No, not the global energy crisis. Mine! I am missing two kinds of energy – mental and physical. I often have one or the other missing – fibromyalgia will do that to you. But not often are they both missing at the same time.
The physical energy seems to be in short supply rather than having none at all. For the past week, I’ve gotten what I need to do done in the morning. Good thing! About 3 PM, I start to feel like someone left the tap open on my energy faucet. There seems to be a total lack of energy in my muscles. If I foolishly lie down on the bed “for a minute”, I realize I could stay there for hours. I feel like the proverbial wet dishrag. It might be understandable if I weren’t taking medication to increase the energy. I think that, when you have fibromyalgia, you body picks and chooses what medication it will allow to work and when.
What concerns me more is the mental energy. It concerns me more but I also understand it more. Some of the lack of mental energy or clarity can certainly be attributed to fibromyalgia also. But I suspect more of it is due to mild depression. I already take an antidepressant to boost the serotonin in my brain for the fibromyalgia. Although I resisted my doctor’s suggestion to do so for a year, I finally gave in and took it because he said it might help with the pain. To my utter amazement, it did. I was sorry I’d been stubborn.
This mild depression is understandable. I lost my mother 3 weeks ago. We had a slightly volatile relationship over the years but it doesn’t change the fact that we loved each other. It’s all the small things that creep up on me – or the things that annoyed me that I now realize I’ll miss. In my mind, I keep seeing a select (and slightly creepy) couple of images of my mother when she was in the hospital – both before and after she passed.
I’m also concerned about my daughter, who lives 6 hours away. She’ s had the flu and apparently developed pneumonia with it. She also has a lot going on at work right now and, being exceptionally responsible, is using more energy than she has available on her work tasks. At least she’s seen the doctor once.
I’m concerned about my son, who is 25 and has Asperger’s Syndrome. He’s been working full time for WalMart, unloading trucks on second shift. He’s transitioning off Social Security disability. He wants to have an independent life and a place of his own. We had hoped what he was making at WalMart would enable him to do that. But he also needs a new car. And the fact that he’s got health insurance available to him means that he won’t be eligible for Mass Health any more. But he is required by Mass law to take the health insurance offered by his employer.
My husband and I sat and tried to understand the plans offered by WalMart so we could help him choose the plan that was best for him – both coverage-wise and financially. It was worse than trying to read tax codes and instructions for filling out income taxes. I wondered, if two pretty intelligent and experienced adults had this much trouble understanding what they were talking about, how would my son have done it by himself? Or how would many other less educated people who also work for this company?
My husband, who is a financial wizard, sat down with my son to review his finances and see what he could afford for a new car. Now that he knew what the deductions would be for health, dental and life insurances, they could do that more concretely. Unfortunately, it wasn’t pretty. We may have to stop charging him for room and board so he’ll have enough for a car payment. After all, he must have car to keep his job. But that leaves little extra for housing. He wants to have his own place and we’re talking about not charging room and board ($100/month). He couldn’t ever find an apartment for that price. The going rate around here is about $600/month for a one bedroom apartment.
But our current situation isn’t going to make anyone happy over the long run. He has one room that is too small for his belongings. We have no privacy and neither does he. The house is over 50 years old and needs work (we’ve been pumping water out of the basement for over a week – that after my husband worked very hard last year to waterproof it!).
I think my brain works overtime trying to come up with solutions for all these issues. Sometimes it feels like being a hamster running on the wheel – going like hell but getting nowhere.
When you put the grief on top of the other problems, what you get is a bit of mild, understandable depression. My eyes well up with tears at unexpected moments and I feel a weight sitting on my chest. I tell myself to breathe when these things happen. Between teaching childbirth classes and taking relaxation/stress reduction classes, I’ve got the relaxation response down pat. But you need to practice it and do it – which I haven’t been. It’s something about a lack of energy. I know, vicious circle.
In my deepest self, I know this too will pass. I have faith that God will provide a door or window – or maybe cash for my son. Until then, I’ll try to stay awake and get what needs to be done done.