Home / Blog Posts / Fatigue and the Black Dog / Diary of a Chronically Exhausted Vicar. Episode 17

While my communities gather for worship on this sunny spring Sunday morning – I can hear them singing next door – I continue at home on orders of complete rest.

Diary of a chronically exhausted vicar image

This week, I received the results of the blood tests, which show that the glandular fever of earlier in the year has returned.
On the one hand, this diagnosis is a relief. You may recall from earlier episodes, I was not happily anticipating a diagnosis of chronic fatigue, another chronic illness to manage, naming an expectation of ongoing exhaustion and fragility for who knows how long. Glandular fever has slightly more potential for leaving sooner, and leaving me alone.
On the other hand, this diagnosis is only marginally better than one of chronic fatigue. The treatment is the same: actively do nothing so as to let the body rest and heal itself. The potential for lingering long term is real. The connection with chronic fatigue is well known, and either can lead into the other. And if chronic fatigue is a contributing factor, it is still undiagnosed, and therefore any medical help I can get to manage the condition still not on offer.

Late in the week, after 10 days or so of (almost – I tried) complete rest, I did start to feel a little better. The fog began to lift so that I could think more clearly. The heaviness abated somewhat, at least for short periods. I felt less need to sleep all day and all night. And, should I feel tempted to launch back into being active too quickly, I pulled a muscle in my hip, which made movement slow and painful for a few days.

I did continue to lie down, or sit in comfy chairs, and close my eyes. My ability to do that for lengthy periods and not feel the urge to do or think anything is still astounding me.
I did some small projects, putting furniture together and taking hours, or days, to complete a single piece, doing a bit at a time between long rests. Spending so long in my house, the furnishing of which is an ongoing and evolving process, I saw all the things I want to do, and to alleviate the boredom, I did a few of them. I am exercising considerable restraint and patience not to spend this month’s whole pay packet, and the small reserves of energy I have replenished on rushing out and finishing the plans for the indoor garden. Aquarium, terrariums, pots, plants, water feature, rugs, side tables, lamps … I can see it all. But. Sigh. It will all have to wait. Likely till the new year.

For there are some other expenses I am planning to explore in pursuit of wellness. For a start, membership at a pool where I can do aqua aerobics and swim. I find I have quite a physical craving for the water, being held in it, immersed in it. I think I will also seek a chiropractor who practices network spinal analysis, a form of treatment I have found very helpful for enhancing my wellbeing in the past.

Having read Brené Brown’s The Gifts of Imperfection, I am encouraged by the thought that slowing down my spending of money and acquiring of things, even in the building of an indoor garden that promotes joy, calm, and a hobby of gentle exercise, will fine tune my decisions in the direction of enough, and away from excess. So I can wait, piece together the indoor garden and the other rooms of my home slowly, cultivating gratitude for what I have, and pursuing that which I do not, as yet: good health.