Will others ever “get it” that you’re sick?

I just returned from a two week Europe trip. It was a big experiment to toy with my various routines and practices that I trust to keep me as functional as possible. And a scary experiment to shift time zones 7 hours, given the importance of, and my struggles with sleep. Suffice it to say for now that it wasn’t nearly as bad for me health-wise as I’d worried it might be.

And I knew that upon my return I would need to recover by resting, dialing back in to the local time etc. – especially given that I had relatives expecting me to visit for a few days. When I told them I needed to have a few days to recover before visiting, one response was “doing what?”. This from someone who’s known me long before I got “sick”.

Yes, we may need to recover from vacations...
Yes, we may need to recover from vacations…

I felt defensive at first – and frustrated. “Don’t they know I’m sick? Do I have to explain this again? Don’t they believe I’m sick? What can I say that will convince them?”.

Then I remembered: I’m the only one who can possibly know and understand what I’m going through, and what I need (or at least my best guess about what I need at the moment). I tire of trying to convincingly explain my limiting physical conditions anyway. But I remembered that I don’t have to convince anyone. They don’t need to understand, or approve of my choices for self care. I can make my choices confidently and implement them respectfully and cleanly, and let any criticism or doubts about me glance off (easier said than done, but…).

And I certainly don’t need to doubt my choices just because others do. Maybe a little self-doubt is okay as a reality check. But I know a lot of self-doubt is just needless suffering… ~Z