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Friday July 19th 2019


Thy-What?! Tired

Post Published: 15 July 2011
Category: Column, Thy-What?!
This post currently has 20 responses. Leave a comment

“You look tired.”

“Don’t you get enough sleep?”

“It’s rude to yawn while I am speaking.”

“What’s with you? Why are you always so tired?”

“Can’t you stay up late just one night?”

That is me.

I am tired.

I have been tired my entire life.

As a young girl, I thought about sleeping while I was at school. I couldn’t wait to go to sleep at night. There was never a time, up to and including now, that I didn’t fall asleep during movies. Or bow out of parties because they were too late at night for me. When I was 11 or 12, my parents would leave me and a girlfriend to babysit my six-years-younger sister. Mom and Dad would come home later in the evening to me fast asleep on the couch and my sister and my friend happily playing together. In college, I may have pulled an all-nighter or two, but likely out of procrastination-induced necessity, not by the thrill of staying up all night until the morning. And I always felt awful for days after.

Is it a physical symptom? Is it all in my head? Am I just a tired or “low energy” person? Is it really normal and I want more that doesn’t really exist?

For many years, I assumed that tired was the default, the norm, something I had to live with. That this is how it was for everyone, and certainly for me.

But it isn’t. It shouldn’t be.

I am tired.

Is tired who I am?

Even after eight hours of sleep, I feel tired. Some days, I wake up thinking about more sleep and when I might get it.

I have gone through the first 40 years of my life on a mad dash, perhaps trying to prove that even tired, I am more, better, faster than non-tireds.  I managed to get two Ivy League Degrees under my belt, give birth twice in the span of 22 months, start and build my own business after being laid off from what I thought was the best job I’d ever have, get through a divorce, financially support myself and lose my mother and grandmother (not necessarily in that order!) with nary a day off.

I never stopped.

Ha, tired, I’ll show you!

All the while, I have been yawning, daydreaming of sleep, wondering what it felt like to be rested and envying people who seem so freakin’ energized all the time.

“Suck it up.”

“Oh, let me guess, you have one of those thyroid conditions.” (As a matter of fact, yes, yes I do. Thanks so much for “getting” me. Not.)

Maybe, just maybe this is not the kind of tired that sleep can make better. Maybe something else is making me tired, something besides that pesky thy-what. (Because, let’s face it: That magic thy-what pill doesn’t really make me any less tired.)

Coffee never helped, nor did the occasional energy drink (and now that I have cut out caffeine and sugar from my life, neither is really an option anyway). I now eat healthier, and pay more attention to what I put in my body. I don’t drink or smoke.

But, I’m still tired. And some days it just doesn’t seem fair.

I once had a boss who was a retired general from the Israeli Army. A tough guy, to say the least. He stopped a staff meeting to focus on me and my yawning. In front of everyone on the staff, he told me how rude and disruptive my yawning during his talking was. How it distracted him to no end and thus ended up hurting all of us.

Nicer, more well-meaning people have their own suggestions for me:

“Can’t you just get some more sleep?”

(Ah, yes, why did I not think of that? )

I am tired.

If you are reading this, maybe you are, too. Or maybe you are wondering why I can’t get enough sleep.

Whatever it is, tired is not who I am. I was not put on this earth to be tired. To feel glimpses of true not-tiredness and wonder how that can be mine.  Some days, I want to give in and let tired win. Other days, I know there is more to me, and more to this story, than just tired.

I am tired. Of being tired.

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20 Responses to “Thy-What?! Tired”

  1. Sara Ashe says:

    Hi Allison,

    I can feel how tired you are!! There was a time that I felt I would never have the energy to play with my son or hang out with my friends. The thought of a sex life was scary too.

    It took a great effort and persistence but I re gained my strength and my thyroid function back. Not many do. I remember having eyes that always looked empty. There was no life in them. It didn’t matter what time of day it was I would look like I barely woke up.

    Learning to nourish your thyroid and your adrenals and your blood is crucial. You need to re-enegize your life and it starts in the blood. Find out if you are anemic or where you fall in the range. Low range is still devastating. The thyroid has a rich blood supply and without strong healthy “oxygen rich blood” the thyroid nutrient supply is weak.

    The meds do not supply the thyroid with nutrients. If I could come out of the “I’m sick and tired of being tired” you can too. Google is loaded with info otherwise I work one on one with clients to uncover the root of your symptoms.

    I leave you with this: The body the has an incredible ability to heal itself is given a chance.


