Have you ever convincingly told everyone “Oh, I’m fine, I’m fine” then suddenly found you were not, in fact, fine at all? Are you like me? Do you preach self-care and self-advocacy, then find you neglect to take your own words and apply them to your own life?
I faced that reality as I spent nearly a week in bed recouping from pneumonia last week. 2019 has not started with resolutions, taking down the Christmas lights, taking our annual New Year’s hike, or starting a round of Whole30 like I envisioned. No, not at all. 2019 has started with me facing head-on the honest fact that I am really good at talking about taking care of yourself but not very good at doing it.
How It Happened
After Christmas, my husband and I took the kids on an exciting adventure exploring a city where they’d never been. We did all the things – the zoo, the aquarium, the museum, basically all the places that where you pick up germs and viruses. We had a fantastic trip. We hand-washed and sanitized as much as we could, but nonetheless, three of the four of us brought home a cold.
I wasted no time getting my son to the pediatrician and made sure he had the appropriate medicines. Yet, when I felt my cold become worse and worse, I didn’t tackle it with the same urgency as I did for my little boy. When I finally caved, I went straight to Urgent Care from work, struggling to breath. I ended up with a bad case of pneumonia and narrowly avoided a stay in the hospital.
I spent four straight days in bed, and my husband and my mom, who lives fairly close by, both jumped in to care for me and for the kids, and generally keep the household running.
Now that I’m on the road to recovery, I’ve thought about why I waited and waited and waited to take care of that nasty cold I battled. We live in a world of ambition, expectations, and high stakes, and we think if we just say “I’m fine” we will get by somehow. As I learned, that’s not always the case.
This is not just true for wives and mothers (although we’re really, really bad about it), but it’s true for everyone – working professionals in demanding careers, students in advanced programs, single parents, those on a fixed income. Our priorities get skewed.
What To Do About It
Don’t make the mistake of saying “I’m fine” when you’re not. Take the time to address the personal issues, the physical or mental health problem, or whatever it is that’s weighing on you before it knocks you off your feet.