Start out by smiling. I know it's easier said than done. Consider it a first step. In fact, I know from experience that any attempt at smiling will seriously mess up your seemingly uninterested face. When chronic fatigue is your buddy for life (Go to hell! No, not you.), you know you won't be scoring many points in the look-at-me-being-all-smiley-and-shit section. People read your face and think you are indifferent, uncaring, not to mention unsociable, because there's so very little to read. Chronic fatigue is like free Botox that way. Somehow your body just knows that cutting down on facial expressions is a great energy saver. Which is why they should call me Green, not Blue. It's such a misnomer! But the reason you should smile is that it's unlike riding a bike or dry humping a horse. You will forget how to do it.
"But I'm as tired as a boomtown whore." I hear ya. Which is why you need to be savvy about how you spend your daily energy. Don't waste that precious power simply because you want to be like everybody else. Be like a Prius, only more attractive. Calculate the number of hours you'll need to be awake on a given day — and when — or else you'll run out of energy like a Prius owned by an idiot and cause a serious traffic jam, not to mention a serious accident, because you thought hybrid meant 'electricity only.' You don't want to start napping when you're supposed to step on it, now do you? You don't want to run on empty in the middle of the highway. I used to think that I could fool Mr. Fatigue by doing an ostrich and assuring myself that a couple of extra vitamin pills would do the trick. Bad idea. Nap wisely.
When people tell you you look good and "not at all exhausted," tell them looks can be deceiving. Remind them politely that chronic fatigue is somewhat different from having had a leg chopped off for all the world to see. Remind them that it's an invisible problem, but a serious problem, and that you're trying hard as hell to keep it that way or else you would switch off then and there and snore on their equally not-at-all-exhausted butt. Tell them that would be rude, so you're determined to keep that no-good battery charged to the best of your abilities — in spite of the fact that talking to them about not looking exhausted is a waste of energy. So you just smile and keep it short. Life is more pleasant that way.
But whatever you do, don't forget that you're alive and that, unless you are in terrible pain, your friends and family are worth your while. You are worth your while. Appreciate the little things and realize that they are, in fact, pretty big. I, for one, love sitting in the sun. I close my eyes and breathe. I feel the sunrays touching my face. I notice the wind. I breathe. I hear. I know. That's bound to put a smile on my face and it won't hurt a bit.
Try it, and I'll be there with bells on. Your Momma, too, and everybody else for that matter. Do not give up.
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