Um, that doesn’t work. My daughter has been sick all week and I have spent a lot of time with her. I really did believe, for a moment anyway, that I could just will any illness away from me. It is a famous line in my family:
“I am not accepting any illness right now.”
Uttered with every fiber of self will that has seemed to actually work at times. Like really worked.
Of course that was just delusion being supported by reality which happens from time to time…
I really thought that I could will it away. Wrong again.
Now, I had a full day and weekend planned and have to cancel all of that so that I do not get anyone else sick. And I don’t like that either. Cancelling on people. Reminds me of when I drank and I could never show up where I was supposed to. My life was ruled by how I felt…and so often how I felt was super precarious.
Today, I honor my commitments (most of the time) and I show up where I am supposed to and I have a deep well of gratitude about that. I never knew how much my inability to follow through and show up plagued me. I felt so badly about myself because I just could not be where I said I would be. I tried, sometimes getting completely showered and dressed, then panicking and having to return home, crawl back in bed and nurse my emotional breakdown in solitary confinement. It was a thing, and it happened well after I was sober.
Today it is so rare. It still happens, depression sets in and takes over but that is like once maybe every ten years. And I am still not sure whether it is just me taking care of myself or depression winning. The point that is most important is that my mental health has improved immeasurably and those “stuck to my bed” days are mostly a thing of the past.
But when I get sick, boy do those useless feelings return. I stay away from people and in bed for the most part, and while the cause is completely different, God does the feeling of how it used to be when I was nursing a depressive soaked hangover beset me. I intellectually know that it is different…but the feeling can still be the same. The catalyst seems to be hard wired.
Erin needing serious down time = depressive angst ridden feelings of hopelessness.
Before COVID, I would go to work anyway. Yes, that was selfish because then I got everyone else sick but I couldn’t stay home with the demons from the past that chased me and dogged my every moment. I had to escape into work so that I could avoid myself and my own mental anguish.
It is no longer acceptable to do that in the workplace. If you are sick, stay home! I do not have an actual office I travel to anymore so that particular escape is closed to me. And I am happy to report I don’t need it anymore.
I know they are just feelings and that is all. I view them like bubbles floating through my mind and pop them with a feather. Pop. Pop. Pop.
So much more pleasant than the self denigration and flagellation that I used to do…which helped no one and only served to keep me down longer.
I don’t feel great. And I am going to take the weekend to get better, rest and not contaminate anyone else. It is fine. I am ok. And depression isn’t something that is necessarily avoidable. If it comes, I have the tools to deal with it today. And I am emotionally balanced enough to take action if it really gets bad.
It has been a long time since I had a hangover. And also a long time since I was so emotionally unhealthy that I couldn’t deal with my life. And I am immensely grateful for that today.
It is just a cold. And I will recover and I can look forward to binge watching whatever I want. And I will heal and then get back to my life as it is regularly scheduled. Today, I can accept illness. It is just my turn and there is nothing going on in my life that is going to interfere with me taking care of myself. I am super grateful for that also. Recovery changes everything. Really.