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Am I still sick because I’m single?

My sister called me this afternoon.  “Was the last time you wrote on your blog September 11th?”

I said, “Yeah, I guess so.  The thing about finding the kid on the road was the last one I did.”

“Is everything all right?”

Bless her heart.  And I mean that in a good way, not in the southern belle not exactly a compliment way.

Aaarrggghh.  (Yes, I even missed Talk Like a Pirate day.)  I’m still sick.  Not like I was, but just not feeling quite myself yet.  Let me clarify: I feel exactly like my don’t want to do anything, totally tired, sit on my butt – no better to lie down – and watch a movie self.  But with a persistent cough.

I’ve thought about writing.  I’ve wanted to write.  But when I would look over at my computer, I just couldn’t muster the energy or motivation to even open it up.  I honestly didn’t realize that it had been so long between posts; the time has just melted away.  However, I can assure you that, though I have not been writing, I have been doing a lot of thinking.

Well, some thinking.  A little thinking.  Okay, I had a thought:

Would I still be sick if I weren’t single?  

Really.  I’m even almost serious about that.

I think that being single enables me a certain amount of self-indulgence that I wouldn’t be allowed were I married with children.  I don’t mean Peg Bundy married with children, but like my sister married with children.  She has four kids and a husband, and if she gets sick, all those people are still there.  They live there with her.  So maybe they might help out a little more when she’s sick (correction, her husband may help out even more), but the expectations of motherhood do not disappear just because you “don’t feel like it”.  Her 4-year-old and 4-month-old will cut her exactly zero slack in the mommy department, so she has a built-in motivation for getting better quickly.

Even if you have a roommate – you may not be responsible for that other person, but you are still responsible to that other person.  That means cleaning up after yourself and doing the dishes; at least doing your share to keep a house running.  And being pleasant…sort of…or trying to be.  Again, simply by virtue of not living alone, you are forced to interact and be involved, to maintain a relatively normal level of activity and participation.

When I get sick, I can hole up in my little borough.  So I do.  I don’t have to do the dishes; I don’t have to do the laundry.  Until I have to do the dishes and the laundry because I’m out of clean dishes and clean clothes.  I can wear my pajamas for three days in a row and my dog Louis doesn’t care one bit.  At least he’s never said anything.

I guess what I’m really talking about is mind over body.  For example, when I was in my twenties, I knew I was going to get sick in the spring and the fall.  I expected to get sick in the spring and the fall.  And I did get sick every spring and every fall.  Until I realized that I was basically telling myself to get sick.  And so I decided that it wasn’t going to happen that way anymore.  And it didn’t.

On the other hand, was it all in my head that I thought it was all in my head?  Can you really just tell yourself to stop getting sick when the seasons change?  Because you think you’ve talked yourself into getting sick when the seasons change?  Because how can you stop yourself from getting something that you catch?  Or maybe I wasn’t “catching cold”.  Maybe I did talk myself into being sick.  I don’t know.  But I’m wondering.

So.  I’m also wondering, because I’m single, and because my only real responsibilities are to myself and to my job, am I allowing myself to wallow in sickness?  Am I allowing myself to not do the things that would help me get well?  Like get out of the house, get moving, get back involved with my life.  Like make myself open up this computer and write something.  

And I’m wondering, can you get out of the habit of feeling well?  And into a habit of feeling ill?


17 Comments Post a comment
  1. girlonthecontrary #

    I love this post and not only because you gave me a bit of a shout-out. I love this post because I have had this EXACT conversation with myself. When you get the answer will you tell me? Not like cheating on a test but like sharing information. 😉

    September 23, 2011
    • If I figure it out, I’ll definitely let you know. Actually, this isn’t the first time I’ve wondered if I still feel sick because I’m letting myself sit around too much.

      For whatever reason, that post of yours stuck with me, especially the “bless her heart” piece. I had to dig way back for it, but I was determined to link! (Real Southern Men does Twanglish lessons, and I think they covered that phrase once, too.)

      September 23, 2011
  2. I know for a fact that you can get in the habit of not feeling well. I have a former friend who has had several serious illnesses–all unrelated–that have cost her at least four jobs. She obviously has some mental health issues and would rather not work, but she makes herself physically ill on a regular basis.

    I’m not saying at all that that’s what’s going on with you! I also can usually count on getting sick every spring and fall, but running seems to keep me a little healthier.

    Having said all that, however, there is nothing wrong with pampering yourself and wallowing a little when you feel sick. Sometimes having others around can make you feel worse, especially if they’re not very sympathetic. I’m more of a “leave me alone and let me suffer in peace” kind of person myself, and I have been known to enjoy wallowing in my misery, if only to give myself a guilt-free night curled up on the couch with a warm blanket and a good chick flick.

    September 23, 2011
    • I do think that I’m actually still sick, because I can’t get rid of this cough. And today my sinuses started draining again and my throat is starting to hurt. Of course, that’s no wonder since my sinuses are starting to drain. And I think you’re right, there’s nothing wrong with a little pampering. I really needed it when I was feeling big time miserable.

