How being sick is supposed to work

So, I understand it’s supposed to go something like this:  you wake up, you feel crappy, decide you’re sick and the best thing is to rest.  So, you do that.  Your day goes along, you do the stuff you have to do (in my case, watch the kids, make sure no one gets profoundly injured, feed and clean everyone) but other than that, you rest, you take care of yourself, you get better.  Nonessential tasks are put on hold.

At least, that’s my rough understanding — I’ve never been able to manage it.  I wake up, I feel crappy, decide I’m sick and the best thing is to rest.  Then, throughout the rest of the day, I try to do just that.  But as soon as I’m resting, I feel compelled to start doing something — laundry, straightening up, getting online and sending an email I’ve been meaning to . . . anything.  It’s a compulsion.  The thoughts in my head go something like this, “Ok, I’m sick, I should rest.  But I’m not THAT sick, I COULD be getting something done.  What about laundry?  I COULD do laundry, it isn’t hard.”  It’s not about the laundry, it happens all day long, about myriad things.  I get stuck in this idea of what I am physically capable of doing, and lose sight of why I’m resting in the first place.  The problem with that is that there’s a lot of different ways to interpret “what I’m capable of”.  Even sick with the plague, I COULD probably do the laundry if my life depended on it.  I could carry both kids down six flights of stairs if the building was on fire, even if I was really, really sick.  It’s amazing what I COULD do, if I needed to.

But that’s what messes with me.  I intellectually understand that I’m not resting because I’m incapable of doing anything else, I’m resting because it’s a good idea to give my body the chance to divert its energy towards healing rather than laundry.  But somehow, in the middle of “resting”, I get caught up in feeling that I’m lazy if I’m not doing the maximum of what I’m capable of.  Problem is, I’m capable of quite a lot, but that doesn’t always make it a good idea, and it makes it hard to get well.

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