I Might Have A Chronic Illness And I Feel Fine [Updated]

I’ve been tired recently.

Actually, I’m always tired, and have been for as long as I can remember. I need at least 10 hours of sleep, I say, in order to function properly. I never wake up well, and go to sleep and stay asleep like the dead. Whenever anyone asks me how I’m feeling and they’re talking to me before noon, I smile a little and say, “tired.” It’s been a part of my life since I stopped taking Adderall and Concerta (AKA barely legal amphetamines) for my ADD.

I listen to a podcast called Interrobang, which is an excellent podcast where two people talk honestly about what’s making them frustrated. It’s more therapeutic than you’d think. Anyway, last week I listened to their episode “From Being Super Tired to Successful Communication.”  One host, Travis, is having a baby any day now, and he was talking about the idea of “overtired,” which is when a baby is tired, but doesn’t have the mental capacity to understand that they can solve their problem by going to sleep. They then become so tired they’re uncomfortable, and then they can’t sleep, which causes the baby to melt down because they’re miserable and nothing is fixing it, and the parent has to step in and try to force the baby to be comfortable and thus asleep. The other host, Tybee, replied, “I feel like that sometimes, too, with my thyroid issues,” and talked about becoming so tired she became extremely emotional.

I felt like I needed to pull my car over to the side of the road. Holy fucking shit, they were talking about me.

It felt like my past had reorganized itself in front of my eyes. I’m not crying in the Publix on a regular basis just because I’m a wimp. I don’t feel terrible all the damn time because I drink Diet Coke or I don’t exercise enough. Well, maybe I do feel terrible because of all those things, but here it is, this concept that this could be something that was not simply how I was, but something going wrong. And I don’t have to keep living like this.

The doctor says it’s probably either a thyroid issue or pregnancy. Pregnancy is unlikely, since I just had my period, and also this has been going on for at least a year and I don’t think I’m magic like that. I’m worried in a very dark part of my mind that it’s thyroid cancer; my very best friend has had thyroid cancer and I think the universe would love that horrible irony. More likely, though, is that my thyroid is probably just broken in some way. That makes ironic sense, too, since I’ve had a lot of people assume or discover that I am broken, over the years.

Unlike when I was twelve, when the ADD diagnosis made me feel like a freak for not being able to fix myself, for being broken, I’m glad for the idea that I might be broken. I don’t have to keep trying to fix myself on my own.

UPDATE [Nov 2, 2016]: I have a vitamin D deficiency. I feel gypped.

Talk to the author on Twitter @yipp33kiyay.

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