Alright guys, real talk today. Thinking out loud time.
As I’ve mentioned (over and over and over) in the past few posts, I came down with strep throat last week and am juuuuuust about through it. What I haven’t mentioned is exactly how big of a deal it turned out to be.
Being sick for the past week took me through a whirlwind of emotions, many of which were completely unexpected.
If you had talked to me at this time last year, I would have told you that I LOVED staying inside and never having to interact with anyone. At that time my marriage was just starting to show its first signs of wear and I was scared of anything and everything outside the comfort of my home.
This year, however, is another story. I am LOVING and ROCKING my life if I do say so myself. #humblebrag
Being stuck inside by myself for days left me feeling really unsettled and scared, but I couldn’t figure out why until I really sat down to process what was going on.
I have rarely been sick in the time I’ve been in recovery. Only one time comes to mind, when I was first released from jail, but I had no health insurance so I didn’t go to the doctor and just rode it out. I also decided to add onto my pain by continuing to smoke cigarettes the entire time my throat was completely raw. #priorities
Because I haven’t had much experience being sick while not also using drugs, I haven’t had time to replace those memories with healthier ones. The time I spent on the couch napping and catching up on movies these past few days brought me back to when I was living by myself watching TV the entire day instead of doing work for pharmacy school — when I would “relax” with a glass of wine, then lose all track of time as that one glass turned into as many as I could squeeze in before I stumbled to bed.
It was important for me to rest, but my mind had a hard time differentiating between productive rest and the kind of “rest” I would do when avoiding all responsibilities. I felt pulled to do some kind of work in an effort not to replicate the days I spent immobilized on the couch (hence yesterday’s post).
In short, I felt really uncomfortable.
Taking a hot shower brought back images of not being able to sleep because of withdrawals. I would drag myself to my shower and sit under the scalding water until I felt completely drained and somehow managed to get out and fall asleep again for a couple hours.
Then there’s the medicine. Normally, I try not to take much of anything in the way of medicine, but this illness really knocked me down. I bought both daytime and nighttime Theraflu teas and soon became uncomfortable taking either one. Both left my head and body feeling fuzzy and warm, which immediately made me feel the way I did when I took certain drugs or drank a certain amount. It was just enough of a physical change to make me feel out of control.
Neil has been out of town for work through most of my sickness, so I’ve been alone in the house. One night in particular was hot (our building hasn’t turned on the AC yet) and I continued to wake up throughout the night. This immediately brought me back to sleepless nights when I was unable to find drugs and I would spend hours searching my apartment for any that I may have hidden or left somewhere in a stupor. I was reminded of the times when I would lie in bed and cry because my muscles were cramping up and I couldn’t get comfortable.
I absolutely hate not being able to sleep; it’s one of my least favorite feelings.
Alone in the house in the middle of the night and unable to sleep, I thought about how easy it would be to take double the dose of Theraflu (because why only take one?) and hopefully find some peace in sleep. I thought about how it would be nice to sink into my bed and sleep away all my worries and coughs and sore throats. Then I remembered how insidious the disease of addiction is and how most regular people don’t think about things like this. I laid in bed for awhile and eventually fell back asleep.
All of this from strep throat.
I hadn’t forgotten any of these memories, but being sick seemed to heighten my recollection of them and bring them back to the forefront. Even though it was only a couple days, it was enough to remind me why I continue to choose this way of life over the one that took me down a much darker path.
Since you know how much I love being open and honest with you guys, I wanted to share how being sick not only messed me up physically, but mentally and emotionally as well. I’ve barely been hungry either, which is sacrilege!
If you ever experience any negative or self-deprecating thoughts, make sure you find someone to talk to. Chances are someone else can understand where you’re coming from and even share some of his or her own similar experiences. Know that you are never alone if you don’t want to be.
Stay safe my friends. Let someone else into your world today.
- How are you feeling today?