I'm so exhausted today. Just getting through the day was a major victory for me. Today was the first day my SF SPCA volunteering program started up again, for the Adoption Outreach department. We had a couple of months off due to bad weather and general post-holiday apathy. I'd forgotten how loud and chaotic things are downtown, where we set up the mobile adoption site. All that sensory bombardment grated on every nerve. It was nice to see the other volunteers and the kitties again, and at least I got to sit down for the 2 1/2 hours, but nevertheless it took a lot out of me.
This is my 20th year at the SPCA, all of it with Outreach. I started volunteering when I was still working full-time in the Financial District downtown, before I got sick. Some days I can handle the stress better than others. This week I've been a bit under the weather so it's more of a challenge for me. The main thing that keeps me going is my dedication to animal welfare causes; I'm walking the walk, not just talking the talk. This is also the main thing in my life that has nothing whatsoever to do with having CFIDS/ME and fibromyalgia, so it's like a psychological vacation for me. Most of the other volunteers or staff there don't even know I'm sick. I can pretend I'm "normal" when I'm there; it's a rare chance for me to do so. I try to forget about being literally sick and tired (and often in quite a bit of pain) as much as possible, and the sweet kitties and other volunteers and staff people help distract me. I get a brief respite for a couple of hours once a week.
Then I go home and crash out.