Occasionally my anaemic state catches up with me and energy is in short supply. It’s a bit of a crash and burn situation.

It hit me during the latter half of this week. Feet-dragging, neck-lolling, frayed nerve-ends exhaustion. My doctor has been on at me for years to manage my time better. I tend to be one of those gung ho, in boots and all kind of people with little regard for how much sleep I’m getting or whether I’m eating properly. It is not a good idea to go, go ,go when one’s normal energy levels shatter at the smallest jolt.

Towards the end of the week I could feel the familiar haze descending; the lassitude, the sense of pointlessness, and the stubborn resistance of my mind telling my body to keep on going. No matter what. But the body wouldn’t oblige.

All I wanted to do in the evenings was sleep. No reading. No TV. No blogging. Sometimes that’s the way it works. There is a shutting down of sorts. Sometimes too much effort is required for everything.

I tried to motivate myself today by going for a walk. I stood at a point overlooking the harbour where there is a wrought-iron fence you can link your fingers through. I stand there often, pretending I’m a princess at the entrance to a castle, looking out at the world but unable to participate because my father refuses to let me leave the castle so that my position behind the fence is a kind of prison. Just as fatigue is.

But you gotta respect fatigue. All that spirit is willing but the flesh is weak stuff has a ring of truth to it. It’s a busy, busy world we live in. There is always something to do, people to see, places to go, blogs to visit. Fatigue knows what it’s talking about. It is the motherly type, shaking its finger at those who disregard the signs it throws in our path.

The fence left a gritty sheen on my fingers, smelling metallic as blood. A young man, dressed entirely in white called to me as I gazed out to sea, indicating the stairs leading to the road. He must have thought I was a tourist, he must have thought that if he didn’t call out to me I would stay, stranded forever behind that fence. He must have thought that I thought use of the stairs was forbidden.

So I walked down those stairs, black-tinged sandstone with lines of moss at the edges, throwing out my arms as I reached the bottom as a child does when they cross the finishing line in a race. There was a chill wind coming in from the bay but there was the clean touch of triumph in the air.

I saw the young man look back and I indicated my descent with a flourish. He adjusted his collar, laughing to himself, his white clothes billowing like sails. I took my eyes off him for a moment as a boat sounded its horn, and when I looked back, he was gone.

Happy, I walked back up the stairs and headed for home. My fatigue for the moment, forgotten, blown apart unexpectedly by the white-clothed stranger. All I could think of as I headed for home was something my son always says when the daily routine has been abandoned:

‘Normal service will resume shortly.’

And with fatigue currently at bay, I know it will.

22 thoughts on “Fatigued

  1. Is there nowhere in Sydney you can buy a can of Irn Bru? Used to work wonders for me! Red Bull has an effect something like it, but not as pronounced.


  2. Beautifully written, you have a way with words. I found myself at the harbour with you experiencing what you were experiencing. I know that feeling of fatigue too. Take care,


  3. I hear ya! Although I discovered it also works the other way around. Living in a small, lethargic town where lights are out by 8pm and there’s hardly anything to do but hang out at Wal-Mart all weekend can do damage, as well. Uhh, just thinking about it makes me want to take a nap.


  4. TRAVELRAT – Irn Bru does work. There is a shop in Leichhardt that sells it. I have never tried Red Bull but maybe I should. Maybe an Irn Bru with a Red Bull chaser?

    NAT – I think fatigue is a part of modern life, isn’t it? We all need to take better care of ourselves.

    INSPIRATION – so nice of you to visit. Sometimes all we need is a big sleep, I think. Good to hear from you.

    CHRIS – you always cheer me up. Lights out at 8PM? Nothing to do but hang out at Wal-Mart. I’m asleep already. 😀


  5. Hi Selma!
    I know what being burnt is… ever since this summer when I got sick it has been haunting me. I actually slept for 14hrs last night then got up to take Mica for a walk. After that i had so much stuff to do but no energy… even Red Bull didn’t give me wings LOL! I ended up sleeping for another 3 hours and it took everything I had to get up… so with a cup of coffee by my side I’m catching up on your blog and surfing the net!


  6. TBALL – I hope you have family or friends who can help you out when you’re feeling unwell. Sometimes the recovery from a major illness is worse than the actual illness. A friend of mine had pneumonia over a year ago and she is still recovering. Her fatigue levels are unprecedented. Look after yourself, my dear, and give Mica a smooch for me.


