I’m ill today. I’m a strange creature because to me this is a very reassuring state; I know why I’m ill, it’s not too bad and I know I’ll feel better soon. I also I know that all I need right now is rest. So I’m resting and I plan on enjoying it.

I put this down to my sickly childhood. I caught so many colds growing up and they were always real humdingers (love that word) I mean I caught the kind of colds people would refer to as flu and I caught them with such regularity and consistency that I was very familiar with the stages. I could recite them to you now, and they never varied.

I grew up with the knowledge that complaining and resisting would not help me recover faster so I would just wait and rest and try to enjoy myself. As a child who hated school and loved being on my own this wasn’t too much of a challenge. I innately understood the crucial lesson: we all get sick. I knew it wasn’t a failing in me, or a weakness. It was something that just happened, like getting rained on, and complaining about it would not change the situation one jot.

So I learned how to cope with being ill and with missing school. I became attached to these little breaks, a chance to withdraw from the world legitimately. Unfortunately I think I became too attached to them. Now, I’m a super-duper healthy adult who exercises, eats well and gets enough sleep. I stopped getting colds a few years ago. My cold-per-year rate dropped from well above average to well below. In fact in the past 2 years I have only had one cold.

But I still need breaks from the world, I still really need them but I never let myself have them. That’s the difference between a healthy accepting mind and a sick mind poisoned with the protestant work ethic prevalent in my society. When I’m healthy in body but depressed in mind I feel like I don’t deserve a break, I have to keep going going going going. As soon as I get ill, like today, my inner wise child comes back and tells me it’s ok to rest, because I’ll ill and I need to get better. It’s ok to look after myself.

So today my job is to listen to that wise child and to figure out how to make her stick around when I’m not ill.


2 thoughts on “Sickness

  1. beautifully said, “That’s the difference between a healthy accepting mind and a sick mind..When I’m healthy in body but depressed in mind I feel like I don’t deserve a break” –

    i grew up very similarly to you sick-wise, knew the pattern of throat and respiratory infections down to the stages, but i don’t think i learned the lessons you learned as well as you have, so i really like the phrase i quoted above, thank you much 😉

    • Yes all the best people were sickly children 🙂 I don’t feel like I’ve kept the lessons I learnt as a child either, I feel like I’m rediscovering them now.

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