Flu took away my lust for life! Help!
December 17, 2013 11:04 AM   Subscribe

Two weeks ago, I had the flu. I had all the classic symptoms: fever, muscle aches, coughing, chills, and fatigue that kept me in bed for 3 solid days. Now I am better but I am having odd symptoms. I don't feel like eating. Nothing tastes good. And nothing is interesting. I don't want to do crafts, or play with my dog, or read, or watch TV, or talk to my friends, or do anything, really. Everything seems annoying, and I am beyond bored, which is uncharacteristic for me. I don't feel sick, exactly, and I'm not totally exhausted like before, but I'm feeling the need to lie around in bed 2 to 4 hours a day. What is going on and how do I make it stop? All suggestions are welcome, including "woo."
posted by summer sock to Health & Fitness (24 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
The symptoms of Lyme disease are similar in many respects to those of the flu.
posted by bricoleur at 11:07 AM on December 17, 2013 [2 favorites]


Also just because you aren't showing the classic symptoms of the flu anymore, it's possible that your body is still fighting off the infection. If you feel that need to rest for 2-4 hours more, that's your body telling you to rest so it can devote your energy to healing.
posted by royalsong at 11:09 AM on December 17, 2013 [5 favorites]

Were you tested for mononucleosis?
posted by JanetLand at 11:10 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Post-flu depression is apparently a (anecdotal) thing.
posted by showbiz_liz at 11:14 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Low-level depression is apparently pretty typical following a bout of influenza. It sucks.

That being said, checking with your doctor can't be a bad thing, especially if you're still feeling fatigued enough to stay in bed that often.
posted by pie ninja at 11:15 AM on December 17, 2013

This sounds like me when I had mono. I didn't care about anything, didn't want to do anything except lay in bed at watch SVU reruns. This lasted for about 6 weeks. You should probably see a doctor and get a blood test if you want a definitive answer about this.
posted by coupdefoudre at 11:15 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

From my experience, what is going is on is "you are recovering from the flu" and you can make it stop by continuing to convalesce until you're better. When I had the flu, it took me easily a month from first symptoms to get back to normal. Actual influenza is a pretty serious illness, and the recovery time has kind of a long tail.

Sorry. I know it sucks.
posted by KathrynT at 11:21 AM on December 17, 2013 [10 favorites]

I'm sorry you still aren't feeling well. Flu can really take it out of you. Some strains are strong enough to kill you, so you may just have had a particularly nasty one that's hanging around.

You might want to see a doc, just to be sure you don't have Mono, or if you're in the Southwest, Valley Fever (I had it for years!)

If it's just taking a long time to clear, follow your inclination. Eat healthy and easy to digest things. Eggs and toast, soups, lots and lots of liquids. Rest and sleep. One day you'll wake up and feel zingier.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 11:25 AM on December 17, 2013

Assuming your dx of the flu was accurate I don't think it unreasonable to think a full recovery might take up to six weeks. In the absence of other symptoms and an incremental recovery I trust you will soon be back to your old self. If you have not seen continuing improvement in 30 days I would definitely consult a physician. Three full days of acute symptoms can be quite hard on you.
posted by rmhsinc at 11:31 AM on December 17, 2013

Feeling like I don't have the energy to enjoy stuff that I used to enjoy, but not really feeling sleepy and thus not wanting to sleep, is a reliable way to make me feel "beyond bored" and irritable and not-hungry.

Definitely could be that you're still recovering, but one thing that is helpful to me when I feel like that is to start tracking how much I'm eating (and to a lesser extent, how much water I'm drinking). I find it's often the case that I'm not hungry, so I'm eating only 1200 calories per day, which makes me feel even more exhausted and apathetic and uninterested in food. It can be a nasty cycle to break out of, requiring me to get a bit regimented about what I'm eating so that I can make sure I'm getting enough calories.
posted by iminurmefi at 11:32 AM on December 17, 2013

I wouldn't worry too much about it if it's only been two weeks. The flu can be a very, very taxing thing for your body to go through, and full recovery may take this long. Just make sure you do keep improving week by week. Make sure you treat yourself as well as possible -- only healthy food, lots of sleep at the best times ((like be in bed by 10 or 11 since your body knows the difference (circadian rhythms)), etc. Since you mentioned you are actually open to "alternative" medicine (I refuse to use the profoundly obnoxious and narrow minded term people love on this site), I would suggest astragalus (Mountain Rose herbs sells a good bulk organic version). It's a very important herb in TCM, well regarded by herbalists in general, and a good choice for this type of situation (building immunity, and vitality and strength back up). Actually, I would totally see a TCM practitioner who can give you a custom regimen after a truly thorough work up (I mean not like you get at the doctor's, they WILL want to hear about ALL your symptoms). This would be much better than just taking random remedies on your own.
posted by Blitz at 11:48 AM on December 17, 2013

I was chiming in to say the exact same thing as iminurmefi--review your eating and see how many calories you are consuming. You may not be hungry, so you think you are eating enough, but you might not be. Fighting the flu takes a big toll--you are very likely burning more calories than your torpid state might suggest.

