How do you explain mental fatigue to people ?

Discussion in 'Fibromyalgia Main Forum' started by Anafun, Sep 17, 2008.

  1. Anafun

    Anafun Member

    Friends get upset when you tell them that you respond better to phone calls rather than emails.
    They send out invitations and get upset if i dont answer.I remember explaining to them in the beginning about mental fatigue but they still keep on sending me more emails.Just a few days ago someone started explaing how in this modern day and age i should communicate through emails as if i was living in the 18th century and didnt know how to work a computer!
  2. jenn_c

    jenn_c New Member

    Even though my hands go numb ( just dx today with carpo tunnel), I find talking takes more energy out of me then typing. I hate talking on the phone. Jenn
  3. Malcolm82

    Malcolm82 New Member

    Since being struck with this DD I am no good on the phone because I can't formulate a response that quick, plus the effort just totally exhausts me. I do much better with e-mail because I can take my time. I know I sound like an idiot on the phone.

    I haven't figured out a good way to describe the mental fatigue to someone that hasn't experienced it. When I first tried to, the thing that finally came to mind was that it felt like the switch that turns on my brain power got turned off, or my brain's circuit breaker tripped. Same with physical fatigue. Or, imagine having a very bad hangover, and then imagine it 3 times as bad, and never getting over it.[This Message was Edited on 09/17/2008]
  4. glenda2

    glenda2 New Member

    even though my hands and fingers hurt i would rather have email too! i hate phone calls but i still take them.

  5. moreinfoplease

    moreinfoplease New Member

    hard time with phone conversations, and prefer email. If I get to tired and brain fogged while typing a response, I can save it, rest, and then finish. Can't do that with a phone conversation.

    But either way, whether we do better with phone or email, wouldn't it be nice for people to have compassion and understanding?

    I have had some family members be rude and snide about my preference for email.

    I am choosing to not waste my energy on such people and relationships as much any more.

    I have such a limited amount of energy to spend, it is not worth it to waste it.
  6. Rockismom

    Rockismom New Member

    for e-mail so far.

    I have to agree for all of the reasons above!

    Strange how this subjuect came up here this evening because I am working on a very important project concerning our city's police department and find it so much easier to communnicate via e-mail! Lucky for me, I have been able to fly under the radar so far and communicate mostly by e-mail but I know that very soon I will have to use my voice via telephone and in person and I certainly dread the day!
  7. jasminetee

    jasminetee Member

    lol! You guys get the best of me here because there's no pressure on me here and people here understand what I'm dealing with. I can't spend anymore energy trying to explain what I'm going through to people. I just can't do it. I really think most of them are never going to get it anyway. Maybe I'll go back to trying to explain myself again in the future but for now I just can't.

  8. Marta608

    Marta608 Member

    Gosh, it's just the opposite for me. Talking on the phone is more exhausting because I'm hooked. Online, if I get too weary or stiff and have pain, I can stop for awhile and no one's the wiser. Sometimes it takes a day to write an email but it's on MY time.

    If phone calls work better for you, don't respond to their email. "We teach people how to treat us." I often don't answer my phone. I let the machine take the call, then email the person back or call when I feel up to it. Maybe this would work in reverse for you. Take your time responding to email. A looooong time. lol


    [This Message was Edited on 09/20/2008]
  9. dragon06

    dragon06 New Member

    I much prefer email and online chat over the telephone. That way I can take my time in my answers and re-word something that sounds completely stupid.

    The only person I talk to on the phone regularly (every day) is my Mom but she also has FM. We just talk and laugh at all the mistakes we make during the conversation. But that doesn't really work well with "normal" people.

    I will on occasion talk to my Dad on the phone but that is it for wanted phone calls. All the other ones I have to make for household matters and such bother me. It really bothers me when I don't have the email option. Now I agree there is sometimes that the phone is required so that you can make sure that something is taken care of properly but I like to keep those calls to few and far between.
  10. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    I don't think you can explain this. I don't think I would understand it if I didn't have it. I just don't think I could.

    Re phone vs email: if I struggle with one, I struggle with the other. Sometimes phone is easier because of the prompting that happens but I always screen. Sometimes email is easier because I can take my time and it can take days to write an email.

    I have been sharing a bachelor apt. with one of my kids for a few months and I find it very difficult to move from my spot on the couch (where I also sleep) when she is home. Even when she is not interacting with me, the close proximity of another human being who might say something at any moment takes every ounce of energy I have. Just attending to the possibility is all I can manage. We live in what is, basically, one room ~ her area is the little dining area separated by a curtain. When she is out I find it much easier to move around, think, tidy...

