I have been working almost round the clock for the past month. This fifth pandemic wave which seems to promise to terminate the pandemic might take with it the last ounces of sanity that I have fought so hard to preserve. Because, of course, the first things that go in this bottomless pit of trying to keep up with the to do list(s) are those few that I do just for me: reading, turning my phone off, meditating, walking. The most important ones.
Two relatives called me yesterday to see how I was doing. Amazingly nice of them both – elderly people (given the way I was raised, I should have been the one calling). It was Sunday afternoon, perfect time for a chat … in their mind. Instead of enjoying a cup of tea, or a game of exceptional tennis (as I am told happened yesterday), or a walk with my beloved, I was trying to cook and attend a work meeting at the same time, while checking on emails and sms-es – that is, sustaining the madness that is communications in times of COVID waves. I told both relatives I can’t talk because I had work to do and I am just swamped. The answer, in all good intentions, from both, was “well, at least you are healthy.”
I love their care and it is true, health is and should be the most cherished possession. But appearances can be deceiving. I have lost all sense of humor, I feel every opinion or action I don’t agree with to be a personal affront, I have feelings of desperation washing over me several times a day and I have started waking up between 2 and 4 AM every night. But since none of these result in pain, a runny nose, fever or sore throat … they aren’t really health issues, are they? They are in my head.
“Oh, just stop working!”
When the choice you have to make is between not showing up in the way your professional conduct tells you to and not showing up the way you need yourself to be to stay sane, and when you have been taught from early childhood that you should never consider yourself above duty … what is the path to take to be healthy?