Wednesday, July 26, 2006

The Afternoon Slump

No matter how good I may feel when I start the day (and I am fortunate enough to have a fair share of "good days" now), I always feel crappy in the afternoon. This daily slump is really getting old. I have this pocket of useless time every single day. I've often wondered whether other people with CFIDS have similar daily energy cycles, and if there's anything I can do about it.

I learned long ago that I can best manage to live my life with CFIDS if I stick to a predictable routine. My doctor told me this when I was first diagnosed, and, much to my frustration, I've found she was absolutely right. Spontaneity became a thing of the past.

My routine is all about rest. I know that I need a good 9 hours of sleep at night to feel decent the next day. I have also learned that those lazy weekend mornings in bed that I enjoyed pre-illness (and pre-children!) won't work anymore. I have to get to sleep early each night because I wake up at the first sign of morning light. My husband, Ken, complains about the cave-like quality of our bedroom. My only hope of sleeping to 7:30 or 8:00 am is to obsessively shut out all light. We have room-darkening shades, and I even have to close the doors to the hall and the bathroom.

Even if I wake up from "the cave" feeling great, by early afternoon I'm ready to lie down again. I take a nap every day. When I first got sick, I avoided mid-day resting unless I felt really bad, but I soon learned that by the time I feel bad, it's too late to stop the freight-train of a crash. The power of preventative rest in CFIDS is amazing. Taking that daily nap allows me to feel good through the evening, so I can enjoy some time with Ken and the kids and even stay up until 10 pm (ooh!).

Even though I feel much better with my nap than without it, I often wake up feeling rotten. My mouth is dry, my legs ache, and I have no energy. I end up having to go lie down on the couch to rest from my nap!

The really stupid part is that I still sometimes try to make plans for my afternoons. Today, in a fit of feeling good and having the freedom to do anything I wanted, I looked through my favorite cooking magazines this morning and made all sorts of plans for delicious dinners to make for Ken and I this week (stuff the kids would never eat!). I figured I'd run to the grocery store after my nap. Duh! Now the store (and the dinner) will have to wait until tomorrow.

Oh, well. Besides routine, the next most important part of managing CFIDS is flexibility. So, I called my husband at work and made plans to meet him for dinner at a favorite restaurant. I should feel well enough by then to manage it, and I can hit the grocery store tomorrow (in the morning!). Hey, wait a minute...this is spontaneous, isn't it? You just gotta go with the flow.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Sue, I also have the daily energy drags. If I feel good when I wake up, usually anywhere between lunch time and 2:00 p.m. I will get extremely wore out. If I wake up not feeling well, I usually will not get any kind of energy spurt until maybe 8:00 p.m. Stinks doesn't it?