The Good That Comes From Being Sick

The Good That Comes From Being Sick

What you lose in health, you gain in perspective.
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Despite our best efforts to strengthen our immune systems and avoid contagion, we all find ourselves sick at least once a semester. And while sickness is always uncomfortable and rarely convenient, these moments of weakness provide us with a unique perspective on things that we would otherwise overlook.

First, of course, is the sensation of bodily health. We never quite appreciate the miracle of being able to breathe until we can't for some reason. There's nothing like a head cold and a stopped-up nose to make us look back fondly on the days when we could take a breath uninhibited by congestion.

If we have a sore throat, we long for the day when we will finally be able to swallow again without feeling like we are being stabbed in the tonsils. A bad case of the stomach flu causes us to abandon our cravings for elaborate meals and instead long for the simplest crackers and water. We hardly notice our bodies' incredible capabilities of taking in air, water, and food until we become sick and are forced to do without them.

But our physical health is not the only thing we take for granted when we are healthy. We think of our responsibilities, like attending class and completing assignments, as drudgeries until we are no longer able to fulfill them. When we are too sick to attend class, we may enjoy the freedom at first, but soon find ourselves wishing for a change of scenery instead of staring at our bedroom walls.

If a fever or a headache keep us from working on assignments, we begin to miss the days when our brains functioned well enough to actually complete readings and homework. Sickness helps us appreciate our very ability to participate in school activities that we normally complain about.

And finally, times of sickness can help us realize how truly supportive our friends and family are. Maybe your folks drive you crazy, but the fact that they're willing to drive hours to see you and help you if you really need them speaks volumes about how much they care for you. And of course you already love your friends, but you grow to appreciate them even more when they risk their own health to drive you to the doctor or bring you soup or Gatorade. Sometimes it just takes a nasty virus to humble us enough to accept the generous love and care of people that want to help us.

Even though sickness remains a source of physical discomfort and a huge logistical obstacle in our daily schedules, perhaps we would do well to spend our recovery focusing on the new perspective that we gain through illness.

Your body knows when it needs to stop and take a break. Maybe sickness is a time to reevaluate how we are living our lives and look for ways to improve, whether that means taking better care of our physical health, shifting our priorities, or just being thankful for little things like breathing.

Cover Image Credit: Pexels

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To The Person Who Feels Suicidal But Doesn't Want To Die

Suicidal thoughts are not black and white.
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Everyone assumes that if you have suicidal thoughts that means you want to die.

Suicidal thoughts are thought of in such black and white terms. Either you have suicidal thoughts and you want to die, or you don't have suicidal thoughts and you want to live. What most people don't understand is there are some stuck in the gray area of those two statements, I for one am one of them.

I've had suicidal thoughts since I was a kid.

My first recollection of it was when I came home after school one day and got in trouble; and while I was just sitting in the dining room I kept thinking, “I wonder what it would be like to take a knife from the kitchen and just shove it into my stomach." I didn't want to die, or even hurt myself for that matter. But those thoughts haven't stopped since.

I've thought about going into the bathroom and taking every single pill I could find and just drifting to sleep and never waking back up, I've thought about hurting myself to take the pain away, just a few days ago on my way to work I thought about driving my car straight into a tree. But I didn't. Why? Because even though that urge was so strong, I didn't want to die. I still don't, I don't want my life to end.

I don't think I've ever told anyone about these feelings. I don't want others to worry because the first thing anyone thinks when you tell them you have thoughts about hurting or killing yourself is that you're absolutely going to do it and they begin to panic. Yes, I have suicidal thoughts, but I don't want to die.

It's a confusing feeling, it's a scary feeling.

When the depression takes over you feel like you aren't in control. It's like you're drowning.

Every bad memory, every single thing that hurt you, every bad thing you've ever done comes back and grabs you by the ankle and drags you back under the water just as you're about the reach the surface. It's suffocating and not being able to do anything about it.

The hardest part is you never know when these thoughts are going to come. Some days you're just so happy and can't believe how good your life is, and the very next day you could be alone in a dark room unable to see because of the tears welling up in your eyes and thinking you'd be better off dead. You feel alone, you feel like a burden to everyone around you, you feel like the world would be better off without you. I wish it was something I could just turn off but I can't, no matter how hard I try.

