Being sick of being sick

Dear blog readers!

I’m really getting sick of being sick! I’m already sick for seven weeks and I want it to stop now! It started with a soar throat, then it got so itchy that I had to cough all the time, then a runny nose and it finished all with the diagnosis of a sinus infection. A week ago I went to the doctor and got antibiotics and I already feel better than the six weeks before. I’m still sick and not back to my usual strength, but I am grateful that I don’t have to lay in bed the whole day and that I can write to you. Now that I am better, Daniel got sick and now he is taking the antibiotics. Please pray for him as he can’t miss work for too long.

Back when I was living in Germany I wouldn’t have waited six weeks until I’d go to the doctor. But here I was worried about how high the doctor’s bill would be and so I wanted to try to get better by myself. I really was hoping that with enough fluids and rest I would get back to normal.

Resting is more difficult than you might think

I tried to stay most of the time in bed, but to tell you the truth I am not good in it at all! Of course I think it’s nice to sleep in and also to have a day where you stay on the sofa with a great book. But earlier or later work is calling for me. It’s a very quiet voice that only I am able to hear and it is getting louder and louder. My work desk calls, all the emails that haven’t been responded to, the dirty apartment floor and bathrooms and the empty pantry. This is a never ending list of screams. If my office would be in a high rise in Manhattan and not at home, the distance would probably help me to not hear all those noisy screams. But my work desk is just on the other side of the apartment and very seeable and hearable. That’s why as soon as I feel a bit better I am getting out of bed and back to work. When I am working I usually don't recognize what my body needs. All the warning signals of feeling exhausted, hungry, thirsty, tired I don’t realize. It is as if I am caught by a slave master and I am doing whatever his whip is commanding me to do. And the sadist isn’t stopping! Usually late afternoon I realize through almost coughing out my lungs, bad headaches and hardly any capacity to concentrate anymore that I need to take a break. And then I do it, but only because my body isn’t capable of doing any work anymore. And then I rest for a little while and as soon as I feel a bit more strength I go back to work.

How to escape this vicious circle?

For me personally that is super difficult to escape. At the one hand I like to work and it is challenging to just sit around and do nothing. Behind all of that hides the thought of just being worth something if I am doing something. No achievement means no worth, means I am a disappointment. When I am sick and have to stay resting in bed there are not just consequences for my business (less orders, less income), but as well for Daniel. He then has to do the work at home that I am not able to do. And this really feels like the end of the world for me! I am serious! I really feel very awful, because I feel like a burden to my husband. Let me explain how my brain works: “If Daniel is already earning way more money than I am, then I have to help him as much as possible with all the tasks at home, so that we will be back in balance.” If now I am laying sick in bed nothing is balancing out. NOTHING! Daniel works full time at his job and then comes home and has to work there as well. This calculation isn’t even. My ideal is fifty-fifty. Well, sometimes sixty-forty, but not hundred-zero. This zero makes me feel as I would be worth zero as well. I feel like a zero, a loser.

Gives a lot = Worth a lot?

I know in my head that neither Daniel, nor God are thinking the way I think. My self worth isn’t depending on how much I accomplish. But the truth is, for me it does! I want to be proud of myself and somehow I can only be ok with myself when I achieve a lot. The big problem is that the goal is never reachable. It’s getting higher and higher and I feel smaller and smaller. I feel already that way when I am healthy and now that I am sick it is even stronger. To change this unhealthy pattern seems impossible. But I know that I have to get out of this vicious circle. I am only able to get healthy again when I can bear this horrible tension and stay in bed resting and not give in to the “voices”.

The city that never sleeps

That contradicts the culture I live in here in the United States. For every sickness the pharmacies offer the perfect “cure”. Instead of really getting healthy, you take a remedy that makes you function again. Not 100% healthy, but functioning. That goes against all common sense, but in the culture - and above all in New York City - it’s challenging to do it any other way. Daniel has some sick days at work and if he uses them and continues to stay home his salary will be reduced. The cost of living in this city are higher than in other American cities and somehow you don’t have any other option than to make it all work - doesn’t matter how sick you are. To make it here you have to work.

Reality Check

My personal situation is different. We are able to pay the bills from Daniel’s salary and all the money I earn helps to grow my business. As my own boss I have to give myself the freedom of saying “My health is more important than growing the business.” I already understand that in my head, but it hasn't yet sinked into my mind and soul. I want to be healthy holistically and the only person who can do something about it is myself! I want to feel worthy besides my achievements and I know that my mind and soul will take way longer to learn that than just seven weeks. All of that is an ongoing construction area.

Why leaving the vicious circle?

Of course I could just go on like that and stay in the vicious circle of working/being sick/feeling like a loser etc. But I don’t want to! Above all when I think that Daniel and I want to start a family, I don’t want to pass on this unhealthy pattern to our children. The very thought of unconsciously teaching my children that I will just love them when they perform certain things makes me very sad. God has unconditional love for us and as a child of God I want to show God’s unconditional love towards the people around me and towards myself. This is a very challenging lesson for me.

How to do so?

Just like I can’t pull myself out of quicksand on my own head, I can’t make a 180° change by myself. I need help, because those inner voices that never stop pushing me and have impossible expectations won’t stop. The only voice that has command over those voices is God’s voice. So in my special situation it helps me to seek God and to listen to his voice.

I write down my soul on paper

In practice it would look like this: I start the day with God. This means I am usually sitting at a quiet place in the apartment and I take my prayer journal and write a letter to God. I have to write, because just prayer in my mind or spoken out is easily turning back into my never ending to-do lists. I lose my focus on God and am thrown back into the vicious circle of never ending work.

So I sit on the sofa. Usually with a cup of tea and take time. Time for God and myself. Time to be and not to do. Some days I take ten minutes and on other days thirty minutes, depending on how burdened I feel. All those sorrows and fears I write down to God into the journal. I also try to mention things that I am grateful for or moments where I felt happy. When I do this in the morning my day turns out to be filled with more peace. Those other voices can’t do me as much harm as they usually would do. The only way to get this is really by doing it. Every morning taking the time out of my day and sitting down with God. My previous rhythm was completely out of whack and I know that it did me harm. I want to come back to the good and nurture, and away from the lifestyle that drains and harms me. Today I am so happy and grateful that I had this time with God. I am also proud of myself that I did the right thing for myself. That I honored myself and put my health (body, mind and soul) higher than the screaming work piles. I want to do the same thing tomorrow. But tomorrow is tomorrow and today is today. I want to stay some more time in today and not worry about the next day.

I thank you for reading my new blog post and I wish you peace. Deep peace that stays.

God bless you on this day!

Much love, Kati

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