I woke up today with a heavy head and low energy. Again.
My flu shot is waiting for me at the pharmacy with my name on it (literally; I booked it). I’m just waiting for my body to feel okayish so that I can get the contents without getting sicker afterwards.
My immune system is one of my biggest, most nagging problems. It is by no means the worst, and I don’t mean any disrespect to people who have to deal with much more serious conditions like cancer, autoimmune diseases and beyond.
Getting sick all the time is no picnic.
Hearing from your friends “Again?” is not fun.
Only living up to like 20% of your potential because you have a fever and everything in your body aches is maddening.
Seeing having the energy to work at your desk for a few hours a welcome luxury is infuriating.
There are theories to why I get sick so often.
Before you can guess, let me lay down the basics:
– I don’t drink. When I do, it is usually a cocktail once a year.
– I don’t smoke. I run away from cigarette smoke, hookahs and whatever else produces smoke.
– I don’t do drugs.
– I hate fuzzy drinks.
– My only eating sin is eating too much chocolate, and I try to tone it down.
– I eat more healthily than a lot of people, but less healthily than fitness regulars and health nuts. I really want to be one of them. Once I get the health…Or should it be the other way around?
– I sweat too much. Not to the point that I can’t smell clean, but to the point that changing clothes so often burns more calories than a 10-minute work out.
Get me on the dance floor, and in one song, I’ll look like I fell into a lake.
When someone advises me to not go out with wet hair, I have to exercise self-control not to say something offensive. It’s not possible for me not to go out with a little wet hair. If I breathe, I sweat. My hair included.
It’s partly genetic, partly due to living in a populated and gigantic city, and partly due to side effects of the medication I took and continue to take.
Let’s get to that:
– I took too much cold medication for two years: I was studying to get into college, and we have a shitty education system. The pressure is unbelievable. All your future used to rely on a three-hour placement test, and you could only take it once a year. (It’s no better now.)
The pressure and anxiety are way more than what we felt watching Trump.
The exam determined the rest of your life. Or so we have been raised since we were little kids. I don’t blame my parents; I bought into it too.
We didn’t know about freelancing, people brilliantly switching careers or that most people ended up at jobs, willingly or unwillingly, they didn’t study for anyway.
A lot of us cracked.
Don’t get me wrong. I didn’t devour the meds while people weren’t looking. My doctor subscribed them because I always had physical symptoms. Fever, sore throat, blocked nose/runny nose…
I just didn’t get better. Stress is not your immune system’s friend, and
this is a lot of pressure to put on any high school senior.
I got in. I got into a good private school with full scholarship. It was a useful major too: Business Administration.
But my immune system didn’t get better. The first year of the school was disappointing for a lot of reasons. Hell, after that much pressure, probably Harvard would have failed to impress me, but, alas…
I got fewer colds. What I had this year was different. Frequent nausea. No, I wasn’t pregnant. I had developed gastritis thanks to my awesome stocking up on so many meds.
And when you spend another year sick – a year that is supposed to be your most awesome and carefree – you lose it.
And I did. I developed OCD and depression. Maybe the inclinations were always there. Maybe my self-preservation and panic kept them at bay, while secretly making them stronger.
It took me a while to come to terms that I hadn’t lost my mind.
But this is not a story about mental health. My point is that mental health medications have side effects too. Like making me hungrier more often. Like sweating even more. Like totally messing with the quality of my sleep.
Fastforward 10 years and change, and I have:
– lived that carefree college year in Norway.
– been to 10 foreign countries
– attempted learning 3 different languages
– finished that degree and double-majored with another
– got a certification to teach English worldwide
– became a writer, which has always been my dream
– completed several screenplays
– made amazing friends
– learned a lot about life, myself, empathy and more.
But I also put on 10+ kilos, got my blood sugar level to dangerous levels, developed resistance to insulin, dealt with the highs and lows of being…well…me. You read about my immune system, right?
That takes a toll.
So no, I don’t have it worse than most people. But it doesn’t change the fact that my quality of life is negatively affected.
I still get sick a lot quite frequently. One favor my immune system did to me is that when I have a cold, at least it is less severe than most. I have the heavy head and the fever and the blocked nose, but I’ve never had to be hospitalized. (I’ve been hospitalized various times because of stomach problems, though.)
But I’m writing this from my bed. I’m thinking of the assignment I have due in a week, and I’m hoping my body will do me solid and give me enough time to recover and I can rock the essay without being tortured in the process.
Fingers crossed I can finally get the flu shot. Fingers crossed I will feel fine for a long time before I get sick again.
Your condition might be much worse or better than mine. You might be dealing with other health issues in the family.
The point is, I get you. I get why you get frustrated, why you produce less work than you want to. I get why people who don’t have the similar experiences don’t understand you.
I get why you are pissed off.
I’m here for you.
If you have had enough of your health issues, let me know. There’s power in sharing and understanding.
Let’s write on despite our luck and wellness levels. Let’s write on until we can figure out better solutions. Let’s write on.
Because while it might be hard, being happier helps your stress levels. And the kick of getting published and being paid for it doesn’t quite compare to much else. Does it?