I’m ill. It’s what I think of as “normal person sick,” a fever, a cough, sneezing, and weakness that’s keeping me in bed and from my usual routine. It’s not pleasant in and of itself, but it is pleasant to be able to explain this and get instant understanding and sympathy, because I’m rather used to questions and justifications as a person with a chronic illness. You don’t have to explain “normal sick”. You don’t have to rely on someone accepting that you’re not just being lazy or exaggerating.

The other thing is that I’m feeling much less guilt around sitting around and watching telly rather than working. I’m used to powering through as much as I can because that’s the only way to get through in a society that isn’t set up for crashes and fatigue and such. But when you’re normal sick, there are more mechanisms for you to take that necessary down time, and there’s more social legitimacy attached to that. (Far from lazy stereotypes, people with disabilities and chronic illnesses are generally putting in that much more effort in order to navigate the world with impairments and socially-engendered difficulties!)

It’s also something I’m experiencing as quite gendered, that drive to do all and be all at all times; I’m having particular trouble with only having done one household task today. But you know what? It’s better than okay. Resting is the right thing to do, not a selfish thing, because I can serve myself and others better by recovering as quickly as I comfortably can.

I’m trying to get comfortable with being brought sustenance and being generally helped out during this period, because that urge to power through is just not helpful in the long run. It’s helpful to slow down and recognise one’s value as a human being who deserves rest and recovery – in the midst of a particular illness and over a lifetime.