These feelings come in waves.

It feels like you're swimming and the sun is shining and you're having a great time, until a wave comes and sucks you under into the darkness of the water. No matter how hard you try to reach the surface again a new wave comes and hits you back under again, and again, and again.

And then it just stops.

But you never know when the next wave is going to come. You never know when you're going to be sucked back under.

I always wondered if I was the only one like this.

It didn't make any sense to me, how did I think about suicide so often but not want to die? But I was thinking about it in black and white, I thought I wasn't allowed to have those feelings since I wasn't going to act on them. But then I read articles much like this one and I realized I'm not the only one. Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, and my feelings are valid.

To everyone who feels this way, you aren't alone.

I thought I was for the longest time, I thought I was the only one who felt this way and I didn't understand how I could feel this way. But please, I implore you to talk to someone, anyone, about the way you're feeling; whether it be a family member, significant other, a friend, a therapist.

My biggest mistake all these years was never telling anyone how I feel in fear that they would either brush me off because “who could be suicidal but not want to die," or panic and try to commit me to a hospital or something. Writing this article has been the greatest feeling of relief I've felt in a long time, talking about it helps. I know it's scary to tell people how you're feeling, but you're not alone and you don't have to go through this alone.

Suicidal thoughts aren't black and white, your feelings are valid, and there are people here for you, you are not alone.

If you're thinking about hurting yourself please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or visit suicidepreventionhotline.org to live chat with someone. Help it out there and you are not alone.


Cover Image Credit: BengaliClicker

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Girls, Your Happiness Shouldn't Be Determined By Your Looks Or Weight On A Scale

I am quite disappointed that a person with that level of intelligence and wisdom was unable to comprehend that my life is centered around much more than just continually worrying about what I weigh or how I look.

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I've been trying to think about what I should write about, and I thought back to what pushed me to speak out about fatphobia in the first place. Last year for my high school senior project I was told that I could choose any topic of my choice. I thought about what topic I was interested in enough to research about for months. While the idea of fat-phobia did come to mind at moments, I was hesitant to choose that as a topic. I didn't know if I had it within me to talk about my biggest obstacle in front of all my classmates. But this instance was what pushed me over that edge and motivated me to speak out, and for that, I am eternally grateful.

It was December of my senior year that I went to visit my doctor. About halfway into the appointment, we started talking about my weight. That was not unexpected. I was at the doctor's after all. But what was surprising was a question that she had asked me. While talking about my weight, my doctor had asked me, "Lasya, tell me, are you really happy with yourself." Under the impression that she was asking me about how I was feeling about myself in general, I was about to start talking about how I could've started college apps way before instead of procrastinating. It then hit me that she wasn't asking me about whether I was happy about the whole me, but that she was just asking about the part that she could see, whether I was truly happy being a fat girl. At the moment I felt flustered and shocked. I couldn't even piece together any response. After I came home, I realized that she was under the impression that as a teenage girl my happiness is mainly derived from my looks or my weight, but she was wrong.

My happiness is not derived by some number on a scale that fluctuates on a daily basis. My happiness is derived from the quality of the relationships that I have with the people in my life. My happiness is derived from seeing the people I love smile and laugh. My happiness is derived from writing with new fountain pens or finishing another episode of Criminal Minds. My happiness is derived from completing a piece of crochet work or typing a sentence on my typewriter. My happiness is derived from all these things, but it is most definitely not derived from some number on a scale. And to be honest, I am quite disappointed that a person with that level of intelligence and wisdom was unable to comprehend that my life is centered around much more than just continually worrying about what I weigh or how I look.

To be clear, this post is not about me bashing on my doctor for what she said. This post is about me talking about her statement and what was wrong with it so that we can all learn from it. This post is about learning that happiness cannot, and should not, be based on superficial things like looks and weight. If it were, we could never be happy or at peace with our selves. It is even possible that my doctor did not mean to say the statement in this context. She could have meant to say something that had a completely different message but was unable to communicate it with me properly. Anything could have been possible, and we will never know unless I confront her about this. But I cannot because I am too much of a coward to ask her about this in person.

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