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MS Fatigue vs. Ordinary Fatigue

Posted Jan 14 2009 8:53pm
Today I was reading the latest post on Braincheese and it reminded me of something I have been thinking about a bit lately. I have noticed that there is tired and MS tired. Unfortuantely they seem to be different.

When I am just tired I feel sleepy but otherwise ok. There is no urgency to sleep and when I do get to it I rest well but not like I am tumbling off a cliff.

MS fatigue is a whole different ball game. For me, it takes two forms. The first is less troublesome than the second. I often find that when I have completed rigorous excercise that I get very sleepy shortly thereafter. If I try not to sleep I will feel like falling asleep wherever I am. If I do sleep, I fall asleep for like 3 hours in the middle of the day. It's crazy... One hour of rigorous excercise often requires 3 hours of sleep on the flip side.

The second kind of MS fatigue is much more frightening. Sleep becomes a need like food and water and it doesn't want to wait. I sometimes make driving mistakes or feel like I will sleep at the wheel in this state. More distrubingly, I sometimes get so tired it makes me headachy or nauseated and the only cure seems to be sleep. When I do sleep at these times it is like falling. I feel as though I am tumbling through the bed. I often get vertigo as I drift off. I sleep deeply but I am plagued by evil dreams. These dreams often awaken me and I can't sleep again. When I do awake from one of these sleeps, I am often still exhausted. I usually have some vertigo, skull pain and a tongue cemented to the roof of my mouth. This sleep is scary. Even scarier is the prospect of doing without the sleep when I am overtaken by this kind of fatigue.

I want to tell myself that I felt the MS kind of tired before my diagnoses but the only times I can remember now involved MS symptoms that I did not know were MS. Lately I have been exhausted but since I have started work, it seems just like tiredness and not the scary MS fatigue so I am keeping my fingers crossed, eating right and taking it slow.
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