Getting On

Patient profile:

  • Maria, 47 years old
  • 2 children, 12 and 14 yrs
  • Works part time

When the kids are little you expect to be tired, but you run around anyway, chasing after them! As they grew I looked forward to going back to work and having time for myself. It was fine for a while, then I began to feel more and more exhausted, even though the kids needed me less and less. Sometimes I got angry with them for no real reason, just because I didn’t have the energy to cope with the stress of juggling everything. Then I would feel terrible guilt, this was not the type of mother I wanted to be.

Birthday parties, Christmas, even just friends for dinner all started to get a bit much. I wanted to just run away and hide until it was all over. My husband suggested I cut back my hours at work, which I did, but it made no difference, I still felt tired and frustrated. The start of every day was a battle. I was fed up of being tired.

The first doctor I went to see said that it was normal to feel tired when you work and have children and that I should make sure I have a healthy diet and rest. I felt helpless, and useless, that I couldn’t cope with normal life. So I just carried on as before, struggling from day to day. As time went on I began to think in the back of my mind that something serious was wrong. I was getting older, maybe I had some rare disease? I would tell myself not to be ridiculous, but on a bad day the worry would come back.

Then I was at the doctor’s for something else, and this doctor seemed really caring and took an interest in me. So I decided to mention the constant exhaustion and how awful it was. She then asked me more questions about how long I’d felt that way, if I felt better if I slept and lots of other things. She said I should have some blood tests, because I might have fatigue caused by low iron levels. I was so relieved that I wasn’t going mad and that perhaps something could be done! My blood tests did show that I didn’t have enough iron in my body, so the doctor started me on treatment. It might take a while before I feel better, but just knowing that there is a reason for the way I feel, and that hopefully it will improve, has made me much more positive about life.