Being Sick as a Hyper-Independent Person

Let’s talk real talk about how scary it is to be sick as a hyper-independent person.

First off, let’s do a symptom check:

  • Yes, I am still testing positive. Boo.
  • I have more snot than ever today. It’s draining all the possible places it could drain which means I also have..
  • Low grade nausea, which is what happens when the snot drains down the back of my throat. I hate this feeling because there is never any resolution until the snot stops dripping.
  • Still very lazy, er, lethargic. Everytime I walk through the kitchen to the bathroom, my shoulders go way up and then they go way down. That’s because I don’t feel like sighing because that is a great exhalation of breath that will make my glasses fog up because of the mask, so I just do the shoulders. I guess I never really give myself credit for all the “pass through” cleaning that I do on the daily. Classic Jacki, never acknowledging the work I do myself, but beating myself up when I don’t do it, Lol. 
  • I feel LONELY, which makes zero fucking sense because I never see anyone but Mickey anyways. So I can’t explain this one away. I just feel it. 
  • My coughing is definitely way worse at night time, so we’ll see how today goes.
  • I am more sneezy, too.
  • Also I have the occasional headache, which I realize I hadn’t mentioned yet. They go away with two advil, so I’m not too het up about ’em. 

Warning: this might get sort of dark, so please take this disclaimer to heart – I am fine. I’m am just trying to explore all the corners that my brain takes me to.

Well, I’m making an effort to talk about them out loud. I have tons of experience of thinking and obsessing over these dark thoughts, but I don’t speak them aloud very often. They just sit there in my brain and turn over and over until they gain momentum like a snowball running downhill. 

Then I’d just pack it away in one of the card catalogue drawers in my brain where it just spins and spins with no resolution.

How dumb is that?! Pretty.

So here’s the big scary that is bopping around in my brain right now. 

I have always had this low key fear that some time in the future I’ll get too sick to have my wits about me to let someone else know. This scares me because in my brain, people are so used to me being in total control that they will just assume I’ll get my shit together… so no one feels the need to take care of ME. Or make sure that I am okay. 

I know a big part of this fear is my inability to speak up for myself and my needs, which is something I’m working on, obviously. But again, that’s a fucking hard thing to do when you spent most of your life asking to have your needs met and being made to feel like an inconvenience. 

It’s easier to not ask, than to ask for help and be rejected. Infinitely easier. 

So I got to a point where I just stopped asking, both personally and professionally, because my brain told me it was pointless. 

Now, I realize that I’ve been in a relationship where I don’t need to be afraid to ask for help. Therapy helped me realize this and gave me the tools I needed to start testing out asking for help safely. 

My brain still builds itself up every single time I ask for help though – getting ready to protect itself from rejection that it is sure is coming. Even when that rejection hasn’t happened lately. It takes a while to break a pattern this deeply ingrained. 

Parents of kids that aren’t already grown up, please take this to heart. This is a lesson I wish I would have learned earlier so that I could have taught it earlier. 

I feel like I’ve spent so much of my life simply trying to survive that I never learned to live. I guess I’m teaching myself that now.

However, I feel like if I found myself working in a corporate office environment again, I’d still have trouble asking for help or letting people know when I am overwhelmed. 

As a freelancer, this is easy to navigate. If I get overwhelmed with a project, that means it is most likely outside of our original scope of work. Then I just explain that to my client and either adjust the scope of work or rate of pay accordingly. 

When I was working for someone else (aka the entire rest of my life), the higher ups would ask me, “Can you add this task to your duties?” and said, “No, I cannot, I have a full plate already.”

And their response was never, “Okay, I understand… you are already doing the work of five people!” It was, “Damn, are you sure. This is really important.”

Until I, of course, caved. And did all the things. Wash, rinse, repeat. 

Yes, I recognize my epic quitting last year for what it really was – a horrible case of burnout. Y’all, please don’t let yourself get into the same situation I did. I did this at every job until I burned out and either quit or got fired. I recognize this pattern now. 

I am partially responsible for it. But even moreso responsible is the valuation of money over people. Now that I work with companies and individuals that value the people that work for them more than the money they earn for them, I would have zero problem letting them know if I feel overwhelmed,

But here’s the thing- they check in with me enough that I never even have the chance to become overwhelmed. It’s a much nicer way to work, let me tell you. 

Oh, what was even the point of the blog today? People who seem okay all the time need to be taken care of too? I dunno. I’m sick. My brain ain’t making any sense right now. 

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