Being diseased

I’ve made some considerable effort not to get covid – I wear masks when I can (I get panic attacks so sometimes I can’t wear them). I’m vaccinated. I stay out of crowds and I don’t do much indoor stuff with people. But here we are, and it is in me and has been in me for a few days.

At this point there are no legal requirements for me to behave in any specific way. There is only advice, like working from home if I can. Little wonder that I have it. Part of the problem here is that we have a fundamentally broken system when it comes to work. We expect people to go to work when they are ill – spreading diseases of all kinds, and slowing recovery. Working when ill is horrible. The person who can just take a few days off and rest will recover faster. But, a lot of workplaces will punish you for doing that. Most people can’t afford to be unpaid or to lose their jobs over taking care of their health.

I feel grim, but not as grim as other things have made me feel in recent years. I’m very tired, but I was very tired anyway so it’s hard to know if this is new and extra very tired, or pre-existing very tired. My concentration is rubbish, but it’s mostly been rubbish this year.

I’m looking at how body stressors add to my experiences of panic. I’m starting to think that my panic experiences aren’t just silly things happening in my head for no reason, and that panic might be what my body does when it starts to feel dangerously under-resourced. I’m usually the first person to assume I’m making a fuss and taking a thing far too seriously, but here I am with covid and it is by no means the most ill I have felt this year. 

What if the panic isn’t an over-reaction? What if the panic isn’t something I need to learn how to control, but a genuine and reasonable response to hazards? What if the problem is one of being under-resourced, not one of just making a fuss? Everything I’ve encountered on the mental health side assumes that panic is an over-reaction, and that the problem is the panicking, not whatever caused it. Last week I had panic attacks caused by being in more body pain than I could take. Maybe the fact of the panicking isn’t the problem here. Maybe I’m not just making a fuss over nothing, and maybe that’s even relevant when the things going on are more about mental health as well.

About Nimue Brown

Druid, author, dreamer, folk enthusiast, parent, polyamourous animist, ant-fash, anti-capitalist, bisexual steampunk. Drinker of coffee, maker of puddings. Exploring life as a Pagan, seeking good and meaningful ways to be, struggling with mental health issues and worried about many things. View all posts by Nimue Brown

6 responses to “Being diseased

  • Unicorn Dreaming

    Hope you feel better soon.. sending you much love.. Fiona 💛🌻💛

  • potiapitchford

    From another house of covid wishing you rest and a swift recovery.
    On the panic front there is always a reason for increased anxiety and panic, working out what that is and if it is a reasonable response for your own situation is not easy. I hate the assumptions that such things are the brain over reacting, brains react for reasons due to a range of factors. It’s working out the reasons that’s hard and then deciding how much is currently reasonable to your own situation.

  • contemplativeinquiry

    Best wishes for a good recovery Nimue!

  • Christopher Blackwell

    Had an early form of COVID 19, March two years ago, no tests then, and still no anti-body test in my area. Could not do much of anything the first week, slowly recovered the second week. Just closed shop. Later while checking something in my right lung, a needles biopsy showed scar tissue. Fortunately breathing not impaired.

    Getting older so do have panic attacks and periods of confusion. Some case low blood sugar, those under stood, as a diabetic. however other times for unknown reasons. At age 76, nearly 77, that can be worrisome. How much is normal at my age and how much should I worry about it, so more things for my doctors to try to figure out and see if it can be treated.

    I watched a very close friend slip away as lack of lung capacity damaged first his heart and then his brain for seventeen years. Medications delaid his death but cured nothing.

    I am just about his age with fourteen medications each, some twice a day. None of them cure anything. What we call a health care system here in the States is basically an illness and disability maintenance system. But not ready to kick the bucket, life still has somethings that I am interested in. A small brown bird with a curved beak has just laid the third batch of four little blue eggs this season in a nest in my Cholla Catus. The nest was built last year, first ever in the Cholla Catus.

    So my world is mostly my little shop/home and the front yard of my 3.75 acres. It has been a few years since I have walked the rest of it. Planning to have it surveyed and have three metal fence post tall enough to I can see where the boundary is. Just boundary markers, no fence planned as it would get in the way of the local wildlife that share this land with, and also the cattle from the nearby ranch. Nice to have the space and share it with the local critters.

  • karenenneagram

    So much to say, and I need to sleep (health reasons!) so just this for now: you’ve rightly in the past said that mental un-health labels are unhelpful, specifically when they spread fear about it – for example when a murder is blamed on mental un-health – which might be true, and is unhelpful. Likewise with panic…. which is always labelled ‘panic attack’. It’s true there are for some people times when the amygdala et al over-react and a ‘panic attack’ happens. Actual panic looks different, though it might cause an ‘attack’. It needs to be paid attention to, not swept under the label carpet. This week two of my toes turned blue and went numb…. I’ve been waiting 2 months for medical attention, not going to A&E, not making a fuss, because I had an appointment for today. I panicked. I didn’t have a panic attack; but I did have panic. Something is badly wrong, my body told me. And I didn’t know what to do. Just like one would panic if physical disaster were happening. Simon helped and it’s ok and I’m now getting treatment…. treatment I could have had 2 months ago if I’d ‘made a fuss’. I needed it then, just as much as I need it now, but I endured. My friend said ‘Told you so.’.
    Genuine panic is not a ‘panic attack’ nor a mental health issue. It’s a signal.

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