More than just tired blog post
Blog,  Chronic Illness

More Than ‘Just Tired’

Whenever people ask me how I’m doing, my go to response has always been ‘I’m okay, I’m just tired’.

It’s not because I don’t want them to know how I’m really feeling, I’d love to be able to talk more about it, that’s why I have this blog. It’s because it is easier to say this than constantly have to talk about my illness and how it’s taken over my life. Most days it’s all I think about. I don’t want it to be all I talk about as well.

There’s a lot going on behind those words – ‘just tired’. With ME it is never a case of being JUST tired. There is so much more to it than that. More than I can fit into one blog post, but I’ll try my best.

As this week is ME awareness week, I’ve decided to share more of an insight into the ‘tiredness’ that comes with the condition, and what it’s like to carry that around with you every day.

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More than just tired blog post

It is more than being ‘just tired’

To start off, ME is more than being ‘just tired’. Tired isn’t even a word I’d use to describe what I feel every day. Tired is like having a long day, and needing an early night, then waking up the next day feeling refreshed.

ME is on a while other planet to tired.

It is heavy

The fatigue you feel with ME is like a huge weight resting on your entire body. To even just move takes a lot of effort – and uses up more of your precious energy.

Sometimes I just have to sit there, not moving, trying to be a small as possible, while the weight rests on me and brings me down. I can feel myself being crushed under it all, along with all my hopes and dreams.

When I do move, because sometimes it’s not practical to sit still and do nothing (I’ve got to eat, and go to the bathroom at least), it’s like I’m watching myself move in slow motion. Everything becomes slow, even when the world around me is moving quickly.

I walk a bit like a zombie, finding it hard to lift my feet properly. Sometimes I lose balance because my body struggles to hold me up under the weight of the fatigue.

It is mentally draining

The brain fog that comes with any chronic illness is no joke – although it is sometimes easier to laugh at it all.

I am not a stupid person, but the fatigue makes me feel VERY stupid. I’ve forgotten how to use cutlery, struggled to put on sunglasses, forgotten the name of a main character of a TV show I was just watching.

It’s humiliating the things tht happen because of how mentally drained I can get. I can find it hard to string sentences together, or walk into things because there’s too much going on around me to notice what’s going on in front of me. I’ve forgotten the names of my best friends in the middle of a conversations. It’s hard not be at least a little embarassed.

I feel like I’m living in thick fog, disconnected from everything around me. I try to claw my way through it but that just makes it worse. All I can do is wait in the fog until it passes, and I can see again for however long it is before it returns again.

It is aches and pains

It’s hard to remember a time when my body didn’t ache. Any amount of activity can cause it, and there’s no way to avoid it.

I, for some reason, decided to write this post out on paper before typing it. Probably not my best decision. By the end of the first sentence, my arm was aching. I powered through anyway, which was also a mistake, but something that simple made my arm ache. And I mean ache (it was still sore the next day).

The ache of the fatige can come from the most simple things. If I’m reading, it’s not long before my arms ache from holding the book up. I can walk for about 10 minutes before my legs start to burn the way they would before when I used the leg press at the gym (I used to be able to do strength training).

Grating cheese, brushing my hair, cleaning my teeth, standing up, getting dressed or undressed, picking thing up or holding things for a length of time, the list of things that takes a toll on my body is endless.

I’ve even had days where I’m so tired that the skin on my hands hurt and ache. Not something I thought was even possible to experience. I know I’m really ‘tired’ when my hands and fingers ache.

Some people aren’t as fortunate as me either. My ME is considered mild, there are people with severe ME who struggle to stand or walk any distace. It’s painful for them to even move.

It is pure exhaustion

Exhausted is a much better word for it than tired, I think it comes closer to what it actually feels like.

It’s like when you come home at the end of an insane week, where you’ve been so busy you’ve barely had the time to stop and think. Your brain feels disjointed, the air your breathing doesn’t feel like it’s getting to the parts of your body that really need it, and you just need a break.

The only problem is, the feeling isn’t alleviated with rest. You wake up the next day still feeling just as exhausted, and you haven’t actually had the busy week in the first place. The exhaustion and fatigue is just there.

I feel like I could sleep for an entire year and still wake up feeling just as exhausted as I am now. It’s a bit of an exaggeration, but that’s what it’s like living with an illness like this.

