Things got hairy for a while, there. To wit: I caught a particularly severe strain of the flu that left me unable to do anything but lie down and moan for a couple of weeks. (Oh, and an ear infection. And this was after the sinus infection/bronchitis that came from the cold I had in March. It’s been quite a couple of months.) I would just lie there and enjoy a series of panic attacks and wonder if the panic attacks were actually imminent death. I was pretty fun.
I’m still not 100%, and it’s been a month. Which is frustrating. That said, I am SO CLOSE to normal, and it feels like a miracle. I can sit upright! I can walk the two flights of stairs up to my apartment without my vision tunneling! HEALTH!
I’m under strict orders from my doctor not to do any vigorous aerobic exercise for another couple of weeks, which is excellent news, because if there’s anything I dislike it’s being aerobically vigorous.
This bout got me thinking. It forced me to realize that I haven’t been taking the best care of myself. I’ve forsaken exercise (even the non-vigorous kind); I’ve been eating too much sugar (but sugar is delicious, a tiny voice within her cried); I’ve spent the last few months panicking about my life, and chronic anxiety is never good for the body. I’ve sucked down extra cups of coffee to get me up in the morning and depended on Klonopin to get me to sleep when my thoughts wouldn’t stop racing.
I’m going to be 47 (uh, tomorrow), and while the flu was a huge bummer, it was also an important reminder that it’s more important than ever to take care of me. And that mentally and physically flogging myself to get shit done simply does not work.
I also discounted the impact that talking publicly about my rape would have on me. There were some difficult and even traumatizing conversations. My panic attacks began making daily appearances. I was ashamed to talk too much about it. I thought I should be over it. I should have sought out extra help, but I minimized what I was dealing with every step of the way.
I would experience these waves of shame and visceral horror, think that I couldn’t possibly survive that feeling, wonder sort of abstractly if I shouldn't bother surviving, and then I would feel myself tamping it down, tamptamptamp. This is not a productive strategy. This leads to your immune system hibernating for a spell while all the infections come to get you. (This is my non-medical-professional opinion, of course.)
It’s funny, I had planned a very different sort of blog post today. I was going to launch into a story that I thought might entertain you and I was going to breeze past the sickness and all the sticky emotions. But here I am, all flu-weakened, my defenses down, and this is what came out. And I don’t think it’s the worst thing.