On being sick…

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!

7 thoughts on “On being sick…

  1. Awww I hope you feel better soon.

    Love your thought process about associating feeling sick with drinking. Light bulb moment huh?

    Rest up, girl, and drink lots of (n/a) fluids. 🙂 xoxo Christy

    • Hi Christy,
      Yeah, it was definitely a light bulb moment! I am so fascinated with the things the mind and body do! It was really good for me to put the two pieces together. I actually feel better today, still a little congested but no longer feeling guilty about it!

  2. I remember having “sick days” when I was drinking where I would spend most of Sunday in bed. I felt repulsed at myself.

    Funny, I’ve been sick this weekend too. I’ve been sleeping a lot and taking full advantage of having husband feed the kids and drive them around. It was a nice break!

    I hope you are feeling better soon.

    • Hi Fern,
      I’m so glad that you were able to take advantage of your husband’s help! I know I need to get better at asking for help without feeling bad about it. The funny thing is, I too have a husband that is always willing to take over when I’m feeling yucky. I just have to let him! Crazy, I know.
      I’m feeling better today, I hope you are too. 🙂

  3. Thanks, Karen. I am feeling better today, partly because I’m getting over the cold, and partly because I realized that I don’t have to feel bad about being sick. 🙂

  4. I remember the shame of those “sick” hangover days where I would barely function. I had flashes of those same feelings when my foot was giving me so much trouble and I knew I should limit my movement. There’s some unlearning to be done in all of this isn’t there? 🙂

    Glad you’re feeling better! Hugs

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