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I'm wondering if there's something wrong with me, or if it's just chronic exhaustion

(53 Posts)
CinnabarRed Mon 05-Nov-12 13:57:59

I'm not sure whether to go to the GP, or just wait to see if my health improves when (if) my sleep does.

By way of background I have three DSs under the age of 5. None of them sleep well and I haven't had an unbroken night of sleep in almost 5 years (on the handful of occasions when all three have slept through I have woken anyway). It may well be that this is the root cause of my symptoms, and I would be delighted if that were the case! I also work FT.

I am 37.

I am permanently exhausted. I find it hard to concentrate. I am frighteningly forgetful.

I wake up tired.

My whole body aches when I get up from sitting, from my heels up to my shoulders. I hobble for several steps before I can walk normally.

My feet and hands tingle/go numb. I think my tingly hands are due to carpal tunnel syndrome, which comes and goes. I'm not sure about my feet - my GP thought it was a trapped nerve and suggested wearing flat shoes which helps somewhat, although my little toes are still numb.

We went to a theme park on Saturday and I had to go to bed at 7:45PM when we got home.

My DM has multiple sclerosis, and I worry that I may have it too.

Is how I'm feeling normal, under my circumstances? Or should I go back to my GP?

Midge25 Mon 05-Nov-12 14:11:18

On one level, having 3 under 5, and the fatigue that goes with that and ft work, is going to have an impact. But I would probably head to GP for a check-up - not necessarily because it sounds like MS, but because there could be issues around anaemia or your thyroid that could be playing a role?

HeathRobinson Mon 05-Nov-12 14:17:34

I'd go back to your GP and have yourself checked out.

Also, can you alternate 'night shift' with your dp so that you are guaranteed a night's sleep every other night?

CinnabarRed Mon 05-Nov-12 14:25:17

We tried night shifts. The problem is that he's a really heavy sleeper. Even with earplugs in, I wake before he does when the children cry. By the time I managed to wake him I was so wide awake that it wasn't worth it.

The one night I had to be away on business, DS2 cried until he was sick before DH actually woke up. DH felt dreadful.

digerd Mon 05-Nov-12 15:17:24

I agree with Midge. My sister had an underactive Thyroid gland after her 2nd child was born but she did have other symptoms like no periods for 4 months. But Thyroid blood test would determine if not working properly and easily cured.

myfavoritedayismonday Mon 05-Nov-12 16:26:24

Sorry you are having such a hard time. I think that you should definitely go to your GP, I think it is part of the British psyche 'not to bother the gp', but actually, if we aren't feeling right, we should go.

There are also people you could try for help about the sleep problems. I always found my health visitor helpful, she (or he), may be able to refer you to someone, but she may also have helpful advice. I remember my health visitor giving me advice on my todler's sleep. I was sure it wouldn't help, but I tried it anyway, and it did.

hungryallthetime Mon 05-Nov-12 16:55:43

anaemia? I think that might might have tingly hands/feet as symptoms, definitely has tiredness and forgetfulness as a symptom. Obviously the GP will find this if they do any blood tests

fuzzpig Mon 05-Nov-12 17:24:44

You need to have lots of blood tests.

Have you heard of CFS chronic fatigue syndrome? It is the new name for ME. It might be worth a google as the forgetfulness (CFSers call it brain fog) and the aches make me think of it - however remember there are lots of easily treatable illnesses with the same symptoms, or as you say, it could 'just' be your circumstances. But either way you deserve to feel better, so it's worth chasing it up.

CinnabarRed Mon 05-Nov-12 21:44:44

Thanks everyone.

DS1's sleep disturbances are so profound that we've finally been referred to a sleep clinic. He has chronic parasomnias. The HV, GP and paediatrician were all unable to help, so this is the last chance saloon.

DS2's just an early riser. The clocks changing have been a bit of a disaster, because he's waking at 4 rather than 5. I'm a morning person myself, and I could cope with DS2 if the others were sleeping OK.

DS3 should (ha!) grow out of his nightime clingyness as he gets older and more independent.

Everything hurts tonight. My whole body feels like I've over-exercised, when I haven't.

I'm going to the doctor as soon as I can get the time off work. Fingers crossed for Wednesday. I'm scared that it will be MS or CFS that will stop me being the mother I want to be to my boys.

awaywego1 Mon 05-Nov-12 22:17:07

I'd also ask to have your vitd levels checked as tiredness, achiness and tingly ness can all be symptoms.

mercibucket Mon 05-Nov-12 22:47:47

Ask for thyroid, vit d, b12, full blood count to include ferritin
It sounds like something easily dealt with but important to identify, like a thyroid problem or vitamin deficiency
Don't be fobbed off - you need the blood tests

mercibucket Mon 05-Nov-12 22:47:49

Ask for thyroid, vit d, b12, full blood count to include ferritin
It sounds like something easily dealt with but important to identify, like a thyroid problem or vitamin deficiency
Don't be fobbed off - you need the blood tests

fuzzpig Tue 06-Nov-12 08:44:21

There's a nice fuzzy CFS support thread here if you want to chat about symptoms etc. It's worth a read if you can face ploughing through it, as you might pick up on other little niggly things that you've been ignoring, but that actually might all be part of the same illness. Some of us haven't been diagnosed yet either (including me) and are still hoping it's something easy to fix! smile

CinnabarRed Tue 06-Nov-12 18:12:28

I'm too scared to look at the CFS support threa just yet. But thank you. It's good to know it's there.

drizzlecake Tue 06-Nov-12 18:39:27

I would say you are exhausted because you have an exhausting life and possibly not because you are ill.

And letting DH off because he is a heavy sleeper - huh, is he such a heavy sleeper that he would sleep through you DS if he was sleeping on DS's floor.

