Wednesday, 7 January 2015

What a month of illness has taught me.

December I managed to be ill for almost the entire month. It started with a couple of low lying viruses so subtle that the nurse I saw told me I was just run down and needed to take lots of vitamins. I knew it was more than that. On the way to the office Christmas party I remarked in an off hand way to my boss that I shouldn't even be going to the party because I was ill. 

I definitely overdid it at the party and fighting and breaking up with the guy I was seeing and then crying for about an hour didn't help. But I woke up with no voice. It didn't come back for a whole week. I had viral laryngitis which cannot be treated, just has to be waited out. My boss heard me attempting to talk and sent me home with the words, "listening to you is heart breaking". Quite sweet really. From a week alone in the house without even being able to speak on the telephone I learnt a couple of things. 

Firstly I tend to talk to myself a lot. I realised this because when you have laryngitis you have to rest your voice as much as possible. I had to keep remembering not to talk to myself. Kinda embarrassing. 

More importantly isolation makes you calmer. In the past I've always felt the need to discuss every problem. I watch my phone all the time for messages. Being ill when you know you can't go out on a date or meet anyone or even talk to them is calming. After a few days I felt calmer and happier in my own company. I stopped feeling lost and bored and filled my days with solitary activities like painting. I felt content. 

A week later I came down with flu. I couldn't even get out of bed without the help of my dad holding my hand. I was too scared I'd pass out. My vision went when I moved too fast and I felt nauseous. A week of lying on the sofa with no energy to even text my friends made me appreciate small things in life like being able to stand up in the shower, feeling well enough to care about what I look like. But more importantly it made me realise what an amazing loving and caring father I had. I am so used to seeing my father as a fellow adult: a funny but slightly irresponsible person who I often argued with. I'd forgotten that he brought me up and looked after me and kept me safe when I was a child. But he stepped back into that role willingly. Feeding me, clearing up after me and holding my hand. 

Finally illness has had a couple of other positive effects on me. Not drinking has been good for my liver and my clothes are looser so I guess I've lost weight. Not wearing makeup for three weeks means my skin has cleared up - my pores are smaller. I've started reading novels again and painting and I've seen a lot of TV shows and films I can now talk about. 

But most importantly I've realised I'm fine on my own. I don't need a boyfriend - I am complete and actually having a boyfriend might be a bit of a pain in the arse. I can do my own thing, go to bed when I want, sleep in a bed on my own without being disturbed, decide how long to stay in Wales and when to return to London without a care for another. I'm not sure I want to give that up. 

So yeh, being ill is horrible and I can't wait to go to a bar and have a cocktail (honestly it feels like a bar is like Narnia to me). But it hasn't all been bad. And I have never been miserable or depressed. I've appreciated the small things like being able to breathe out of one nostril or not feeling dizzy for an hour. I've grown in personal strength and I've grown closer to my dad. I can't say I wish it was any different. 

1 comment:

nothing profound said...

Wonderful post! Very enlightening. If illness had that effect on most people, I could wish the whole world to be ill.