Think of the amount of energy that we have available in our bodies as a natural body of water that is able to renew itself. Some people have larger pools of water available to use than others, the same goes for chronic illness. Those who are non-disabled have a much larger pool to draw from. The size of that pool of water can vary from day to day for people with chronic illnesses. Tasks also draw more energy so we have to draw more from that already small pool of energy. Sometimes the pool dries up and there isn’t any energy left to draw from due to factors beyond our control. So rest is the only option in order to renew it.
In all honesty, I’m always tired. There are many days when I wake up and I have little to no energy draw from. On those days I wake up, eat, shower, and go back to bed. Sometimes I don’t have energy for anything other than eating and going back to bed. Even when my energy pool is full, it can suddenly be drained by one or two tasks. It can be especially frustrating when I have a lot I need to get done and I just can’t do it. This means that I always have to be aware of and careful of the amount of my energy output. On a good day I can get up, get dressed, go to class, and maybe run an errand like go to the grocery store before I need a break. Or maybe I would feel well enough to walk to the library after class and study for a while. Or socialize with friends or family which is draining for me in and of itself.
I’m saying all this to express that when I say I’m tired I mean I don’t have any energy left whether it’s mentally or physically. I don’t mean “hey I’m tired and I want to nap” or “gosh I shouldn’t have stayed up so late last night”. What I do mean is that I am physically/mentally exhausted and do not have any energy. My body won’t allow me to go any further and it is screaming at me to get back in bed. It means I need to rest and recharge. It is hard to communicate all of this when mentally and/or physically exhausted and it requires more energy than is currently available to do so. So I just say I’m tired. Periodt.