It is no secret that I have been in bad shape for the past month. Or that I have had something of a relapse, which led to the suspicion about whooping cough. (One of my profs had it a few years ago, she told me, and it got much, much worse sometime around weeks four and five.) Or that I am completely depleted of energy, which, coupled with my memories of experiencing a similar sequence of events, starting on my 17th birthday lo those many years ago, led to the suspicion of mono. Or that I can't stop coughing, which led my husband to say: Pneumonia. (A word, I might add, of Greek origin and therefore not possibly applicable to me, even though I do now know - sometimes - the pardigm for the Greek noun pneuma.) As far as I can tell from my online reading, the doctor did ask me a lot of pneumonia-related questions yesterday, but my answers were almost all in the negative.
All that aside: I could not begin to count the number of people who have said to me, "You're doing too much," or "You're really burning the candle at both ends" or something to that effect.
Those statements are not helpful.
I am sick because some obstinate virus (probably NOT mono and NOT whooping cough and NOT pneumonia, but just your run-of-the-mill vicious virus) to which I am apparently not the least bit immune invaded my body and, finding no resistance whatever, settled in for the long haul. That's all.
Yes, I do believe firmly in mind/body connections, and that our bodies often reflect the stresses of our minds and hearts and souls. Yes, I have been under considerable stress for the past two months. It is hard to get started in a new environment and culture when your own have been pretty stable for years and years. It is hard to start at the bottom of the heap when you are used to being the one in charge. It is hard to have to work at developing new relationships when your outer extrovert is grounded in a pervasive inner introvert. It is hard to lose control of your time and your objectives to the claims of other people and institutions. And yes, it is very very very hard to learn an ancient language for which you have no aptitude.
But you know what? I am the person to whom other people say, "How do you fit that in?" when I say that I walk three or four miles a day and have for years. I probably spend another hour (not necessarily or even usually a consecutive sixty minutes) most days in some form of prayer. I spend time on the internet and I work on my photography and I have long lunches with friends and I generally enjoy myself tremendously. I work hard, but I also play with gusto. In other words, on most days I spend a considerable amount of time attending to things that counterbalance the degree of stress with which I choose to live right now.
So please. I did not do this to myself.
And if I had, believe me, I would have chosen the place where I got mono at 17 -- Cape Cod -- as the locale!
So. OK. My temper tantrum for the day.