I’m sitting on my couch right now, with a sleeve of saltines on my left and a bottle of Gatorade on my right. I’m wearing pajama pants, a T-shirt, a sweatshirt, a bathrobe, a Snuggie, and slippers, and I’m still cold. I’m intermittently stretching my legs because of random muscle spasms which are causing my toes to literally curl, a sure sign my body is running low on fluids.
Yes, dear reader, this is the onset of a stomach bug.
I’ve had many of these throughout my life, and I feel as if in 40 years I’ve learned a thing or two about what I need to do when I feel one coming on. Hence, the saltines and Gatorade. As the old saying goes, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so I’m taking things extra-easy this evening and not tempting fate by chowing down on, say, a pizza or a cheeseburger. Will it stave off the worst? Eh, maybe, maybe not. It’s at least worth a shot, though.
It’s amazing the things I am willing to give up to avoid a negative physical outcome for myself. It is also quite astounding the things I am unwilling to give up on a daily basis which can drag down my mood. It’s as if I’ve elevated my body to a greater stature than my mind, which really doesn’t make much sense since I am a relatively healthy person physically who has been diagnosed with a type of depression. You’d think I would at least be willing to give them equal importance.
Just look at me right now (Well, imagine me right now.). I’m pulling out at least most of the stops to avoid getting sick. In addition, I take a multivitamin and a fish oil pill every day. I exercise when I can, although I’ve been slacking a little in that department lately. I try to avoid sugar as much as I can. I don’t exactly treat my body like a shrine, but I at least try to take care of myself.
Perhaps the most radical thing I’ve ever done in this regard is cutting out drinking caffeine several years ago. I was having severe headaches and having to get up several times a night to go to the bathroom. I eventually traced the cause of both to drinking caffeine, so I knew I needed to stop drinking beverages which contained high amounts of it. Instead of doing the logical thing and scaling back, however, I just quit cold turkey. And it hurt. Basically three days of intense caffeine withdrawal and headaches … but I made it, and I haven’t looked back since.
Consider, though, all the things I have not been that diligent about concerning my mental upkeep. I am very spotty with my thought journals. I stay on the internet too much. I jump to the worst case scenario too often. I don’t get as much sunlight as I should. I complain more than I ought to, sometimes because I fall in line with complaints brought to me and sometimes because I originate them. All those cognitive thinking exercises I’ve learned? They get tossed out the window on a regular basis.
Why, then, don’t I start treating my mind like my body?
It makes all kinds of sense, when you think about it. If I had a heart disease, I’d alter my diet, keep an eye on my cholesterol, and do whatever else it took to keep it at bay. So I have a form of depression known as Chronic Depressive Disorder. Why wouldn’t I take any measure necessary to reduce its effects as well? I have my theories, but that’s another discussion for another time. I have a tremendous fear of being seen as selfish, but no one else is going to do this for me. Just like what I put into my body is my decision, what I put into my brain falls along the same lines.
Will I be sick in the morning? I don’t know. I did my best tonight to not be, though. Can I say the same for my mind?