  7. i have always been a sleeper,, even in the height of my addictions i only ever on one occasion spent any number of days without sleep… i am not a go getter tho either,, so it is easier for me to say ,, naw,, i’m going to bed than it is for most people,,,, take it easy missy,, we don’t want your anemia getting the best of you!!!!!


  8. If you’re feeling as tired as I am no caffeine enhanced drink in the world is going to help. I have tried all of them and all I feel is sick.

    I am so sorry honey and can only offer my wishes that things get better. One thing to look forward to is realising how good a writer you are when I post my first Writer’s Island post tomorrow. Oh how smug are you going to feel! 😉


  9. PAISLEY – Aww, you are a sweetie. Don’t worry, common sense eventually kicks in with me. My main problem is that I have so many stories to write and so little time. Hehe.

    BEC – nausea and tiredness also go hand in hand with me. Blech. Oddly enough, I find drinking a lot of water helps. And re. your Writer’s Island post – I know I am going to love it. I can’t tell you how thrilled I am that you’re participating. You will find that it really helps you develop your style and voice as the weeks go on. I am really excited. YAY!


  10. “crash and burn situation.”
    “Feet-dragging, neck-lolling, frayed nerve-ends exhaustion.”
    “My main problem is that I have so many stories to write and so little time. Hehe.”

    Hi Selma,
    I appreciate the wonderful writings that you present, for free, on a regular basis for my reading pleasure. I look forward to your posts, but don’t kill yourself providing free entertainment. When it comes to your writing, you work hard and write well; you deserve to be compensated. So, I hope that you are sending some stories off to paying publications.


  11. Well, as I suffer from chronic fatigue syndrome, I know what you mean. It took me many years to learn how to manage it, take regular naps, eat better, organise things around you more, but I made it in the end.
    It IS manageable.


  12. DAOINE – awwww. You are the best.

    DAVID – you are such a kind person. I do send off the odd story here and there but it is the novel-writing that is tiring me. I need to reassess my priorities. Thank you so much for your support. I hope you know how much I appreciate it.

    ANTHONY – you are someone I really look up to in this blogging world. You have such a tremendous amount of output which you seem to handle with ease. I do think it is all about how you manage your time, isn’t it? I’m going to take a leaf out of your book. Thank you.


  13. Fatigue is my main enemy while battling MS and it’s so frustrating. My mind wants to do things my body just won’t commit to and there’s a constant struggle between mind, body and soul. You’re right though, it’s important that we listen to the signals are body gives us because in the end it always wins anyway.


  14. Fatigue can be a powerful force but I think it can also teach us so much too. We need to take ‘time outs’ to just chill, rest and regroup. And to think about what we eat, what exercise we get etc….to be our best. I’m glad you are feeling a bit better Selma. Do take care of yourself. Great post, as usual. Huggs, G



  15. As one who is always tired, I can certainly relate to your situation. Water does help, and proper diet, but there are days I’m too tired to eat right or drink my water. Unfortunately, the family doesn’t quite understand why I’m so tired even though I had seven hours of sleep.

    I loved the part about the gate, feeling like a princess, and the fellow in white. It sounds like prince charming paid a visit.

    Feel better soon, m’dear. Novel writing IS exhausting. Do what makes you feel the most alive.


  16. GYPSY – I feel awful complaining about my fatigue knowing what you have to deal with. You really are an inspiration. And you’re right – the bod always wins.

    GERALDINE – I am a big fan of time out. LOVE it. It really makes you appreciate what you have.

    KAREN – shame he didn’t carry me away to his castle in the clouds or give me that goose that lays the golden eggs. The party would have been on me if that were the case. You’re right – the novel writing process is tiring but I do love it.


  17. Wonderful post and an important reminder. I’m so, so bad about taking any downtime before I hit the wall and have to be scraped off. Really lovely imagery all through the piece as well – thanks and take good care.


  18. KAYT – I think many of us work our fingers to the bone these days, don’t we? ‘Burn out’ is a term bandied around so frequently. I try to remember that time out is just as important as working but sometimes it can be hard to strike a balance. So glad you stopped by.


  19. I’m thinking of the Mastercard commercial, where the man is enjoying himself relaxing with his kids, and the voice-over:

    ‘Remembering who you really work for … priceless!’


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