I haven’t written about my chronic fatigue in a while, mainly because I’ve been feeling a lot better in myself and more accepting about our situation. For anyone who doesn’t know, I was diagnosed two and half years ago with chronic fatigue, when my youngest was nine months old. At first it was thought to be post-natal depression but when I received counselling and was referred for further investigation they decided it was chronic fatigue and some depression.
That was two and a half years ago and since then we’ve been up and down, it’s been a rollercoaster. It’s taken a long time and a lot of struggles but we finally seemed to have managed a balance which means I get enough rest, the children are looked after and my husband gets time to himself as much as he can. It’s working and on the whole I am feeling positive.
So when I hear comments like I have today it knocks me for six. I’ve always been quite a sensitive person, and with something like this that is extremely difficult and I’ve come across lots of judgement on, even more so.
We currently have various workmen in as we are undergoing a loft conversion. It’s all been pretty smooth and with as little mess as possible, however there have been many a day when I need to sleep and there are strangers in the house. Strangers who don’t know me and aren’t aware of my illness and will definitely think it’s weird when my husband goes off to work, I pack the kids off to school and nursery and then go to bed. In my mind it is a weird enough situation that I may step back and think there must be a reason for a woman who looks fine to be sleeping three to four hours in the middle of the day. I guess not everyone is like me.
Today I overheard two of said workmen saying what a nice life I must have, sleeping the day away. That’s it, a seemingly harmless, throwaway comment. But it slapped me around the face and I’m still reeling.
Part of me instantly goes to guilt and sadness. I am a terrible person, mother and wife who does nothing but sleep. So what do I but use some of my newly-stored energy to clean the kitchen because that’s what a stay at home mum should do.
The other part of me is enraged. How dare these men judge me like that. They are in my house, the work we’re having done is paying their wages and what I do with my time is nothing to do with them.
But then the red mist fades, the tears dry and I step back and try and understand. They don’t know, and hopefully they never will.
But maybe, a little less judgement would be nice.