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Battling with Fatigue

Personal Stories

Battling with Fatigue

I have long struggled with fatigue and low motivation but only recently found the name for the condition, Adynamia, in a book on head injury. I had a stroke when I was only 30 years old - experiencing blindness, dizziness and some paralysis. As my sight resolved into what I have today (right side visual loss in both eyes with a 90 degree field of vision) and my limbs steadied, I started the climb back to normality, or my version of it.


A major part of my rehabilitation has been understanding what I'm dealing with: finding the explanation for a difficulty or a name for a loss. Hence the use of 'Adynamia', or loss of drive. I am looking at a description which says:

"The individual is no longer dynamic or energetic and may appear to lack motivation. Responses to others or to situations are dull, flat. There is slowed mental functioning, a marked decrease in ideas, activity is rarely self-initiated."

Soggy Dough
This is what I have been dealing with during busy periods but it can happen at any time. I can go from full on interested and involved and reciprocal, to 'soggy dough', where I feel flat and unable to contribute. It seems the harder I try to focus and think, the heavier I become. Thoughts don't fire, conversation doesn't flow, questions don't come to mind. Sometimes, occasionally, I'm the opposite, maybe something like 'my old self'. I feel engaged and responsive. When people ask me something I respond fully. Not slowly and vaguely so that they often feel I'm not really interested in the conversation. But I am interested! I am right there but many times it is such an effort to be attentive and keep rolling along with the conversation.

Beyond My Control
No amount of goodwill or concentration changes the situation. I don't know why it passes or how it changes and I become my everyday self. A change of surroundings is always helpful- I find wide open spaces, either country or beach, uplifting. That is not to say I become
animated when there but the thoughts begin to flow and I can feel assertive, alive. If I could just bottle that vigour. If I become disinterested or vague or lacking enthusiasm it is not through laziness or self absorption; it is beyond my control. While I might appear unwilling to participate I am probably desperately trying to pull it together, to energise myself, to get back into the flow.

Fighting the Unresponsive Appearance
I wonder how erratic or maybe lazy or unenthusiastic I appear to people. I guess family accept and are used to the unresponsive mother/relative but I'm sure friends find it disconcerting and sometimes irritating. If I was to tell them about it I don't think I would explain it very clearly, so I don't express it. But if I was to voice it I would ask for their understanding, their acceptance of my loss and my wholehearted desire to be as I was, whole. But that is not to be and so I would ask them to see it from my perspective- something I have no control over, something I have lived with unhappily for a long time, something I can't show them. I would ask that they look beyond what they can see.

The Gift of Understanding
It is a gift when people ask to understand a difficulty, when they acknowledge our losses, when they realise that because you can't see it doesn't mean it doesn't exist. I don't know if there is a strategy for adynamia. For myself I've found having a name for it and knowing others have it gives me room to be not so critical of myself, freedom to accept it and hope others will too.


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