In my somewhat misspent youth I’m sure I felt the same as most young people; 10-foot tall and bullet proof. I burned the candle at both ends while trying to forge my media career and would often jokingly respond, whenever asked when I had time to sleep that I lived by the title of Bon Jovi’s hit song, ‘Sleep When I’m Dead’.
Unfortunately, my body had other ideas and in 1990 after working 14 plus hours a day, 7 days a week for 8 months straight I came a cropper.
I didn’t feel sick in any way. What actually prompted me to go to the doctor was, after visiting a good mate of mine and falling asleep in his chair mid-conversation. When I opened my eyes, even though I’d been asleep for a while, I didn’t realise I’d fallen asleep at all. What made it even more alarming was this occurred in the middle of the day.
My fabulous GP Dr Jim sent me off for blood tests, which confirmed his diagnosis of glandular fever and more. Not only did I have mononucleosis but I’d also been struck down with toxoplasmosis and cytomegalic inclusion virus.
As a result I was flat on my back for 10 months, physically and mentally fatigued. It would take me 10 minutes and all my strength to get up and drag myself the few metres down my hallway to answer the door.
Getting weekly Vitamin B injections and regularly taking liquid iron helped to rebuild my strength, which I feared for a very long time would never return.
This enforced rest taught me a number of things but the most important was to start taking better care of my body and managing my time and to allocate more of it to sleep.
Look after Yourself, there’s only one of you – La Reina
Every mother and lots of dads I know never seem to put themselves first but that can more often than not, have a detrimental effect on their health down the track.
During every airline emergency safety procedures video, they always recommend you put your mask on first before you even try to help others.
Women especially need to learn that it really is ok for there to be times when you stop putting everyone else first and start doing what’s best for you.
If you’re waking up tired then it’s time to have a chat with your GP and while you’re there be sure to get all your regular tests done too, including your pap smear. Ask your doctor to investigate anything that’s been troubling you for a while, that you’ve been too tired to follow up on.
You Can’t Pour from an Empty Cup. Take care of Yourself – Anon
Some years back there was an extensive media health campaign called Iron: A Woman’s Health Issue. I remember conducting many on-air interviews with health professionals, discussing all the adverse impacts that low iron levels can have on our short and long term health, and the simple things we can do to rectify it.
Often, the biggest offenders are young women who for ethical reasons want to become ‘vegetarians’ but all they do is simply eliminate iron-rich animal proteins from their food fuel and don’t replace them with any suitable plant based alternatives containing iron. Combine that with the iron that’s lost every month during their periods and you have a recipe for possibly developing an iron deficiency, anaemia and so much more.
What makes it even harder, is that it’s very difficult for our bodies to absorb iron, so it’s recommended that you either chew Vitamin C tablets or sip on a citrus juice, while eating iron-rich proteins, especially red meat.
Fatigue impacts on so many aspects of our daily life. It is a warning sign and not something to endure and try to manage.
Here’s my new mantra, maybe you might like to adopt it too;
I Will Be As Gentle With Myself As I Am With Other People. – Anon
Wishing you good health and happiness today and always
Author, TV & Radio Broadcaster