If you are this worn out I would nip out and buy a blow up mattress and on Mon Wed and Fri DH sleeps on DS's floor. Ok there will be a kerfuffle initially and DS might take a while to settle, but you really need some rest .

I let my DH off getting up with the DCs because he had a demanding job rah, rah, rah but now see that I also didn't want to appear as if I wasn't coping with motherhood (everyone else seemed fine!) and didn't want to seem neurotic (by sleeping on the couch or similar to make sure I got some sleep) when in fact bringing up small DCs is exhausting and ANY method should be used to soften the blow. Decide on the best solution FOR YOU (not DCs or DH) and stick to it.

And, any DH worth his salt would realise that SOMETHING had to change as his DW is exhausted and taking the selfish and easy option of 'being a heavy sleeper' is not on. Which is why I am so annoyed with myself for letting my DH put himself first when I was run down and don't want you to do the same, Cinnabar.

gerbilsarefun Tue 06-Nov-12 21:29:32

As pps have said, sounds like my symptoms before diagnosed with an overactive thyroid. As well as fatigue, insomnia, anxiety, palpitations and the shakes, I had a bout of something like carpal tunnel. A simple blood test will show if it is your thyroid. The patient UK website will give a list of symptoms and treatment. I have 2 children (11 & 14 now) and never felt fatigue like I did with my thyroid, when they were younger.

greeneyed Wed 07-Nov-12 09:42:38

Cinnarbared, agree with drizzle cake - get the baby monitor and put it next to your partners head on full volume! My BIL does this I don't wake up thing it makes me mad! You need some rest. Your little ones will survive x

CinnabarRed Wed 07-Nov-12 11:59:24

Last night was a relatively bad night.

DS3 needed a cuddle at 11:15, and then was awake from 1:15 until 3. Perfectly happy when I held him, yelling when in his cot. We played PUPD a lot.

DS1 had a nightterror at 1:30, so I had to deal with both DS1 and DS3 at the same time.

DS2 woke for the day at 4:15.

DH and I happened to sleep in the spare room last night because our bedroom is being redecorated. The spare room is much closer to DS3's room than our bedroom is. DH commented this morning that it had been a horrendous night. I wanted to deck him - if he was woken by DS3 then why didn't he get odd his arse and take him for an hour or so?

greeneyed Wed 07-Nov-12 12:37:42

Oh Cinnabar - he has to help sad

Arithmeticulous Wed 07-Nov-12 12:46:18

Can I just add something into the mix- DH is the light sleeper, I sleep more heavily. Our children rarely sleep through (9 years and counting). When DH is home, he usually gets up and deals with them before I stir - when he is away, I am up at the first sign because I know I have to be. When he is home, my brain switches off and lets me sleep. Most of the time without it being a conscious decision to be lazy - because that's what it is, laziness on my part because I know he will pick up the slack blush

Is that what your DH is thinking?

Lastyearsmodel Wed 07-Nov-12 12:57:05

Want to offer you my sympathy, Cinnabar, and say while I think you should get your health checked out, what you need to be doing right now is setting some rules/boundaries with your unhelpful DH.

Care of the DCs MUST be 50/50, and in this situation where you are becoming seriously run down, your DH needs to do more, like about 100%, for a few days and nights to allow you to recover. He will moan, he may try tactics to get out of it, but you must summon your remaining reserves to assert your right to share parenting, not do it all yourself. Wake DH up, tell him he's sorting the crying child and lie back down. Even if it takes you a while to drift off, relax knowing it's not your turn.

You are number 1 - if you go down completely, the whole family suffers. Your DCs and DH can have a few rough nights with no lasting effects.

You could even try a night or two away to force the issue - Travelodge sale on, check Money Saving Expert for details!

CinnabarRed Wed 07-Nov-12 13:16:30

I really do think that DH isn't usually consciously lazy, it's like Arithmeticulous describes.

I do think he abdicates responsibility for DS3, but only because DS3 gets so distraught with anyone other than me.

DH is also working really long hours at the moment. He gets up at 6:30, leaves the house at 7:30, and doesn't get home until 8. He has a couple of hours with me, and then works from 10 until 12 most nights. I really don't think he can afford to sleep less than he is.

Lastyearsmodel Wed 07-Nov-12 13:39:55

"I really don't think he can afford to sleep less than he is. " But neither can you! Your DH is working hard and so are you. If things are tough for 1 parent, they need to be tough for 2.

My DC3 was/is very attached to me and would very often be handed back to me distraught after DP had tried to settle her, but over time she has got better and I have gotten tougher - I thought to myself, how can DP find ways of comforting her if I always allow her to be handed back to me?

<stern voice, looks over top of glasses> Put yourself first. Don't excuse others' behaviour at the expense of your own health and sanity.

Arithmeticulous Wed 07-Nov-12 13:49:57

Even with my DH doing 90% of the night time stuff, that was with DC3 & 4 absolutely hating his guts grin Perhaps he was just doing it to court popularity, but he'd deal as much as he could before giving and waking me - even if it was only 10 minutes worth of childcare, it was another 10 minutes of sleep for me.

Your DH needs to step up and let you sleep that type of sleep where you can totally relax knowing someone else is in charge - because even if you only get 3 hours in a row, three hours of that deep, no responsibility sleep is worth more than 5 hours of the sleep you snatch while dreaming about kids screaming and just waiting to be woken up again.

Is he working to avoid dealing with the kids?

I think you need the all clear from the GP re blood tests and then to rethink things at home.

HeathRobinson Wed 07-Nov-12 14:10:38

What about dh taking them out at the weekend and you sleeping for as long as you can in the day?

If he's having a good night's sleep every night, it seems only fair.

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