The Person I Used To Be

It’s good to have friends.

For one thing, I got a lot of online and offline sympathy for my last couple of posts, which does the soul a world of good. For another, I got some valuable reminders.

Arun, for instance, reminded me that some of the problems that have been getting me down are not new and are not as overwhelming as they seem to be right now. These are things I have handled in the past and I should be able to handle even now.

Amit reminds me of happier days when I could actually play tennis for much longer without feeling as though a collapse were imminent.

And I was cribbing in person to Chris about my tiredness etc etc and she said two things which kind of shocked me. One thing she said was, “When was your last holiday?” I was shocked because I couldn’t remember. Not for more than a year at least.

To fully comprehend the enormity of that statement, you have to know – or remember – that a few years ago, we were the people everyone was jealous of. We were always either planning our next trip, or just back from somewhere. For a couple of years, a while ago, it was a tossup whether we’d be in town on any given weekend, or off spending two nights on a bus for the sake of a Saturday night somewhere.

This is not about regrets. I knew that would change when we had kids and I’m happy that we made the most of those carefree days. But, as Chris pointed out, everyone needs a holiday, especially if you were that kind of a person before. And I really was that kind of person before.

Then she spoke about sleep, diet, and exercise – nothing new, but it’s good to get a reminder once in a way.

Then she suggested seeing a doc.

“I have no time,” I said.

She was aghast. “That’s your problem, then,” she said. “The old Anamika would never have said she didn’t have time to go to the doctor.”

I’d forgotten that. She was quite right, though. The old Anamika didn’t think going to a doctor was a luxury or self-indulgence. The old Anamika believed in taking care of her health. The old Anamika would certainly not have waited this long before checking for a medical cause to her extreme tiredness. I’ve seen some bad things happen by putting off visiting a doctor. The old Anamika would never do that.

Five years ago in the Himalayas when I was struggling on a trek at high altitude, I hated myself for being out of shape, or, as I thought bitterly at the time, “old and fat and lazy”. It turned out to be pulmonary oedema – a potentially fatal high altitude acclimatization problem. If I learnt anything from that experience, it was to trust myself when my body was telling me that all is not well.

So, reluctantly, I forced myself to visit a doctor on Saturday. I knew it was pointless going to the doctor and saying, “I’m tired. I’ve been tired for months.” The doc is probably thinking, “Woman, I’m tired too!” Or maybe he’s thinking, “Do you even know what tired looks like?” Tiredness is not a serious medical problem as far as a doctor is concerned.

But I went anyway. And, as expected, I was shrugged off with a vitamin prescription and a set of routine tests. I came away irritated and upset that the doctor didn’t seem to consider my case at all worth listening to, far less figuring out. He couldn’t have been less interested.

But at least I went.

Then I checked the prescription on the Net. It appears that he’s treating me for Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. That actually sounds like exactly what’s wrong with me. I’d never heard of it before and when I did hear of it, I thought exactly what I bet you’re thinking – it sounds like a polite term for malingering. Apparently, it isn’t. At least, I sincerely hope not, because I don’t want to see myself as a malingerer. Apparently, it is some sort of medical condition related to the autoimmune system and often caused or precipitated by a severe viral or flu-like episode. I think I can pinpoint the exact episode that triggered my endless cycle of tiredness – obviously, I blogged about it. I still remember that it took me weeks to recover from that viral; it had me stumbling around on the tennis court for about three weeks. I had been tired before that viral as well, but that was understandable because of shifting house, having a brand new job, and no domestic help. After that viral, when things should have settled down, the tiredness just never went away.

Now, as Whitney Houston once said, “there’s a name for it…” (in the song What’s Love Got To Do With It – in this case, absolutely nothing). Hopefully there’s a cure for it as well.

And in any case, there is that holiday to look forward to – I’m definitely taking Chris’ advice on that!

Thank goodness for good old friends who can remind you – momentarily, if nothing else – of the person you used to be.


6 Responses to The Person I Used To Be

  1. Prakash says:

    At least you have realised what is missing, which is good. Is your vacation finalised?

  2. Supriya says:

    Maybe a homeopath will be more sympathetic and effective. I am new believer and feel it is worth trying. Weren’t you planning to see one? See a woman doc – it may be a bit better.
    I hope you know that it is really hard to find, nurture and keep friends like the one you have described in your post. You are really lucky. In some important ways. 🙂

  3. Sadia says:

    I’m sorry you’ve been struggling. My supervisor at work has chronic fatigue syndrome, and I’ve seen how thoroughly debilitating it can be. I hope that you see improvement; unfortunately, parenthood likely doesn’t allow for the amount of sleep you require.

  4. poupee97 says:

    Prakash: Yes, I will blog about it soon!

    Supriya: Yes, I know I’m very lucky!

    Sadia: I never heard of anyone with anything like this – so it’s good to know that it’s not entirely a made-up illness. I actually do get close to 7 hours of sleep most nights, so that’s not too bad. Eight might be better, but that really would be asking for too much.

    But… I’m not really that badly off – it’s just that I decided I really needed to crib about it for a bit. I’m done with that now. Back to cheerful posts now, I promise.

  5. Christina says:


    And well… At least now we know what the problem is…

  6. poupee97 says:

    Chris: Thank you for reminding me… of who I used to be. And for goading me to visit the doc. After three-four days on pills, I already feel better. It’s Friday and I’m not so exhausted this morning. Plus, I’m actually looking forward to this weekend…

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