    • Sara, Thanks so much for your comment and I agree with everything you said.

      I have of late been better educating myself and have made radical changes in the food I eat which is making the most significant change in my energy (and also my moods and weight) of anything ever.

      I remain hopeful 🙂

  2. Rachel says:

    It is so wonderful to hear someone else experience this. It is not just me! When I try to have the activity level of a “normal” person, I’m in bed for the next day or two trying to recoup. I go to bed at night ridiculously early (usually the same time as my kids) so that I can drag myself out of bed by 5:30. I seem to be utterly fatigued the first day of two of my period. I was kidding with my husband that I will be on disability in the next ten years between the fatigue and memory loss if I can’t find the answer. I just went through a battery of tests that the Dr. says are normal. I guess it’s time to look into adrenals? I don’t know.

    • Hi Rachel,
      Thank you for your comment.

      I know what you mean. I pushed myself further than everyone else for years, to prove that I wasn’t tired, etc. And now it has caught up with me. Many drs look at the blood tests only and if you are in the “normal” range then they aren’t all that interested in your symptoms (eg fatigue). It is a frustrating process, to say the least.

  3. beccaboo says:

    I am tired. We are twins.

    Like Ms. Weezer said in Steel Magnolias, “I dont go to the movies because I can nap at home for free.”

    -Oh my god mom! Wake up! Your snoring ! Everyone is looking at us!

    Or how about getting invited to dinner and game night at a friends house and then having to rearrange your schedule (if possible!) in order to have a nap before you go or else you wont make it past 8 pm.

  4. Joanne Naso says:

    Amazingly true! Thanks for writing! Maybe one day all of us “tired” people can take a week of vacation and just nap!!

  5. Augusta says:

    Thank you for sharing. I too can relate all to well. I’ve joked about disability too but I keep trucking. I’ve come into the routine of stopping for coffee on my way home from work just to make it home. Today at work I was saying its gonna be a long ride home( its only 20 mins) and that someday you’re gonna read about me in the paper. Its scary but true because I’m that tired. My coworkers reply is that that’s not normal. I know its not but what can you do?

    • I hear you, Augusta!
      It is hard to explain to others, especially for those of us who are very ambitious, motivated, etc in every other way. It becomes part of our lives, and we try to work around it, until it gets worse and worse and then we must figure it out.

  6. almira says:

    And what saddened me…being tired…sometimes was given an impression of being lazy…=(
    If only they could feel what we’re feeling maybe they would understand….how I wish I could invent ” feel it machine” for them to feel what I’m going through….

    • So true!
      I consider myself such a “go getter” so to think that someone may see me as lazy is horrifying and you are correct.
      It is very hard to explain to others who don’t feel this way that we don’t control it and we can’t just ‘will” it away.

  7. I am tired, too. All the time. It bites. Thank you for verbalizing what I feel. I can never get enough sleep. No energy. Oy.


  8. Michelle says:

    Hi Allison
    Great article, are you gluten free? Have you been checked for hashimoto’s? So many people are suffering!

    • Hi Michelle,
      Yes, I am gluten-free, for about 3 months now. That helped some. About a month ago I cut lots of other stuff out, too, including caffeine, sugar and all other grains. It is starting to make a huge difference.
      Yes, Hashimoto’s. Unfortunately, the autoimmune issue is not really addressed by most drs. As I am sure you know….

  9. Augusta says:

    I’ve always been a hard worker and very good at what I do. Its very frustrating to watch myself slip more and more. Feels like you’re failing. I too wish others could live just one day to see what its like.

  10. Desiree Downs says:

    I can totally relate to your problems, feeling trapped by your body and having to push yourself to the limit just to accomplish what this thing called life calls us to do. For me, it is almost like clockwork. I get that nice brief moment of energy about an hour or so after my Synthroid kicks in. Sometimes I wish I could bottle it. There are so many things I want to do during this time because I know that by the time I get home from work, it will be gone. But, we can’t stop, because life will not stop and wait for us. And, thank goodness it doesn’t.

    Thank you so much for sharing your story and struggles. I wish you well and much success in your plight.


  11. Den says:

    I fell asleep Friday night wakened around 10pm ish and went to bed and then slept to 4pm on Saturday. I then spent the rest of the night yawning before giving in and going back to bed at 10pm sleeping until 10.30am when my dogs wakened me. I still feel tired today Monday but am at work as one of the busiest times. Think I may need to up my meds back to where I was at before my pulse started racing.

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