My family has been some form of sick for over a month now. This is one of the drawbacks to being a part of a split household. Illness has the ability to bounce back and forth like its a ball in a pinball machine, hitting this person and that person, and maybe that one again.
As I write this, I have a throat infection and pink eye. Owen has a double ear infection and nasty cough as a result. Since it hurts to speak, I just keep having all of these thoughts swirling around in my head—things I have to do, things I have to tell people, things that I want to do, things that I worry about, etc. But I’m at a loss because of the sickness setback.
I figured that instead of lying in bed or sitting around feeling sorry for myself, it might be a better use of my time to write down what’s on my mind, specifically… why it sucks to be sick.
You disappoint people.
This comes in many forms. Maybe you didn’t return a friend’s text from days ago or you totally forgot to send an important email. Maybe the fuzziness threw you off your game at work or you haven’t stayed on top of an important project. Maybe you had to cancel plans that people were counting on or leave others hanging, so they think you’re a flake. Maybe the most frustrating one is that you can’t help others when they really need it.
You disappoint yourself.
All of the plans you had for the day (or week or weekend) fall by the wayside. You wish that you had done that thing when you were originally supposed to do it instead of putting it off, but now you can’t do it because you’re sick. You miss that really awesome event that only happens once a year, if ever again. And I think it’s safe to say that all of the things that fall under “You disappoint people” ultimately land under “You disappoint yourself.” Somehow, it makes sense to blame yourself for getting sick, when, in actuality, it’s no one’s fault. You think that if you had eaten better, exercised more, or been less stressed, you could have prevented the illness. While there’s a nugget of truth to that, it’s not always the case.
You suffer setbacks.
Delays are inevitable. When you are in the middle of something that requires your efforts (mental or physical) and then you get sick, you can try to push through, but you probably shouldn’t. The truth is, if you’re not feeling 100%, you’re not going to give 100%. Your body is trying to tell you to slow the eff down. So, why don’t we listen most of the time? Well, we’re humans. We think that we know better and can get away with treating our bodies badly and come out on the other side unscathed. Aside from this reasoning, we usually keep going because A. we need the money, B. we don’t want let others down, or C. we need XYZ Project to stay on pace. That said, these are all BS and you should forget about them and just rest. (hey, look, it almost rhymes. LIVE IT.)
You can’t get a running start.
Since we’ve all been sick for what feels like forever, it’s really difficult to get a new routine going. Someone is seemingly always down and it’s hard to implement new rules or changes in the household when things aren’t “normal.” The same goes for starting a project at work or at home; there’s a stop-start motion to it. It’s like you have to keep starting over from scratch each time you begin to feel better. You have all of this motivation to DO THIS THING, but you can’t move (or speak) and just feel MEH all around. Or you feel fine, but you’re busy taking care of those who are sick around you (p.s. you’re a g.d. hero, you know that?).
You feel discouraged.
At this point, the thoughts that were taking up your brain space are now getting the best of you. You’re on a downward spiral and start to feel discouraged about pretty much everything—from the stuff you’re behind on to the stuff you had plans to do. And man, that can really make it hard to focus on getting better.
But, hey, it’s okay.
You will actually get better at some point. Or you’ll at least have good days to counter the bad days. The best thing you can do (and maybe the toughest thing you can do aside from just being still and giving your body the chance to rest—REALLY rest) is to think about what you’re grateful for in the present moment. Even on the bad days, think about what’s good in your life. Is it your partner who’s taking care of the kids and keeps telling you to go sit down? (hero, I repeat) Is it the snow building white fluffy layers on the furniture outside? Is it the shower you took this morning? Maybe that refreshing glass of water? Or maybe a short text exchange with your friend of over 30 years on her birthday? Maybe you could be grateful for the sickness knocking you on your ass because you didn’t realize that you needed the rest up until now? But that’s all up to you.