I Feel Lousy

Merrill meinsecure2

Do you ever feel lousy, like you’re coming down with something, and then it goes away later in the day, and you feel fine again?

This probably happens to everyone – it’s one of those “false alarm” sicknesses. I get the overall general malaise occasionally. It used to happen right before I came home from work, just before I was supposed to go out for my run. Almost as if the body was telling me it didn’t feel like running that day. I would think it over, decide the body was right, wouldn’t run, and an hour later I would feel fine again.

The body seemed to be in control of the situation – the spirit was willing, but the flesh replied, “No deal pal.” So then, feeling even guiltier for not running, I would get angry with the body for being an indolent goldbricker, that only wanted to stuff its face with confections, and swore that tomorrow would be different.

It wasn’t.

This listen-to-your-body routine went on for a while until I finally decided to just go out and run, and of course when I got home I felt fine; a little stiff and sore from missing so many consecutive days of not running, but I felt the runner’s glow, and more importantly, I was now back in control. A couple of days later my sulking body came down with a case of shin splints. But I’ve been down this well-marked street before. I’ve had knee pain, back pain, foot pain – all the classic excuses a body makes to get out of exercise. It doesn’t work.

Almost all of this pain is in my mind – not really in my mind, it’s in my body, but it’s a manifestation of my mind, through stress, in league with my body to get out of roadwork. I’ve come to the conclusion that almost all pain is in one’s mind. I know, tell that to the guy who just got hit in the head with a sledgehammer. I’m not talking about that kind of pain, I’m talking about the aches and pain mentioned above.

Stress can play tricks on you – it does it to me all the time. My body tries to trick me into thinking I can’t do things like exercise, but the old “aches and pains” routine doesn’t work anymore. So it has moved on to making me think I’m coming down with something (i.e. flu, common cold, 24 hour bubonic plague), but I’m getting better at detecting these impostors. I’ve never been a stress-leads-to-ulcers person either. Those guys who constantly chew Tums or some other antacid – that just isn’t me, and my stomach knows better than to even try it.

I’ve been accused in some circles of being too low-stressed and laid back (perhaps even a Type-Z personality) – so much so that I should be asleep, or even dead, according to these people. But I feel stress, I really do.

But these general feelings of malaise, they still fool me. Hopefully it’s nothing. And maybe that’s my problem, I don’t worry about things enough. Some would tell me to go and visit the doctor at the first sign of something. Why? To invest in more worry? To be probed, prodded, tapped with one of those small rubber tomahawks? Be depressed by one of those tongue depressors?

It’s too stressful just visiting those places – I’m getting sick just thinking about it.

From A Memoir of Most of It

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