I don’t think I have ever posted twice in one day, but today I am going to. There has been something on my mind these last few days besides prayer and meditation. You see, I’ve been sick. Not seriously sick, just what seems to be a head cold or sinus infection. The creeping crud has not yet made its way to my lungs, and I really hope that it doesn’t. I haven’t been sick enough to stay home from work, although I would’ve liked to. I have had to cancel some plans with friends and let some of my chores at home go so that I could get some rest. And I’ve been sleeping a lot.
So, what has been on my mind? Well, since I began to feel under the weather, I have had this under-the-surface feeling of guilt and shame and failure. I felt it toward the end of last week when I had to cancel plans with a friend from work because I was feeling crappy. I felt it on Friday when I was at work, because even though I was getting my work done, I could feel myself moving slower than normal and not working as efficiently as I usually do. I felt it when I got home from work and asked Austin if we could order in pizza because I was too tired and grumpy to make dinner.
Why was I feeling that way? I certainly can’t help it if I get sick, so why am I feeling bad about it?
The answer hit me yesterday. It’s because when I was drinking, I used to feel sick all the time. I would stay in bed as much as I could to nurse my self-inflicted illnesses until I was better enough to go self-medicate again. I was not a maintenance drinker, so there were plenty of times that my hangovers would do me in for days. I would lay in bed feeling like I was going to die, wishing that I would, all the while telling those around me that I was sick. And then, as I did my best to sleep the day away, the guilt and shame would set in. I didn’t have to only lay there in my physical pain, but the emotional pain too. I can remember thinking to myself, “You did it again, and you deserve to feel like crap. What a miserable failure you are.”
So really, is it any wonder that now, when I am legitimately sick, my emotions go right back to that old familiar place? Probably not. It’s like muscle memory, or something. My body does X, so my mind does Y. I figured out yesterday that I have to remember to tell myself the truth when little things like this come up. I am not doing the same old destructive things that I did when I was drinking. Me having a cold does not make me a loser; spending extra time resting and sleeping when I’m sick doesn’t mean I’m a failure; I don’t have to feel guilty about being sick. Geez, normal people get sick too! (Not that I’m normal now, by any stretch of the imagination!)
Anyway, I’m off for a nap….and I’m not going to feel bad about it!