Influenza has struck our household, big time. This has meant I have had to tell people I am crook. Some of this sharing has been to explain why I can't meet a commitment, why I can't speak or why I am standing 10 metres from them.
Some of the sharing has been to encourage others to do stuff for me that I would usually do. My family are the main recipients of this sharing and it goes something like this...."I am sooooooo siiiiiick, please can you make me a cuppa with a bit of choccie"? This method has back fired a little though as now as other family members fall prey to the lurgy they are using this method back at me!
The sharing that most interests me is via social media. I posted a pic of my doona cover with a comment that I was unwell. I made this post because I wasn't in a position to snap my regular Instagram snap outside, so I thought it would be fun to snap my doona which has a beautiful Australian native flower design. I didn't actually think about the fact that I was posting a "I am sick, give me attention" post which I normally really struggle with on Social media.
The thing that has surprised me is that the number of comments on this post is higher than most of my regular posts, which is of particular interest because there is much more activity around this post than any of the topics I post actively seeking comment, and it is making me ask why.
The comments are expressions of care, along the lines of "get well soon" (except from you Dr Jim, your lack of empathy deserves a blog post all to itself!). Those expressing this care genuinely hope that my suffering is short lived and that I will be back to "normal" quickly and I am so touched by knowing there are many people out there who have my back and who are willing to rally should I need it. But the thing is, and this feels weird to admit, all the sympathy my sick post is generating is making me want to stay sick! If I am able to generate attention and interest in a post far over and above one in which I make, what I believe, is an important social comment, then I am going to subconsciously stay unwell!
So I toyed with being a victim, mopping around and generally playing the role of a sick person. I sat on the lounge and coughed so everyone knew I was there rather than taking myself to bed and resting properly. I muttered loudly under my breath about how even when a Mum is sick she has to do everything and my plan worked - I didn't feel any better, I felt really sick!
A comment by a close friend snapped me out of this ridiculous process and got me really thinking about illness. She said "lean in to the healing, take your time to heal deeply". She didn't say "get well soon" but she also didn't say "wallow in the sympathy while it lasts". She was saying take the time to acknowledge that your body needs to be nurtured and use this opportunity to do so deeply.
This is such a rich and powerful concept. Normally when I get sick I do all that I can to get better as quickly as possible and get straight back into the do of life. If it is a cold or flu I stuff as many cold and flu tablets into my day as I can (and then one for good measure) and try to jam as much of my to do list into my foggy day as I can. I "soldier on" and get better. The truth is I don't get well though. I don't take the time to see what elements I could shift to reduce the likelihood of falling ill next flu season, I don't take time to rest and really recover, to give acknowledgement to my body that I have not been gentle enough with it. I don't take the time to give others permission to stop and step back from the craziness of life by mirroring what that looks like.
So for the past few days I have chosen differently. It is a challenge when there are still kids to care for, a business to run and life to live but I have been conscious in my choices, actively leaning in and asking myself what I need to heal. I have been journalling, resting, sitting in the sun quietly and trying to be mindful of what my body, mind and soul are calling for in each moment and I know that because of this extra time and attention this week I will be "well" more often into the future. When someone is unwell now I will encourage them to lean into the healing, to get well deeper and to stay well longer.