It’s that annoying time of the year when the days are getting longer, the sun is rising earlier and I’m waking up at ridiculous times again. We should be rejoicing as spring comes but this winter is really hanging on and being a pain in the butt. This time last year we were well into 25-30 degree days but this year, it’s still 12 degrees and everyone’s fed up. The blossoms are out but it’s freezing cold, half of the day thinks it’s spring and the other half winter and my daughter and I have hayfever.
Last week she was sick for a day, sent home from kindy after being weepy most of the day and falling asleep on the floor. We spent the next day totally veging out on the couch, watching movies and completely relaxing. But even doing that was a little hard for her, she didn’t want to leave the house at all and we had a few tears over small things like movie choice and lunch. It reminded me how hard it is to stay ‘yourself’ when you’re sick. I could tell how sensitive she felt and how choices overwhelmed her. In some ways, I felt comforted because I realised for about the 100th time how challenging it is to stay on top of your own thoughts when you’re not well.
It’s coming up for 2 years since I first became ill. In that time I’ve had lots of different phases that could probably be summed up by the grief curve; denial, anger, bargaining, depression and acceptance. I say that flippantly because you can only really recognise the phases after the fact and sometimes you retreat into a phase and actually I’m not doing at all well with acceptance. My first introduction to the grief curve was a photocopied graph handed to me by a school counsellor after my brother had died. I don’t remember him or her connecting to me in any other way just handing the piece of paper and asking if I had any questions. I didn’t.
When I was pregnant and in a strange and new situation, I found myself unable to recognise my own thinking. People might dismiss it as hormones but I was still myself, just a different version of myself. It took a long time before I felt like myself again – I’m talking years and probably only slightly before I got sick.
My point (I think) is that watching my daughter, a usually goofy, carefree kid, reduced to a weepy mess by an ear infection reminded me that we need to go easy on ourselves when we’re sick. Especially when it lasts a long time. I used to know the feeling of being sick when it came and went – I’d realise I was coming down with something and recognise that I needed to quiet the negative monkey brain chattering away because I knew that I’d feel differently when I recovered. But what do we do when that illness lasts for a long time and you start to forget what your usual pattern of thinking is?
You have to remind yourself. That’s what. I don’t normally go in for positive affirmations like you’re enough and you’re worth it. Nothing wrong with them, they just don’t do it for me. I try to remind myself in small ways what I used to be like and do.