Why I Mentally Struggle with Justifying My Napping

Why I Mentally Struggle with Justifying My Napping

A meme floating around Facebook says something like: “I’m not a night owl or an early bird, I’m more like a permanently exhausted pigeon.” Each time I read it, I laugh out loud. Not necessarily because I find it funny, but more so that I relate to it so much that if I don’t laugh, I’ll probably cry.

You would think that napping would be a regular and easily justifiable part of my routine as a permanently exhausted pigeon. But in reality, it’s the source of my most regular internal conflict.

Napping is necessary with lupus, and yet in my head, it’s still nothing more than a necessary evil that I’m reluctant to indulge in. But taking the time to rest my body is far from being indulgent, and no one would begrudge me for taking care of my health. It’s all in my head, all these negative feelings about napping, and they stem from the months after my diagnosis.

I remember what it was like to be bound to a horizontal bodily state from sheer lack of energy. It’s crushing. Although my mind is still functioning at the speed of light, the mere transition to sitting upright is too much effort for my weary body to muster. And I can’t forget that there are still chores to do, food to cook, and an endless list of things I could be doing instead of resting, but which aren’t possible. There is nothing left in the tank, not even fumes.

Each time I find myself thinking about taking a nap, I have a flashback of lying on the couch in my living room in 2016, watching TV. On the way home from work, I had planned a short list of things I wanted to accomplish in the evening, but I took a moment to sit on the couch. I soon found myself stuck lying there for hours. A “Law & Order” marathon was on, and I remember thinking about just how sick I was of watching pictures flash across a screen, how sick I was of being stuck in a state that was almost like conscious sedation.

Though that memory may not seem overtly traumatic to anyone else, it was a truly difficult and defining moment in my life. I sat back to imagine the rest of my life like that: my mind turning to mush in front of one TV screen after another, living in a constant cloud of lethargy as the life I dreamed of ran into the sunset, with no way for me to catch it.

Each time I need a nap, the sinking feeling of that particular moment in my life haunts me. I can’t help but think about all the naps lupus has forced me to take, and what could be done with the thousands of extra hours I’ll lose in my lifetime.

At the end of the day, the only person who loses is me, and I’m only defying the inevitable. I know I need naps. The thing is that I know how important naps are for someone with lupus, and I know that, ironically, they’re the key to being productive. Yet, I still struggle to justify them to myself nearly every day.

I can accept that I’m not like everyone else. I can accept my role as one of life’s permanently exhausted pigeons. But I don’t know how to look at all the time I’m losing to lupus fatigue and be 100 percent OK with it. I don’t know how to remember that moment in my life and come to terms with the fact that it likely will be a constant my entire life.

Do you struggle with taking naps or with a particularly unorthodox aspect of your fatigue? Let me know in the comments section below.

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Note: Lupus News Today is strictly a news and information website about the disease. It does not provide medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. This content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read on this website. The opinions expressed in this column are not those of Lupus News Today, or its parent company, BioNews Services, and are intended to spark discussion about issues pertaining to lupus.

10 comments

  1. Mary Beth Goehl says:

    In time, I have come to associate naps with my medication. It is necessary for your survival. And if you don’t give in and take the pill, Lupus will see to it that you do. So I schedule naps just like I schedule my meds. But I was about 10 years diagnosed before I figured that out!

    • Kristiana Page says:

      Hey Mary Beth,
      That is a great way to think about naps, I do the same thing with exercise – to me it’s also another form of medication. Thank-you for sharing your wisdom with me, sounds like I would’ve been at least another 8 years off before I figure it out for myself haha X

  2. Kayla says:

    The chronic disease is non-negotiable, so I see napping this way. With napping, comes healing. With healing, more quality time when awake. So…napping equals more quality time.
    Make your waking hours ones that you are grateful for. If you have a “chore” to do…do it while drinking your favorite beverage, with aromatherapy, great music playing, and a chocolate truffle saved, to eat when you are through. Make all your hours as great as they can be. Then, think…”Thank God for my naps.”

    • Kristiana Page says:

      Hey Kayla,
      I really appreciate your thinking and will definitely use that when I end up in another fatigue hole – and I say ‘when’ not ‘if’ as I know it’s going to happen haha! Love your thoughts on that, thank-you so much, I really love that! X

  3. Sharon black says:

    You’ve summed up exactly my feelings, it’s as if week days between 9 and 5 cannot possibly include a nap even if needed. Sometimes i don’t mind sitting as long as not more than an hour and couldn’t possibly shut my eyes it’s mad but i can’t help feeling this way! I feel guilty even reading between these hours! 🤔

    • Kristiana Page says:

      Hey Sharon,
      It’s so hard to try shake the feelings of guilt, but sometimes it’s just not feasible to go without a nap! I’ve been working really hard on trying to get my sleep pattern regular and only sleeping in on certain days, so far it’s worked but who knows what will happen in the future X

  4. Chris says:

    Hello fellow “wolf”
    Hope you are well and yes, less exhausted.
    I ‘ve had a new symptom….low blood pressure…can”t sleep at night. So, naps are all I have. I try to just go with the flow. it’s hard. I DO NOT want to be up all night raising my BP. Better management during the day I guess. We adjust to the ebb and flow of the Lupus river.
    Hugs and thanks for your blog.
    Chris

    • Kristiana Page says:

      Hey Chris,
      Feeling a lot less exhausted thanks to a good sleep routine and Plaquenil! That’s interesting, I’ve been on HP meds sicne my diagnosis! Yeah I definitely get how hard it can be to nap for the right about of time haha 🙂 Thanks for reading and commenting X

  5. Carey says:

    Yes! I experience so much guilt about having to nap. I have a constant list in my mind of things that need to get done/I’m not doing. And, as a parent, I experience additional guilt about not spending that time with my kids. During the week I take my naps while they’re in school. On weekends my kids know I have to rest, but understandably they are disappointed about it at times. I’m grateful to have a partner who supports these naps as times to heal/prevent a future flare.

    • Kristiana Page says:

      Having moved out with my partner recently, I completely understand your mental list and the guilt you feel! I’m sure your kids understand that it’s not that you don’t want to spend time with them, but sometimes you just can’t. And I bet they truly appreciate any time that you do have with them, ’cause they’ll know out of everything that you could’ve done with your time you choose to spend it with them! That in itself is invaluable 🙂

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