Mental Illness, Perspective


Sitting in the driver’s seat of the idling car, waiting for the bus to return my children, I stared at the barren landscape and felt a piercing pull at the point when my left sinus emptied into my throat. It’s just a twinge, I thought. It doesn’t mean I will get sick. If I neti-pot the hell out of it and force fluids, I won’t get sick.

But the pierce persists and I know that as soon as I noticed it, I was done for. Because despite my best preventative measures, my psyche had already talked my body into succumbing to the germs, urging them to multiply and prosper.

When my husband returns from work, we greet by way of hug and I linger there. He kneads (some of) the tension from the inner corners of the upper quadrants of my back. The next morning, the sore throat is worse. Throughout the day, my nose starts running and the body aches begin. I blame him for releasing the toxins into my system, but let him squeeze more out.

Cranky and congested, I don’t go to bed early, thinking, what’s the point. I can’t breathe when I lie down anyway. My husband really knows something is wrong when I arise after the first ring of the alarm – for the same reason I didn’t retire early.

I feel better when I’m forced to socialize at the bus stop and preschool drop-off, but seem even worse when I’m back to my miserable cocoon in the car, sneezing and snorking and cringing. Did I feel better because interacting took my mind off my ailments or off its nefarious plans to infect me further?

My mother has told me repeatedly I’m my own worst enemy – in the most loving, instructive way possible. Apparently, I have not learned the lesson.

How does one shut off the tap of postnasal drip and negative thoughts?

And the song running through my head since that first moment at the bus stop? “Breathe” by The Prodigy. No, the irony does not escape me.

(Warning – video may be more disturbing than the description of my mucus malady)



7 thoughts on “Psychosomatic

  1. Little Mighty says:

    I hate getting a cold; especially in the spring. Hope you feel better soon. Gets lots of rest, if that is possible and drink plenty of fluids. You’re right about the video. You just have to feel better than they do; they’re hideous.


  2. I somatisize my stress and anxiety like nobody’s business: migraines, two stomach ulcers, back pain, and the mother of all, psychogenic non-epileptic seizures. The last were what caused me to truly understand what psychosomatic illnesses are — and to not belittle my own or anyone else’s.

    I hope by the time you are reading this (I am reading this), you are feeling lots better. Or at least marginally?

    Take care of yourself.


  3. Jennifer Butler Basile says:

    Marginally 😉

    I never knew how true an utterance that was of my mother’s! In so many ways.

    Thanks for understanding 🙂


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s