Like approximately 99.99% of the people in the Northeastern United States, I have a wicked bad cold.
And like approximately 99.99% of Americans today, I am thinking about mental stability and the signs that a person is a little “off kilter.”
Oh, don’t worry. I’m not worried about that guy. I made up my mind about his mental state a long time ago.
Nope. Today I am fixated on the question of my own mental stability.
Did I mention that I’m sick?
I have a cold. A really bad cold. In fact, after two weeks of endless nose blowing, hacking, wheezing and general goop producing misery, I finally went to my doctor. I have bronchitis and a sinus infection. I came home with pills, cough syrup, inhalers and orders to “rest as much as possible.”
Now. Let me ask you this. What would a mentally stable person do in this situation? Probably take the medicine and go lie down, right?
That’s what I tried to do. I came home, made some tea, took my various potions and puffs, wrapped myself in a blankie and put my feet up. Where my mucus clotted brain proceeded to have this conversation with itself.
“You aren’t really that sick.”
“Yes, I am! I have bronchitis! I can feel the crunches and crackles every time I breathe!”
“Yeah, well, it’s not like you have pneumonia. Some people are really sick. You slacker.”
“But the doctor told me to rest. This isn’t just a cold, I have a real sickness. I have prescriptions…”
“Probably got sick because you don’t exercise enough.”
“Nuh, uh. I caught it from the kids…I’ve been wiping noses and snot sucking every day…..”
“Probably because you don’t eat healthy enough.”
“I know, I’m sorry, I….”
“Well, yeah, but hot toddies…”
“Get up. Slacker.”
Could you keep yourself wrapped in a blankie after that?
Either could I.
So I decided to do a load of laundry. You know, real quick. Just do one load. Just to shut myself up. I grabbed an armful of dirty, sweaty sheets (from me FEVER the night before, just sayin’) and I wobbled my way down to the laundry. Tossed it in. Done.
Since I didn’t pass out or anything, I figured I should put away the dishes on the counter. Take that, snot brain.
At that point I was ready to hack up a lung so I wobbled back to the recliner and the blankie. With a fresh cup of ginger-lemon tea in hand.
And goopie brain started in again.
“See? I knew you weren’t really sick.”
“What?! Of course I am! You told me I was a slacker!”
“What, you like the word malingerer better? If you’re so sick, how come you’re able to do laundry and clean the kitchen, huh? Wimp.”
I put my aching head in my hands and tried to make Goop Brain go away, but he hung around. Big green slimy jerk.
It’s always like this when I’m not feeling well. Truthfully, I’m hardly ever sick. I haven’t had a fever before this in about 10 years. For a flabby middle aged grandmother, I’m actually pretty robust.
But on the rare occasions when I do get sick, it’s always the same internal argument. It’s always the same guilt game.
I was raised Catholic. What can I say? Guilt is kind of our thing.
I’ve spent the past four days alternately pitying myself for how awful I feel and berating myself for not getting the hell over it already.
What a loser.
So I put the question to you. Do mentally stable people argue themselves out of getting better? Do they yell at themselves that if they weren’t such lazy slackers they wouldn’t be sick in the first place?
I didn’t think so.