This of course is where that name - "chronic fatigue syndrome" - becomes such an insult to those of us who actually have the serious disease ME.
ME is not just fatigue, and it is not about being "just tired".
This morning on Facebook I replied to an ME patient who's sister told her she couldn't possibly understand what "tired" was until she had experienced the sleepless nights of parenting babies and small children.
My response: (name changed for anonymity)
Helen, I had 4 children. First 2 were 15 months apart, then a gap of 4 years and second two 21 months apart.
I know what TIRED is as regards looking after small children!! (Lots of broken nights there & I breast fed each of them for 8 months +, so no-one else could do any nights for me).
ME is not the same as tired. In fact I hate using that word (or the fatigue one either) in relation to ME.
ME is about illness. It is akin to having 'flu after every exertion. It is about the risk you take every time you even vaguely push yourself, because you may not return to your previous level.
Tired & exhausted - are used in normal parlance. They tend to imply you have done something significant.... Being in a state where this exhaustion is chronic - due to babies or whatever - is not easy either.
So in some ways your sister is right. You have not experienced it, so you can't know that level of dog-tired and exhausted that she has to push through daily. I knew it. I pushed through it for years. It can be its own kind of hell, despite being done with a happy heart due to love for your children.
The difference is, it is a tired you can give a reason for, and a tiredness that you CAN push through... It's not easy to push through it of course, cos that is what exhaustion is all about! However remove the reason for the tiredness, take a rest for a few days, and things get back to normal. The tiredness can abate when rest is forthcoming.
Now ME is different. Pushing through any sensation of tiredness is a serious health risk. People who become severe talk of having pushed themselves to do things....
So I will tell you, I feel LESS tired now that I am ill with ME than I felt when I was a young mother with 4 children. (They are all now grown up & have left home.) The reason that I feel less tired, is down to the fact that I pace myself. Every time I have even slightly pushed past the point when I start to feel "tired" has caused relapses of a long term nature.
I know now that feeling "tired" is a dangerous state. I use that as a signal that it is time to stop. In fact if I wait for that signal, it might be too late, the damage may be done.
And if I do have to push on (out somewhere perhaps - no choice) then the risk of my body simply failing to function, is higher than it ever was when I was dog-tired from parenting.
Sorry got on a roll there. (((Hugs)))
So the word fatigue does us no favours. Neither does the word tired. We are all ill, some quite seriously so, and others at risk of becoming seriously so.
The experience of ME is beyond the realms of normal human experience. Therefore, normal words like "tired" and "exhausted" do not apply to our situation.
We are ill, and exertion of any kind makes us more ill!
So the sooner we can ditch any reference to ME as being any form of "fatigue" the better.
Another post on that word "tired": Are You Tired Sally?