Funny that today’s Daily Prompt subject is “Pretend,” since I was just thinking about the half-truths we tell ourselves when it comes to our health.
Stay with me here…
I came down with a cold last week, probably around Tuesday-ish? No big deal, just a little stuffy, throat a little scratchy, a little sneezy, and a little fatigued. I was diligent about my bedtime all week, remembered my vitamins everyday, steered away from junky food for the most part, etc. I took Friday afternoon off work to catch some zzz’s and try to avoid full-blown sickness, which, for the most part, was successful.
Friday I wasn’t as active as I normally am. I pretended this was okay; I wasn’t feeling well, rest is important, etc. Saturday followed suit. I felt pretty down and emotional most of Saturday. It was a day full of Fat & Ugly Attacks. The fact that I had a wedding to attend that afternoon and not a single dress that fit that would be appropriate for the occasion just exacerbated the situation. I was almost in tears by the time I threw something together at the last minute (after hours of shopping for a new dress or outfit and coming away unsuccessful) – but I sucked it up because, really, who’s looking at what the guests are wearing at a wedding? The focus is on the bride. I had a wonderful time and didn’t stress too much about not being 100% comfortable in my outfit of choice. After three glasses of wine I really didn’t care! Funny how that works, huh?
Fast forward to Sunday morning… I wake up feeling well-rested, but otherwise like garbage both physically and emotionally. I’d developed a cough and my congestion was worse. And, boy, did I feel real sorry for myself. I did a little cleaning, ran to the grocery – all in a fog of random sadness. I slept the entire afternoon and when I woke up that familiar, negative voice began its diatribe in the back of my mind; “Way to waste the whole day, lazy.” “This is why you’ve gotten so fat and are just getting fatter – you’re lazy and have no self-control.” “You think that apple fritter you ate this morning is going to help with your weight loss? You think it’ll help you recover from this head cold? Way to go, stupid.” And so on, and so on, and so forth… By 6pm I was beginning to give myself over to it all, beginning to indulge those nihilistic thoughts of how meaningless it all is and why even bother with taking care of myself, with life in general.
And, finally, after 6 years of never managing to remember until it’s too late how directly connected my depression is to lack of physical activity, it has sunk in. Even though I have this head cold and was feeling pretty crappy, I went and put on my running shoes and some sweats and headed out for a walk. I walked 2 miles and I came home feeling like a completely different person. Not just that, but my cold symptoms weren’t bothering me quite as much anymore.
Yes, rest is important when you’re sick and if I were running a fever or experiencing any type of body aches/flu-like symptoms, etc., I likely would not have made myself go take a walk or any other type of exercise. I really had to think about whether or not I was making this decision is the name of punishment (for the apple fritter, for the depression, for my body fat percentage), or if I was honestly trying to help myself. And, it turns out, Little Miss Negative hadn’t totally taken over my brain and I was making a good decision and was genuinely trying to help myself to feel better – and, better yet, it worked!