One of the risks we run as people “on treatment”, “waiting for treatment”, “waiting to see if treatment is successful” is that we often fall into the trap of seeing ourselves as sick.
Now I’m not doubting or denying that we all have a chronic, potentially degenerative, very serious health condition. I know it like you know it! And I also don’t doubt that many of us (most of us?) are sick, or will become sick if we aren’t able to access treatment.
However, I think there are risks we run by thinking of ourselves as perpetually “being” sick. We can tend to limit our interaction with people. We can sometimes stop taking up opportunities to go out. At times we might miss out on things that would have been good for us.
I’m not talking about overextending yourself at work, or spending the entire weekend painting the house. But I am talking about the occasional opportunity to go something for yourself, perhaps with others, and come away better for it.
Here’s what made me start thinking about this.
A week or so ago a friend sent me a message: they were heading up my way, the orchestra they work with was performing, did I want to come.
Let me tell you, I put my sick person hat on for a few minutes. I’d be tired. It was a long way to drive. I’d have to stay overnight. It would be cold.
And then I thought, how many times do you see the ACO2 perform? Not many, right? And here is a good friend offering you the gift of her company, possibly a nice dinner, a ticket to the show and a cracking good night out.
At 4:45pm when I was frantically feeding animals, trying to catch the horse, stuffing a random assortment of clothing into a backpack and getting ready to head out onto the highway I thought about pulling the pin. After all, I WAS tired. It WAS cold. It WAS over an hour’s drive.
But instead of staying in the garage, I pulled onto the highway and headed out for the night.
I am so very glad I did it. I caught up with a good friend. I got to see a cracking good concert, with performances by some fantastic musicians. I also had a lovely dinner and spent time in one of my favourite regional cities. Bonus - I spent the night with my brother in law and sister in law so got to catch up with family.
Sometimes thinking of ourselves as sick reduces our options. We limit ourselves. We play it safe. I’m not saying we should all go hike the Andes (although how much fun would that be!), but perhaps we should do something every now and then, no matter how small, that allows us to think of ourselves not as sick people, but just as people.