Fatigue is the bane of my existence. Clutter qualifies as my lifestyle. If I can’t see something it may as well be lost. I spend about 50% of my day trying to find things I have put “someplace safe.” The other half I spend looking for something I just had in my hand, became distracted and placed it in an unusual place.
MAKE A MOLEHILL FROM A MOUNTAIN: I devised a method of addressing this energy and life-sapping daily experience. I try to do 10 things a day before I allow myself to, say, play Words With Friends. Mind you, the bar of what qualifies as one thing is very low.
Putting dishes away can be counted as one task on a good day. On a more challenging day, the 10-task minimum can be hit by counting each dish that I put away. Often I find that once I start with the 1o, it is easy to add on a few more. Again, very low threshold to count: Open one piece of mail that has been sitting on the table for two days. (Obviously not recommended for anything urgent; those I do open right away.)
WORSENING FATIGUE: Lately, I have found it increasingly difficult to do almost anything. As I told one of my girlfriends one night, “I am too tired to open the refrigerator door.” That is serious fatigue. She suggested tuna fish. Great idea! My brain just didn’t think of a cold food option.
In addition to MS, I was diagnosed through a specialized sleep study with excessive daytime sleepiness (idiopathic hypersomnia) more than 10 years ago. The doctor doing the sleep test said I was one of the worst he had ever seen. There is a pharmaceutical for this: Provigil (modafinil)
OFF-LABEL USE: It can be difficult for people with MS fatigue to be prescribed this medication. Insurance may not cover medications for “off-label” use even when there is anecdotal evidence of benefit. Provigil was approved for use in narcolepsy and excessive daytime sleepiness (sleep disorders) and shift-work sleep disorders.
The drug is not cheap. It is unfortunate when something that works is unaffordable because of regulations that require expensive testing to validate the use for alternative circumstances. There is research ongoing to approve its use for MS fatigue.
The National Multiple Sclerosis Society article linked above and again here states:
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