Suddenly, for no reason at all my body decided to act normal for a brief moment in time and the experience was eye-opening. Unfortunately, my foray into the normal world wasn’t a walk on the pain-free side. Instead, I experienced three days in which I believe I had closer to normal energy levels. It was the strangest experience. I just woke up one morning and getting out of bed wasn’t this giant effort. I was able to take a shower without it completely destroying me. I was actually confused by these events. Normally my body feels like it weighs thousands of pounds. Every movement, the short walk from my bed to the couch is a monumental effort. Spending the day on the couch isn’t a choice, this isn’t my idea of a good time, it’s my only option. Every little thing is so terribly difficult that I have to give myself a pep talk to just sit up, then another to stand, finally another to accomplish whatever minor task I have in mind. That is my normal and it has been that way so long that I forgot that life was ever any other way. Then along came these three days.
No pep talks needed, I just did whatever I wanted. My pain level wasn’t affected, so I was still limited in my activities. Sadly, no skydiving this time. I also had to be mindful to not overdo it and increase my pain level. However, as I lay on the couch I was restless and frustrated! I wanted to move, to get up and do things. I suddenly realized that this was how normal people felt all the time. That doing things was easier for them than holding still. No wonder people are so confused by my complete and total exhaustion. Just as I’m stymied by their seemingly endless energy.
Still for three days I walked in those shoes and by pure chance, we had parties to attend each night. I was able to go to all of them, whereas I would have normally been forced to bow out of one or two. I didn’t spend all day talking myself into going and working up my mental courage. In fact, I was restless all day, but mindful of my pain levels, so I waited until it was time to go out. It was a long wait. In contrast, there is usually some amount of dread to going out and the time always goes too fast. I had fun each night, I didn’t tire out a couple hours in and spend the rest of the night waiting for one of my companions to be done. I was more talkative, more opinionated, and laughed more easily. Usually just physically being there was my best effort, so I often sit back and watch everyone else. Of course, sitting for several hours three nights in a row did a number on my back pain. Each day that pain number ratcheted up a bit, but the energy remained.
During the days I still wanted to accomplish things, to continue to move, but used will power and logic to remain mostly still. I very slowly and carefully enjoyed some yoga, which was a totally different experience when my body was so eager to move. Normal people live in a completely different world than I do. I have lived with this extreme fatigue for so long that I completely forgot what energy actually felt like. I forgot that most people don’t dread the smallest of activities, that they experience restlessness if they don’t move around enough on a regular basis. That it actually feels good to move for them instead of something that makes you miserable both physically and emotionally. Maybe all of this seems so obvious, but we all get so caught up in our own lives that we rarely stop to consider what life is like for someone else. I have no idea where those days came from or why, but they left as suddenly as they came and, as usual, I paid for it in spades. Still, I wouldn’t give up my walk on the normal side.