There’s a lot written about how grief affects the mind. 5 stages of grief, types of counseling. It’s easy to forget that things that affect the mind also affect the body. I don’t know about you, but all my various health issues often cause me to think about my body in the third person, as something separate from the ‘real’ me. I don’t believe that’s particularly healthy, but, you know, work in progress.
This was brought home to me recently by a bad cold.
My husband gets sick more often than I do. He works in an office with people who can’t remember to stay home when they’re sick (very liberal work from home policy) and he rides the germ-ridden DC metro twice a day. I work from home, giving my immune system many fewer trials.
Two weeks ago my husband brought a particularly nasty cold home from a conference. He was sick several days and we held off any kissing and he’s good about hand washing and corralling his tissue pile, and I went about my business as usual.
Then my sweet kitty got sick. I took her to the emergency vet thinking ‘gastroenteritis’ but it turned out to be poisoning from advanced kidney disease with no reasonable treatment options. I can not clearly express the depth of my shock. She was her normal, happy self only two days earlier, and then she was gone.
And by the next evening, I was sick.
Now it’s entirely possible that I was going to catch it anyway, but I don’t think so. I haven’t had a full on respiratory infection in nearly 10 years, since I fixed my asthma and allergies by giving up dairy.
So the next time grief comes into your life, remember to be kind to yourself, not just emotionally, but also physically.