This picture of a very tired Penguin was taken last week, on a visit to Standen House and Gardens. He had only had about 4 hours of sleep that night, plus a short nap in the car on our way to Standen. Perhaps we should have changed our plans and stayed at home instead, but it was daddy’s day off and we’d been looking forward to getting out and exploring a new place. So we went, and managed to have a pretty good day until it came to this worn-out stage.
I’ll get back to our day at Standen in another post, because what meant to say in connection with this picture is not so much about Penguin’s occassional tiredness, as about MY own almost permanent exhaustion. Lately I’ve felt that it’s got the better of me. I’ve been finding it so hard to source enough energy for all the everyday things that always need doing. I’ve found myself getting out of breath over nothing, and in the afternoons I often feel that I’ve used up all my energy for the day, and after that it’s just a struggle to get through the remaining hours until bedtime. And I feel constantly guilty for things that should have got done but haven’t.
For the most part, I’ve been attributing my exhaustion to the fact that I’d caused myself ‘burn out’ before our move back to the UK (about 18 months ago). For years I’d been trying to manage a very engaging full-time job (which I loved, for the most part) along side the extra input and support which Penguin needed from me, and all the searching for more knowledge on how to help him, and the disrupted sleep, etc. And when he started school it was all taken to a new level, which pretty much broke me as a person (maybe I’ll talk about that more in detail in another post sometime…).
So, being knackered has been my normal, in a way, for a long time. Lately though, it has seemed to be getting worse, to a degree that has got me worried as well as annoyed with myself. There’s still been quite a few stressful aspects to my daily life, as we’re still finding our feet after our big move from Sweden (which has been very tough financially, so much stress to do with that). But I’ve really tried hard to take things easy, to not put unnessecary pressures on myself, to practise mindfulness and enjoy the moments, etc. And I’ve been hoping that my energy levels would increase, or at least not drop even further…
I’ve not wanted to see a doctor about it because I thought they’d just tell me that I need to find myself more support, as if Penguin’s autism was the main reason for me being exhausted. (I could go off on a tangent here about how that advice wouldn’t be helpful etc but I’ll leave it for now, as this post is already getting quite long…)
But in the past 2-3 months my heels have become increasingly painful (probably plantar fasciitis) and I’ve also developed a sore hip and a funny bruised feeling in a small area close to my spine. So I finally went to the doctor, and told her about my aches and pains as well as always feeling knackered. She started by ordering blood tests, to check for things like inflammation markers, hormonal imbalances, lack of iron, calcium levels etc. Yesterday I got the results, and I feel a bit of a fool now, as it turns out I’m clearly anemic.
I’m a vegetarian (though I eat fish, seafood and egg) and has been since I was 10, so I KNOW what I should be eating but I’ve not been doing it properly. Also, I stopped buying supplements as I saw them as an unnecessary expense. Maybe not so, as it turns out… So it’s back on supplements (though the ones the dr prescribed have gelatine in them so I’m buying alternative ones, suitable for vegetarians) and time to meal plan to maximise my iron intake. Then new blood tests in 4 weeks, hopefully showing great improvement.
I’m feeling very hopeful that getting my iron levels back up will really help with my energy! I want to be able to get more done without feeling completely drained, and I also want to get back to blogging more regularly about what we get up to. I might have to take it quite slowly for a little while still, but please bare with us xx