Home From Vacation Saturday. In Bed Most of Sunday.

Here’s something that never ceases to amaze me. When we go on vacation, somehow, I always manage to hang on just long enough so my fatigue doesn’t interfere with the fun. Then when I get home, I collapse. It’s sort of like the car running out of gas just as it coasts into the garage.

It happens every time we go somewhere. The first morning home I will wake up feeling relatively fine, but as the day goes on and I attempt the tasks of re-entry, my brain and body begin to melt down. Slowly at first, and then all at once.

It’s not like I need a nap. It goes significantly deeper than that. My mind and body get so fatigued that I literally can’t think or function. It’s a sensation of being completely overwhelmed by the normal noise and rhythm of life. It’s hard to describe exactly what it feels like, but let’s just say it feels super crappy. I basically want to escape my own body because it’s so unpleasant in there.

Sitting in my resting chair brings no relief. Chilling with a movie is not an option – the stimulation is overwhelming. When it gets this bad, there are really only two remedies: bed and silence.

I have to be in bed with the covers pulled way up. The weight of the bedding somehow shuts out the stimulation and noise of life. It comforts and soothes. Releasing my head to the softness of the pillow allows my brain to relax and rejuvenate.

In these moments, I’m reminded of a hair dryer that overheats. It gets so hot it has to shut down in order to save itself. And there’s only one thing that will get that hair dryer to turn back on. Time.

It’s the same for me. As frustrating as it can be, when my brain and body shut down, the only option is to lay down and wait. It feels awful at first, but the longer I lay in the stillness and silence, the better I feel. After a few hours, I might feel up to reading. And after a few more hours I might feel up to sitting in a chair.  It usually takes most of the day for my fried circuits to cool down and start functioning properly again.

In an ideal world, I would always manage my life and my activities so I never got to this point. But sometimes, I put fun before fatigue management, knowing I will pay a price later. If I avoided everything that makes me tired, I would miss out on a whole lot of laughter, love and general enjoyment of life.

Did I enjoy the way I felt yesterday? Absolutely not.

But I most definitely enjoyed the seven days that preceded yesterday.

My daughter will be off to college soon, meaning family time is more precious than ever, and I am soaking up every last drop before my little nest empties out.

Sometimes, that family time comes at a price for me, but it’s one I’m happy to pay.

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