand this any longer so I am going to crack open the piggy bank and take some drugs.

I really hope they work! They do most of the time, but sometimes…well, I better not think about that.

My fellow sufferers of broken sleep and agonising pain, may your headaches be mild and your painkillers cheap!

Amen.

Wired-Tired, the joys of ME/CFS


Last night my wife wanted to go to bed early as she’d had a very busy week, and since she takes care of me, wouldn’t survive without her and love her with all my heart I agreed.

One of the benefits of #CFS is that you can sleep anywhere at anytime, and yes that is part of the curse as well!

So 8.30pm and I get to sleep reasonably quickly (about an hour instead of the several hours it normally takes). Then I wake up, check my watch and I think it says 12.30am. Wow! Four hours straight for me is excellent!….yes, another side affect of this lovely illness is I don’t sleep well. I also have #Fibromyalgia and the pain keeps me awake most nights, fighting against my Chronic Fatigue and winning.

Then I check the time again, with my glasses on, and it’s only 10.30pm.

Bugger!

And now I’m wired-tired. This is the symptom where my brain is screaming at me to jump up and run around the block a few times (the wired part), and yet I know for a fact that after I jump out of bed I will collapse on the floor and have to do nothing for days, maybe weeks, to recover.

So, I’m dead tired yet my brain wants to run around the block. So I lie there and try to rest, concentrate on my breathing, and in the silence I am now more aware of my pain, dizziness, tinitis and have no energy to even turn over in bed. And yet I want to run a marathon. My body must really hate me!

Time ticks by, very slowly, not much I can do about that. So I compose this post in my mind to distract myself from those symptoms and, eventually, get back to sleep.

And wake up again every hour, to go through the same process again.

I hate nighttime!

It is now 5.40am and I can’t cope with this sleeplessness any longer, hence I’m writing this post. Then, like every other day, I will fall asleep suddenly only to wake up with my head in a very awkward position and an accompanying neck ache.

To try to stay awake I’ll play a movie on TV, and have to rewind it four or five times as I keep falling asleep. I also have no energy to get out of bed to get the breakfast my wonderful wife has made for me.

This goes on until early afternoon when I drag myself out of bed, get my breakfast and lunch (so I don’t need to get up again, it’s too hard) and take them back to bed.

At about 4pm I get up to join my wife in the living room and collapse into my reclining chair, fighting off sleep and the need to, still, run a marathon.

Then I eat dinner, maybe stay up another hour if I can, then it’s back to bed.

Repeat. Ad nauseum.

Welcome to my illness (well, part of it anyway…oh yes there is more, but I don’t want to give it all away at once!).

The final insult is my brain fog, so sometimes I’ll struggle out of bed to get my breakfast and lunch, yet when I get to the kitchen I can’t remember why I went there. Cursing I’ll go back to bed, hunched over my stick like a 90 year old man, until I remember what it was I’d got up for.

Cursing, I’ll go back to the kitchen saying to myself; “breakfast and lunch, breakfast and lunch” so I don’t forget this time.

The joys of ME/CFS and Fibromyalgia. And yet the majority of doctors still don’t believe it’s an illness. Thank goodness more research is being done in this area now.

…..I’m sorry, what was I talking about?