      I just don’t want to let myself get into the habit of not – not engaging, not writing, not hanging out with my sister and the girls on one of my days off. It’s too easy to let my not feeling well keep me from doing.

      Boy, but I am tired all the time! I think if this keeps up, I’ll be back at the doctor.

      September 23, 2011
  3. When I am sick I get ignored. I have to go about my daily life so pamper yourself and get good and better and take advantage of not having a stinky husband who will get sick a wk later and need every freakin’ second of your day b/c he’s a baby lol.

    September 23, 2011
    • You made me laugh – your stinky husband who will get sick a week later – so funny! But sadly real. I would think that was one of those bad male stereotypes, but you just see it lived out so often.

      I need to come over and visit you sometime. I’ve neglected my blogworld terribly in this last month! I never comment, I never write, I never visit. I am trying to get myself caught up, so I will make a point of getting over to see your site soon.

      September 23, 2011
  4. A good wallow is needed occasionally to keep things balanced. However, if the wallow lasts too long then things tend to get comfortable in wallowland. This is a false sense of “it’s ok”. Really, nobody likes to live in wallowland it’s just a place to visit not a place to dwell.

    Make yourself head back home to whereverland and plan a short stay in wallowland next year sometime.

    September 23, 2011
    • Yes! That’s what I’m wondering about, is if I’m getting too comfortable in wallowland. Like I told changingnow, I’m clearly still sick, but I’m not so sick that I needed to bring my world to a stop.

      September 23, 2011
  5. As others have said, balance. Attitude does matter, so you can probably think yourself healthier. But sometimes it is good to pamper yourself too. So I can offer no answers. But be careful–the push yourself even if you are not feeling up to par (oh, it’s just a cold or being tired so I can go in for that meeting, etc.) can have consequences too. Several years ago, I just kept on even though not feeling quite right–and then it got worse, so I finally went to the emergency room and had an emergency surgery. OOPS! It was more than just the seasonal blahs. Finding balance is the key–when you figure out how to bottle that, let us all know!

    September 23, 2011
    • That’s a big OOPS! Well, I’m glad you did go to the emergency room. I think if this cough keeps on, I’ll go back to the doctor. You never know, right?

      September 23, 2011
  6. rebecca p #

    I do bounce right back. I never thought it was because I had to. I hardly ever get sick. Steve absolutely babies me, so there is definitely incentive to stay sick. Sometimes, don’t tell, I stay sick and extra day so I can get just a little more pampering. You’re right though, the two little ones could give a rip – I’m mom and they want/need just the same every day. Not that being pregnant is the same as being sick, but taking Angel home today she said that last year Logan was having problems and she suggested he talk to me and he said “No way, she’s pregnant. She’s too grumpy and mean.” So I guess they boys understand a little bit about getting out of my way when I need it.

    September 25, 2011
    • That’s funny about the “no way, she’s pregnant”. He’s no dummy.

      Mom had told me you were “very sick” and then I talked to you a few days later and you seemed fine. I was still sick – still am, three weeks and going on four now – and I couldn’t understand how you got over it so quickly. I was thinking that part of it is that you have to keep going. But I’m glad Steve takes care of you. I started to put in there that when you’re sick he probably helps out more, but then I added “even more” because I think he does a pretty good job helping, or trying to help, already. But I’m glad to hear that you don’t get sick often. I don’t get sick like this very often, so I guess that’s something I can be thankful for.

      September 26, 2011
  7. I figure having other people in the house only means they’re all going to get sick, too, and you’ll have to take care of them. But usually after a couple days of being sick (and I don’t generally stay sick for long) I’ve had it up to –here– with a messy kitchen. Getting up and doing things does help me. I suspect this isn’t just a cough. I suspect this is a down mood, too.

    September 26, 2011
    • I wondered about that a little, but I’m not feeling that way. The lethargy worried me and not wanting to do anything. Or rather, I wanted to do things, but just couldn’t muster up the energy to make it happen. But when I’m feeling down, I don’t have any desire to do things. I had even been wanting to read, but every time I’d pick up my book, I would fall asleep. Tired, tired, tired all the time.

      But I’m starting to get for real sick again, and I think I just never shook it. Every so often that will happen, where it lingers on and then I get sick all over again. I wasn’t stuffy before, just drainage and cough and feeling terrible. Then just cough and tired. Today I can hardly breath for stuffiness, and I’m sneezing, and last two nights I was back to sleeping sitting up. However, the tired is starting to go away. Still, I’m thinking that if I’m not better by next week it’ll be back to the doctor.

      I hate when the kitchen piles up, too. That does make me feel so much worse.

      September 26, 2011
  8. I do think a lot of our attitudes and behavior influence how often we get sick. I’ve had years where I got sick five times in a year, and years where I didn’t get sick once and I definitely feel there was a connection between the positive relationships and goals in my life and the healthiest years.

    September 27, 2011
    • I agree about the positive mental attitude – I think it effects so many areas of a person’s life. Or negative attitude, on the reverse side.

      I’m not a person who gets sick a lot in general, and sometimes I do think I am just refusing to. Who has time for that? Every now and then I get the sniffles and tell myself, “this is where it ends!” But then there are times like this when it kicks my butt.

      September 27, 2011

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