Thursday, October 13, 2011

A Rant About the Illness Narrative | No Poster Girl

"I really did think, when I fell ill, that my getting better would be a matter of willing myself to. After all, I'd gotten sick plenty of times before, and I'd willed myself to get better, and I got better. But that's not how it works. Whether you will yourself to get better or not, your body has an immune system, and either it does its job or it doesn't. You take drugs, and either they work against the disease or they don't. You undergo chemo, and either it turns the tide or it fails to. Will has fuck all to do with it."
* * *
I have the willpower to drag myself to work on days when a lot of people would stay home in bed.  But when the immune system is gone and the doctors are doing more to hinder than to help, willpower isn't enough to do the trick.
In fact, willpower was causing even more problems.  By willing myself out of bed and to do things, I was using more energy than I was producing and pushing my body into bankruptcy.
Eventually I learned that I have to listen to my body, not my mind.  Getting through that To Do List is not as important as getting the rest I need to get well.

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