Being Sick: What I unexpectedly learned
I don’t remember the last time I was sick but last Monday morning i woke up with no voice.
I have never woke up sick before. I have caught the cold or flu from someone in the office, someone i lived with or even from that one random person on public transport.
I really didn’t know how to take the situation. Considering i felt completely normal and my energy levels were a little higher, I went about my day without much concern about the situation.
Otherwise i would have bought a two litre bottle of orange juice and consumed all two litres in one day.
But the next couple of days, I suffered from severe headaches, sneezing and feverish temperatures.
When I get sick, it doesn’t really bother me too much. It generally means two things. I am going through a stressful situation or the cold or flu was transmitted from someone else.
Because it doesn’t happen often. I take the opportunity to reflect how I am living my life and if I am living up to my best intentions.
On this occasion, I really struggled with resting to get better. I had things to do. I had people to meet. I had a plan. I had organised my week more than three weeks ago.
The idea of missing opportunities, people and events made me resentful. I maintained regular exercise and healthy eating and yet this happened.
Could I have done anything more to avoid the situation?
And the answer is no.
By the second day, I had to mentally stop myself from being too hard on myself. I was pushing myself too hard. And even when I write these words, I am recovering from a chesty cough.
And I realised the one thing I did not want to recognise. There are some things we cannot control.
No matter how much we want to control a situation, there are things we need to just accept.
From a person who believes we can change our destiny, there is a small fraction of our lives we cannot control.
There will be a time when a loved one - or even ourselves - may be diagnosed with a long term illness.
And acceptance is the first dose of medicine.
My body is telling me to stop what I am doing and slow down. The mind might be running 100 miles an hour but my body needed to stop.
So I found old past time favourites like watching a movie marathon, reading the paper and eating to my heart’s content. I found old television favourites like Lost, Friends and Seinfeld.
And after these four very long days at home, I realised how important self acceptance is.
And when you are sick, it puts everything in perspective.
Everything happens for a reason and missing out on four days was not going to change who I was.
The hard realisation hit me that the act of 'doing' and the act of 'being' was not balanced on my scale. Because I felt guilt and shame for something I had no control over.
I had to learn the act of 'being' may not be as strong as I hoped it would be.
Because in those moments of silence just before you go to sleep, you are alone with your thoughts,
And your final thoughts and feelings before you go to sleep are the ones that will stay with you.
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