Sometimes when I am especially fatigued, I can also experience tearfulness, which may or may not go along with depression. In tearful episodes, however, I don’t even need to be especially sad.
Sometimes a Hallmark commercial or something someone says that is especially sweet can trigger it. When these things happen, I find it best to just let myself cry.
It can be embarrassing at times, but it just means an extra trip to the bathroom to let it all out. You might find that a good cry can be somewhat therapeutic and you might even feel a bit cleansed afterward.
Anger and Resentment
Anger and resentment are two others feelings I sometimes notice with my fatigue, and they go hand-in-hand. I’m generally not an angry or resentful person, but at times of really terrible lupus fatigue, I may find myself getting angrier or more resentful at people.
Although this is similar to irritability, it usually manifests more as anger at your situation and those who are not dealing with it. This especially occurs for me when I hear “normal” people with 9-5 jobs complaining about being exhausted from work or moaning about how they haven’t had the flu in years and now they are ill in bed.
It can get especially frustrating because lupus is invisible, and people may express that they are “jealous” that you get to “lay in bed all day.” However, they have no idea what many of us would give to have enough energy to do a 9-5 job!
This can lead to rifts in friendships and can also contribute to feelings of depression and irritability. When this occurs, sometimes I vent to my other chronically ill friends, which really helps put things in perspective. I also like to make lists of things I have accomplished so I can look back on it when I am feeling especially useless due to my fatigue.
Lastly, stress can be a big factor that both makes your fatigue worse and heightens all of the other negative feelings you may be having.
For me, I often get upset if the work I’m supposed to be doing gets pushed to the side in favour of longer sleeps, which in turn leads to stress.
This can be exacerbated by financial stress if you are unable to work or the fatigue takes time away from your job. Although I work from home, I still find I get very stressed when I am behind on things, so I like to keep lists of things that absolutely need to be done.
If you only have energy to do one very necessary thing a day, then set that as your goal. Everything else can wait until you’re in fighting form.
When dealing with fatigue, managing it can be one of the keys to keeping emotions in check. Although it can get out of control if you’re having a flare, try to work around day-to-day fatigue. Get enough sleep for your body, even if that means 10-12 hours a night.
When you feel up to it (though don’t push — you know your body best), exercise is a great way to combat sleepiness. This doesn’t necessarily mean you have to run a marathon (although if you can, more power to you!), but gentle exercise like yoga, walking the dog or even just walking around the block can make you feel a little more invigorated and help to clear your head.
Remember to take time out for yourself and allow yourself time to feel the emotions you’re having, but not letting them run away with you.