When you get sick often, sometimes it can feel like it's you against the world.
You can feel like you don't have anything on your side and just want to curl up and wallow in self-pity.
I have those days. If it's a bad week, I have those days about every third day. They're hard - harder than usual because you're so caught up in this narrative of 'I'm all alone' and 'nobody cares' and 'I'm always going to be sick so why bother trying to do anything?' These toxic thoughts are just swirling around in your head, and you feel ultra-tuned in to them, and to your symptoms.
On those days, you may not want to read a post like this, because it just feels like it's full of advice that you haven't asked for, and tips that you feel like you've been using to no avail. Oh, yes. I know that feeling. I once read a promotional email on one of those days offering a new healing program that asked me whether I was 'sick of wallowing in self-pity and a victimised state' and I exclaimed aloud where they could place such a notion. (It wasn't a friendly statement.)
This post is for those days where you feel like picking up again (in my experience, they usually come AFTER the horrible days are done). When you feel like looking at what support you're offering yourself and what support you might like to offer, if you could.
Here's where you work out what your basic needs are. It's something worth thinking about because our basic needs vary widely from person to person. For example, I KNOW I get really grumpy if I get hungry or too hot. (Too cold is also a bad plan for me, but I can deal with it a little better than when I'm too hot.) So I take actions to make sure that this won't happen. On hot days, I'll make sure I have a hat, sunglasses, and a water bottle if I absolutely have to go out. I will also try and walk in the shade and sit down often. I make an effort to always carry snacks with me (that are suitable for my particular diet) just in case I can't get to food or I can't find food that I can eat without getting sick.
Another basic for me tends to be comfort. If I have to go to someone's house, for example, I try to make sure that I will be able to sit down most of the time, and I try to ask for a drink as soon as I'm there - generally tea. My best friend and my boyfriend are great at this, and very kind to me.
What are your basic needs?
This is the sort of stuff you feel you need on top of your basics. I know it might sound a little weird to be figuring these things out, but if you know what you need then - when/if you get sick - you will know exactly how to look after yourself, and in what order things need to be done. Sometimes having a list to tick off can make you feel like you're doing something excellently.
For example, if I feel a cold coming on, I will make sure my basics are seen to (get to a room where the temperature is perfect for me, make sure I have snacks) and then I'll move on to additional stuff. I'll often heat up my heatpack, grab a blanket, put on a tv series I love, and grab a book. Don't forget your water or tea as well! Having everything nearby and knowing that I'm looking after myself can make me feel better emotionally, which goes a long way to making me feel like I can kick the cold.
Okay, this is a topic that can be hard to talk about. I must stress here that I am by no means an expert in this area - I've had experience with a few health professionals, but that doesn't mean I know what's happening in your specific situation. I cannot diagnose you or your situation. O_O
However, one thing that I will stress is that having medical professionals that make you feel comfortable and heard is amazing. Your doctor (or whatever health professional you're thinking of) is not really supposed to be your friend, but you are still building or maintaing a relationship of sorts with them. And if you don't feel comfortable talking to them about what's bothering you then how can they help you feel better? I think that having a good team of medical professionals on your side can make things feel more manageable when/if you get sick.
For example, you could have a great professional-client relationship with your GP, your allergist, and your psych, but feel like you're not being heard in your relationship with your chiropractor. So you've got a strong link with everyone except her, and you feel uncomfortable when you go to see her. That doesn't make you feel better, so try to either remedy that or find someone new who helps you out. Of course, it's not all about how nice someone is, but if you don't feel like your medical professional is helping you with your medical problems, then why are you seeing them?
Emotional relationships with family, friends, and lovers really feature in to how comfortable you are with resting when you get sick, and sometimes, how quickly you get better. I'm not saying it's the only feature (there are so many...) but it's a prominent one. This is a delicate connection to handle sometimes, particularly if you have a chronic illness. Being sick all the time can put serious strain on a relationship.
However, if you're not someone who gets sick often and you feel like your partner, a friend, or family, reject you when you say you need to rest, this can make you feel guilty, lost, and upset.
Needless to say, none of these emotions really help with the healing process.
With these relationships, it's not about patching it or going and finding someone else - there may be more that you need to delve into here. It may require sitting down and talking to the person in question about what you would like (as specifically as possible) when you are feeling sick. Try not to get angry, because there might be something deeper going on. And try to think about how you react when the other person is sick - do you try to help them out? Do you give them the space they need to rest? It's all about give and take.
For now, that's just a small bite for each of these, but I might go into more detail for each in separate posts. I hope it's gotten you thinking about what is ready in your line of defence against illness! And I hope you're having a lovely Sunday, wherever you are :)