    Strangely, when I do leave the apartment to cross the street and get groceries, or take my dog into the back yard of my apt. building, I can often both move and interact with people for a limited time without too much difficulty. I am frequently silent (big change for this life-long yacker:), or sometimes babble near nonsense, but I am often able to interact appropriately and with real interest for a time. I am also able to have conversations with my kid which usually don't take too more energy than the expectation of conversation ~ strange; I just can't do anything else.

    It's so strange! I know I wouldn't understand. Who could understand this if they didn't experience it or something like it.

    Peace out,

    ETA Sometimes I can reply to an email or post on the board suddenly in a rush of clarity -- or what feels like clarity at the time but often reads like nonsense later :) I think the principles of of inertia have something to do with it. A body (or brain) in motion stays in motion... Unfortunately, it does not stay in motion very long and defaults to the rest, or inert, state.

    [This Message was Edited on 09/20/2008]
  11. klutzo

    klutzo New Member

    I read on another site about the problem with being on the phone exhausting us. It was the late Dr. Poesnecker's site.

    What I read said it is because we have adrenal fatigue. The primitive part of your brain is on high adrenal alert when it can't see who you are talking to and judge by their body and facial language if they are a threat or not, so you use up your adrenal reserves very quickly on the phone, since you are in fight-or-flight the whole time. A person with normal adrenal reserves would not even notice, but for us, it's too much of a drain.

    As far as how to handle this: I told people the truth when I decided to stop answering the phone and use email only. Some people ignored me and continued to call, because they don't like email. I would have compromised with the ones who can't touch type, but they got mad if I would not talk for at least an hour, so they could vent their problems, which only added to my misery. Eventually, I did not answer the phone at all anymore, so they are out of my life now.

    I lost my best friend in the area I live in, after a 20 yr. friendship, because she thought I was making up the adrenal fatigue because I just didn't want to talk to her husband anymore, since he was usually nasty when I called (he's a drunk). The adrenal fatigue sounds too far-fetched to normal people, so you might think twice about being honest.

    Despite all that, I would handle it the same way again, because I can't live with myself if I lie. Also, there is a saying: Question: "How do you know when to end a friendship? Answer: When you realize it never was one".


  12. sleepyinlalaland

    sleepyinlalaland New Member

    "just the close proximity of another human being" and the possibility that I may have to formulate a response at any random DRAINING! I just said good-bye to company that I've had for about a week...dear, comfortable FAMILY company...but in my little space it was exhausting (it would've been in a larger space also). I think most people find company tiring, I just wonder if it is as difficult as I find it.

    And like Malcolm82, I find my mental state very akin to a HANGOVER (minus the nausea, thank God). This was how I described my cognitive condition to the judge when I was seeking disability.

    Anafun, it sounds like reading and typing simply takes more energy from you than talking. Seems like your friends should accept that you just "don't do email"; nothing wrong with that, and I don't think you need to be apologetic!

    Personally the phone is not my friend and I prefer email. It has its place, but sometimes I fear I use it TOO much and maybe I should expose myself to a little more "live" chat (telephone). Despite that, I'm sure glad it is an option!

    [This Message was Edited on 09/20/2008]
  13. Rafiki

    Rafiki New Member

    Yeah, it has absolutely nothing to do with how easy the other person/people are to be with; it's strictly an energy (in a very precise meaning of the word) issue. Of course, people who are hard to be with would be much, much worse but I must avoid those people.

    Peace out,

  14. homesheba

    homesheba New Member

    have trouble with phones and being with others
    tho really
    i am loneley for companionship alot!
    but i dont have the energy to 'visit'
    and be entertaining...
  15. Bunchy

    Bunchy New Member

    As I am still semi functional physically I have to visit with my family or have them visit sometimes.

    IT'S SO HARD!!! The conversation absolutely exhausts me and I find that type of fatigue much harder to explain and even the most understanding people don't really get it.

    My sister (who I adore) has been visiting with us for a few days and is leaving tomorrow. She is the most understanding person in my life and never puts any pressure on me or anything.

    BUT I am pooped mentally and physically just from chatting to her a lot.

    I find this really upsetting and sometimes very isolating.

    Hugs to all and have a peaceful, quiet evening,

    Love Bunchy x
  16. Janalynn

    Janalynn New Member

    I LOVE email when I need to get a msg to someone, check in with someone, respond to something etc. It is quick - to the point, can be done day or night etc. It's great when you don't want to chit chat with someone.

    I use the phone to speak with my Mom, sisters, best friend. I choose email always if it is an option.
    What's bad about the phone for me is that I can't fake being "fine" or "okay". I choose not to let everyone and their brother really know how I am. Sometimes it is too hard to fake - it comes across in my voice. Email solves that problem.

    When I need or want 'conversation' I definitely use the phone. If someone else needs a good friend, a phone call is usually best.

    Bottom line though...I love email.