Friday, May 31, 2013

Autoimmune Fatigue: Reaching The Tipping Point

While the details are different, this is probably a story familiar to other readers.  I've been officially diagnosed with AI disease for a few years now and you might think that I would not let an increase in my energy levels lead me to overdo it.  But it is an inexact science to gauge my tipping point or that magic cut off between feeling good to having overwhelming  fatigue.

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At the beginning of the week, I had energy.  I was a very excited to welcome this old friend  that makes rare appearances back into my life. I was able to walk the city streets at the same pace as others. Dare I say there might have even been a bounce to my step. My future seemed to  have a few more possibilities than usual--would working if even part-time be an option?  Maybe  I would be able to get to some of those house projects that have been piling up?

My feeling good also corresponded to an upcoming work event that my husband had to attend. I wasn't initially planning to go, but I decided why not attend now that I was feeling  up to it.  I realized that I hadn't been out in so long that I needed to go shopping for something to wear.  But I soon found that going to stores and the actual act of trying on clothes is extremely tiring.  That creeping fatigue and pain started to set in the day before the dinner.

I rested beforehand as has become my routine whenever I have  plans.  Still I wasn't sure if I could make it though the evening, but I was determined to be there.  I had made a decision and I wanted to stick to it!  Yes, some have called me stubborn before.  In the end,  I managed to attend and was proud of myself for just getting there.  I even made  it through the evening and although my energy had started to seriously dwindle before I arrived,  I was buoyed in the moment by socializing and meeting new people.  I rose to the occasion.

Now, the next day was certainly a different story. I had pushed myself too far.  My fatigue was complete and overwhelming and my entire body ached.  My neurological symptoms were also  rearing their ugly head. I had crossed the tipping point of overdoing it and I crashed.  It took me a two day couch-rest to recover and begin to recoup some of my energy. 

Was it  worth it? Most definitely. I won't make a habit of overdoing it and using my energy sparingly  is critical, but there are occasions when the benefits outweigh the after effects.  The  trick is choosing these rare occasions very wisely and not too close together.  I do wish there were a monitor that would alert me each time a rest is needed before the fatigue sets in.


  1. I feel as if you have written about my past week. Let me know if you come across a fatigue monitor!

  2. I can really relate to this, too. Since I still work full time, all errands get postponed to Saturday. Sometime the list gets done, but more often it doesn't. When I venture away from the house on those days when the energy level is borderline, the tipping point generally comes before the list is done. That good news is I've learned that getting it all done just isn't as important as it used to be.

    1. That's a great point. Getting it all done can't be the end goal when you have autoimmune disease. It has to be getting enough done so as not to get too exhausted.

  3. Very familiar! I recently had a similar episode trying to attend a charity event. By the end of the night I was trying to lay down on a bench in my ball gown. Phew! But I'm usually glad to spend the energy when I have it, even if I over do it. :P

  4. The story of my life with RA! I often feel guilty for over doing it, then getting slapped across the face with a flare which leads to neglecting my family and work. Nice to know I am not the only one! Thanks for sharing!