For most of this week I have been feeling unwell. As a result, I spent all of Tuesday and Wednesday (and a fair bit of Thursday) either curled up in bed or on the couch, in varying levels of darkness.
When I was younger, if I got sick enough to stay home from school it was an opportunity. The rule in our household was no TV whilst sick until the afternoon, which suited me just fine. I remember devouring multiple books in one day, writing stories, inventing languages (VERY primitive languages, but hey, I was 11), putting together research projects on topics I was interested in (wombats spring to mind), and generally indulging in all the things I loved doing.
In the later years of High School, being sick usually just meant working from home. VCE (in my head) rested for no-one, and no amount of being sick was going to stop me from completing all my homework and revision. (I was an idiot)
In recent years, however, I’ve found that getting sick is a slightly different experience. I rarely use my time being couch/bed bound to catch up on work. My brain is usually too foggy to write or create. Reading often makes me feel all funny, and I struggle to focus on audiobooks. So being sick has become about binge-watching something on YouTube or Netflix, lying in the dark in silence, and spending a lot of time napping.
I think part of this is because the way I get sick has changed. Usually, as a child, if I was home from school it was because of some sort of horrendous cold/flu/bug, which made me feel awful but on the whole left me perfectly capable of reading, writing, and researching to my heart’s content. Now, however, I very rarely feel cold/flu sick (touch wood), or at least not bad enough for it to render me out of action. Instead, feeling unwell is usually some sort of burnout (either physical, mental, or emotional): fatigue, tension headaches/migraines, neck and shoulder issues and nausea. These symptoms don’t lend themselves well to much more than watching TV on the lowest brightness and sleeping.
This used to infuriate me, and I’d desperately try to push through the signals my body was sending in order to make the most of my sick day. Now, however, I’ve realised that it’s just best to indulge in a day or two of nothing until I feel better again. And also it’s a pretty solid signal that I need to book a badass painful massage to fix up my shoulders for a few more weeks. I should really get that checked out…