I sleep when I need to, there are days when I can barely keep my eyes open and I need a nap. It doesn’t rid me of that exhaustion but it is a much better alternative to trying to stay awake and making things worse.

I’m not ‘just tired’

I’d love to be free of this exhaustion, and perhaps one day I will be. I do know people have recovered from ME, so I know it’s possible for some. But if I spend all of my time thinking and talking about how truly crap it is to live with I wouldn’t be able to get out of bed in the morning.

So, I’ll stick with my ‘I’m fine, I’m just tired’, and hope that maybe one day I’ll be free.

Mental Health Blog Philippa Claire

I know I have spoken in the first person A LOT in this post, because these are my personal experiences with CFS/ME. But there are SO MANY people in our country and around the world struggling with the same things.

Research is limited, there is no real treatment and no cure. When you’re diagnosed with this illness you know there is most likely no way out.

ME awareness week 2020: 11th-17th May 2020. Go blue for ME.


  • Simon Gary

    Hi Claire,
    It is through brave people like you, sharing openly, that awareness of such a debilitating condition rises.
    Your post will bring many of your fellow sufferers’ solace that someone is giving them a voice and explaining their pain.
    Thank you for sharing.

    • Philippa Claire

      You’re welcome, and I’m so glad you’ve taken something good from it! I’m hoping it does help others both with and without chronic fatigue syndrome. Thanks so much for your kind words!

  • Christina

    I never knew about cfs until now, thank you for sharing this. When I think of more than tired I think about the days when it’s overwhelming with my kids but this is so much more, I’m grateful for reading this and now having some insight into the condition so I thank you for taking the time to blog about it.

    • Philippa Claire

      I’m really glad I could give you some more insight, it is a very complex and widely misunderstood condition. Thank you so much for reading and I really hope you’re dong well!

  • Castlesandturrets

    Thanks for being honest and sharing your story. Things like this can be so helpful, and make other people aware that they are not alone. I learned a lot from this post, as it’s not something that I’ve really thought about before. Wishing you all the best – great post x

    • Philippa Claire

      Thank you. It’s quite a misunderstood condition, and I think having low energy isn’t something people think about unless it’s happening to them. I never used to think about it at all but now it’s a part of my daily life!
      I’m glad you’ve found it helpful 🙂

  • Kathryn

    What a brave post to write. I’ve learned so much from this, and it will bring comfort to others going through the same thing to know that they aren’t alone. Thank you for sharing. x

    • Philippa Claire

      That was absolutely my intention here, to help people feel less alone and validated, and to help others learn more about the condition. So I’ll count that as a win.
      I hope you are doing well and keeping safe!

  • Giulia

    It’s very important – and oh how brave too! – for people to talk about this. Thank you for shining a light on this. All the best to you x

  • Kelly

    I find myself saying the same thing ‘I’m just tired’ when I’d rather not discuss what’s on my mind. You’re so brave sharing your ME story and journey and I bet writing is a great release for you.

    • Philippa Claire

      Thank you, Ive had such good feedback on this one so it’s definitely worth putting my story out there!

  • Rosalee

    Philippa, for anyone with a chronic illness or debilitating health condition it’s so important to feel validated. This blog is so helpful and really eye opening in bringing more awareness to the life altering challenges of coping with ME. I don’t have ME but deal with unrelenting chronic pain which on it’s own wears a person down so I have much respect and admiration for the fortitude of those also dealing with the fatigue of ME. Wishing you the best.

    • Philippa Claire

      I’m so sorry to hear that you also struggle with chronic pain. It’s so difficult. I’m glad though that this blog has been useful to you in some way, that’s a great boost to me!
      I hope you are keeping well and safe!

  • Travelogged blogs

    Never heard about cfs until. I read this. Thank you for sharing your experience. Wishing you the best. More people should come forward and talk about it. Unless we create awareness and educate people around the world, no one is going to know about this.

    • Philippa Claire

      You’re so right, that’s part of why I started the blog. Like many things people will never understand unless we talk about it. I’m glad you’ve managed to take something from this post 🙂
      I hope you’re doing well!

  • L

    Thank you so much for sharing this personal experience, it was such an interesting and informative read! I really hope that one day you can, like you said, be free from being “just tired.”

    • Philippa Claire

      Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment on it 🙂 I’m glad you were able to take something from it.

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