For me, a day of good eating can make a huge, huge difference.

If your appetite just is gone, pack in calories by using full-fat, high-fat ingredients, and go buy a 6-pack of Boost or Ensure to drink. You're not going to destroy your health by eating a cheeseburger or avocado grilled cheese sandwiches and a milkshake twice a day for a few days.
posted by elizeh at 11:49 AM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

I think you are still recovering from the flu. Give your bosy at least 2 more weeks of rest then re evaluate.
posted by saradarlin at 11:51 AM on December 17, 2013

People don't realize how serious of an illness the flu is. It kills people. You are probably still recovering.
posted by COD at 12:02 PM on December 17, 2013

Same thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago. Time passed strangely, reality seemed weird, no appetite, boredom, etc. But I'm pretty much 100% now. It takes a while to get back to normal but you will regulate.
posted by mattbucher at 12:03 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Two weeks is nothing. Your body is worn out, even if it's not infected anymore. Rest, eat well, drink lots of fluids. IANAD.
posted by DMelanogaster at 12:26 PM on December 17, 2013

Lymes is not common at this time of year. If you live in/have visited an area where it's common, consider getting blood tests.

However, mono often manifests like a flu would and is accompanied by slow convalescence. Have you seen your doctor? Not much they can do for mono, but sometimes just having a diagnosis and knowing what to expect can alleviate concern.
posted by DoubleLune at 12:32 PM on December 17, 2013

It's only been 2 weeks. Some people are still quite sick with flu symptoms after 2 weeks. You should rest and try to make yourself eat (try a nutritional supplement like Boost or Ensure if you just don't want ANYTHING, to get some nutrients/calories in you for healing purposes). I hope you feel better soon.
posted by eldiem at 12:36 PM on December 17, 2013

Every time this happens to me, it's a sinus infection left over from the flu. They can be pretty subtle, you don't necessarily feel a lot of pressure. But they suck the life right out of you.
posted by HotToddy at 2:03 PM on December 17, 2013

Seconding possible leftover infection of some sort, sinus or bronchitis or etc...

But also adding that my boss, a few years back, after a nasty bout of the flu, spent months with what the doctors eventually diagnosed as chronic fatigue. He's normally a very high-energy person with a lot of active interests, so it was especially obvious with him, and not considered depression-related, as it was during a time-period when things were actually going pretty well in his life for once.

It eventually sorted itself out, though it required much more rest than he normally gives himself, and he's mostly back to his old self these days, just a little older and with a few more sports injuries gained over the years.
posted by stormyteal at 3:05 PM on December 17, 2013

When I had the flu, it took me easily a month from first symptoms to get back to normal. Actual influenza is a pretty serious illness, and the recovery time has kind of a long tail.

Nthing this. I had the actual flu 2 years ago and couldn't believe how bad it is - this sounds familiar; it took a long time to completely get over it once the major symptoms had passed. Take your concern to the doc if you like, but actual flu is vicious and draining. People often say they have "the flu" when what they had was a 3- or 3-day virus. The flu is different, a really taxing illness that takes a lot out of the body. Give yourself time - eat and sleep extra well, avoid booze, take things a little slower. Your energy should return in a few weeks.
posted by Miko at 4:26 PM on December 17, 2013 [1 favorite]

Perhaps you have a secondary infection, like pneumonia?
posted by chainsofreedom at 5:08 PM on December 17, 2013

I can concur that some strains of influenza will suck the will to live out of a person.

I tend to treat this by sleeping as much as possible.
posted by gjc at 6:20 PM on December 17, 2013

Ooooh - mono!

I had it in my 20s, when I was young, strong, and alive with all the joy and blissful ignorance of someone in their 20s. It was like getting hit by a truck. I was so determined to keep going, wouldn't even admit to myself how bad I felt, until one day my legs simply folded up under me and I went down and couldn't stand up.

THEN the doctors miraculously figured out that there was indeed something wrong with me and it's ugly name was mono.

If that's what it is, it will take a whole lot longer than you want to go away, but it will go away and leave no residual damage - providing you get enough rest and take care of yourself. If you don't, mono can cause some leftovers you don't want.

So don't let up on your medical crew - make them do more than a monospot if you get a negative; false negatives are not unusual. If you haven't the strength to keep annoying your doctor for a diagnosis, enlist a friend or family member to do the fighting for you.

Hope you get a handle on this very soon.
posted by aryma at 9:31 PM on December 17, 2013

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