MS, Fatigue and Burnout

I was just looking at some website about stress and burnout.  I took a quick online test and answered the questions as to how I was feeling at the time I left my job.  According to the test I was at extreme risk of burnout and needed to do something fast.  So was it just burnout?  Was it fatigue?  Was it the MS caused cognitive problems?Chronic-fatigue-syndrome

I still wonder about how overwhelmed I was when I left my last job.  My GP told me I seemed quite sleep deprived (I had been suffering insomnia where I woke up about every half an hour during the night, so never got into REM sleep).  My neurologist felt I was possibly suffering some severe cognitive effects of the MS, but didn’t feel testing was necessary.  I was not seeing a therapist or a psychiatrist at the time, but it would’ve been interesting to hear their take on the situation.  My current psychiatrist and therapist both think it was a combination of forces that created the ‘perfect storm’ scenario for what amounted to a nervous breakdown.  I was even getting paranoid that my co-workers or even my boss was sabotaging my work in order to get me to quit or to give them a reason to fire me.

I still hurts when I think about how capable I used to be.  My therapist said it was bound to happen, I had too much on my plate, too many people demanding things of me for so long that I had nothing left to give, and certainly nothing left for me.  My life was completely out of balance and it doesn’t surprise them that I could no longer hang on.  I’ve talked with my therapist about going back to work and she’s of the mind that I should not try.  I am just now getting my self filled up and learning how to better manage the demands of life and family.  If I have to go back to work a career change would be better for me, then to go back into an executive support role.  How I find out something else I can do is the tricky part.  She said, who knows, maybe I’ll end up getting a paying job at the animal shelter, or start teaching T’ai Chi. LOL  She also indicated I needn’t think about going back to work just yet.

Invisible DIsI wonder about what she said about working full time at an animal shelter or something.  Certainly, there can’t be as much money as I was making, but it would make me feel worthy.  Volunteering is starting to help that sense of worthiness.  The exercise classes help wear me out (completely) and allow me to sleep better.  The idea of going back to work is frightening.  Even if it was something more simple than I used to do, the idea of going to work 8 hours a day every day is daunting.  The fatigue isn’t just from the exercise.  At least I don’t think so.

Would someone without MS be exhausted for two days after one hour of cardio?  Would someone without MS be so beat after 4 hours on their feet walking dogs sleep for 12 hours for two nights running?  How does someone without severe fatigue understand it in someone else?  I really suffer on Fridays, between getting up (relatively) early for one hour of Tai Chi (which is less strenuous than yoga) and four hours at the shelter.  I hurt from my head to my toes after only a half day’s work.  If I worked 8 hours a day again I don’t think I could maintain it for very long at all.

My issue is how do you convince the government that you’re disabled because you’re tired?  It doesn’t show up on any tests.  It can’t really be measured.  I look perfectly healthy, so how could I possibly be disabled.  Of course, they don’t know how I look right now.  I’m expecting some paperwork from DI to complete, about my daily habits.  Do I include the exercise I am doing?  Do I merely omit that?  Seems dishonest, as I am not claiming I cannot walk or exercise, only that my stamina for such things is limited.  I suppose a call to the lawyer my be in order.

For now though, I’ve got to take a nap.

Peace to all.  May all your wishes come true.

20 thoughts on “MS, Fatigue and Burnout

    1. I have some papers to complete today for DI. We’ll see what happens. I do have some new problems though, that have manifested since I started my application. Maybe it will help convince them I have a serious problem with working any longer. Most days I don’t think I could handle a job at Starbucks…I don’t drink coffee and don’t think I could remember all those fancy drinks and how to make them.

  1. I believe that it is very difficult for some or even most to believe what fatigue related to MS is like.. that was and remains one of my most constant side effect… What that does to one emotionally is another effect. I would think that it is such a well documented issue for those with MS that the government upon receiving a note from your doctor could NOT dispute it. Then you have the weakness also and the recurring neuro pain and the fact you can’t walk very far at a time…
    I don’t think you should try to work either right now because aside from your physical condition your emotional and the government process are other reasons.
    Exercising should not be considered a negative by the disability people because they actually encourage some exercise to keep you mobile and to keep your muscles working… so that should go in your favor…. ie trying to keep the MS from progressing and costing more money on the system…

    In any case just do what feels right to you…you know your body better than anyone else…even the doctor…. Boy did I give my opinion or what??? Diane

    1. Diane,

      Yes you did give me your opinion, and I thank you for that. It really helps to have people who understand, and you do. I did figure out that this latest bout with fatigue was exacerbated by some sort of mild cold. I’m quite congested today, with a sinus headache and runny nose

      I finally got the papers the DI wants me to complete. I may be nearing the end. The thing is I’m now developing some sort of issue with my ankles. Whether it’s related to my sprain, I don’t know, but my neuro doesn’t think it’s MS related. I see a podiatrist next week. We’ll see what he says.

  2. Hit the back button one time too much and now my comment’s gone, sucks. Anyway write it again in notes.
    Volunteering half day three times a week starting in spring, finding that job and training yourself physically and mentally for it until then.sounds good?
    Tired is question of mind too.
    Try to think you are not tired and you probably will feel less tired. What do you think
    Take care

    1. It’s pretty hard to think clearly when the MS fatigue hits. Hits you mentally as well as physically. Just can’t really think straight. Nothing for it but sleep. But thanks for the idea, next time I’ll see how changing my thinking may help.

  3. Dealing with Fibro & RA, I get the fatigue thing! It just takes over your body and there is nothing you can do about it. It is hard for others to understand. It’s like a huge dark cloud coming down and crushing you. Often I feel like I have ran a marathon or have been hit by a mack truck! Hang in there.

  4. I have the same disabled picture on my blog, and you are 100% correct.
    I batted my Dr and everyone else when my pain came. Bloodwork and scans were coming back ok. So people thought I was ok..
    People need to realise, as you say, not all disabilities are black and white and there on show.

    This is an issue just now in the UK this illness, Dr’s are not seeing it, people who really need medication and support as the can’t work. I just hope one day a test is available for people to notice the pain..

    Great blog!

    1. It’s tough to respond to the “You look so good” comments, isn’t it. Sort of dismisses the reality of your pain. My old boss used to say that. I think he meant it kindly, but people don’t realize how it makes one feel.

      Hope you’re having a less painful day.

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