A case of the shoulds


It has been a handful of strange days since the last post. The ongoing breathing/energy situation, meant I took up the doctor’s offer of getting in touch. Cue a quick chest exam and a new course of treatment. Part of that medical cocktail included a brief course of steroids. The good news is they seem to have helped dispel the infection and settle my breathing.

Now, if you’re someone who needs a bounce in their step, maybe an extra five hours in the day, and a very healthy appetite, those tablets should be your drug of choice. However, those five hours really kick in after 11pm. So, if you need to be up at 7ish for the school run and work, perhaps with the ability to focus for more than five minutes, maybe not so much 🙂 Still, I have enjoyed reading in bed by torchlight.

On Sunday, the Ever Lovely Mrs J suggested calling in sick if things didn’t change. It was a little after I listened, that the ‘Shoulds’ kicked in. I should be at work if I can read a book; I should be flat out in bed if I’m ill; if I can use my phone, I should answer my work emails, etc. Luckily there’s not been a price increase to self generated guilt, so there’s that at least. 🙂 But, I’ve batted such things aside and as much as the Guilt Monster taps at the door, I’m not answering. So, I’m currently off work.

It seems time away is required because I just can’t concentrate on anything with detail. Make your own jokes about this blog and the usual writing quality 😉 Gags aside, reflecting on an article about illness and our lost art of convalesce, Mrs J’s words were accurate, wise, and kind.

I thought back to the previous weeks in which I felt the emotional fuel tank was running on fumes. I needed to give myself time to recover. Not just ‘not be ill’, but come back to feeling well again. To regain my health and be fit – fit as in out of the steroid/tiredness brain fog. The dark irony of returning too quickly means A) you are not fully well (so everything is more difficult), and B) you put yourself at risk of becoming ill again.

It’s funny the inner dialogue I have and how much I forget to practice that all important be kind to yourself. I absolutely don’t say that as some type of ‘oh, I am sooo selfless!’ BS. But as someone who listens a bit too much to Radio Should and it’s seemingly endless list of things that matter…. but, really, no, no they don’t. Some are background noise that when I do them, seem on reflection, validating. If I was properly informed perhaps I’d call them ‘core beliefs’. E.g. when I work extra hours, I’m a good employee or if the house is tidy, that’s how it’s supposed to look. But such things aren’t actually what’s needed in life.

Perhaps when it comes to health – physical and mental – I need to remember that it’s okay to cut myself some slack. That and just maybe, ignore the Shoulds and feel what my body is telling me. Ignore the inner judgement and come back to some self care. Maybe then I’ll be back to my usual self and might be useful at work. But hey, let’s not shoot for the moon 😉

L x


  1. And I thought steroids were just for keeping a stair carpet in place! :-p

    I’m so sorry to hear that this lousy sickness you’ve got keeps on going but it sounds like you’ve made the right choice. There’s too much guilt about being off work sick and I wish I’d had the guts to take more time off when I was an employee and didn’t feel too good. Hope it clears up quickly now. But now you’ve made the decision to recover properly, take it nice and easy. Look through some online dressy shopping sites – that’ll cheer you up! 🙂

    Best wishes, Sue x

    1. Ha ha! That didn’t half make me chuckle. 😁 Thanks Sue.

      I guess it’s because I’ve built up this story that if you’re ill, you’re in bed, flat out, and not doing anything. I am still doing the school runs for Child 2. Usually, Mrs J and I would share that, but she’s been signed off poorly. I think it’s me confusing being able to walk to the car and back as being fully fit: it isn’t.

      Plus, I remember the advice of the GP who helped me with my depression, bless him. He looked me square in the eye and said kindly: “Mr Jones, if you are not physically or mentally healthy for work, do not go in.”.

      Maybe it’s time to put the guilt aside, and focus on recovering. Otherwise, I think things will drag on…. and not the fabulous type of drag either. 🙂

  2. We all need to beware that nagging guilt of feeling that we must return to work as soon as _and too often sooner – than we are really able just because we are not actually confined to bed.
    I admit to being as bad, and often, worse than anyone, but it’s not fair to yourself, or even your colleagues, if you flake out in middle of the day.
    Perhaps a more reasonable question to ask yourself than ‘can I get into work?’ might be ‘am I sure I will be well enough to get home at the end of the day?’
    Take care of yourself

    1. Hmm. I think if I look at the idea of being physically present at work and having to travel in, the answer is a very quick no. That really helps, so thank you.

      I guess the catch, if you will, is I’m confusing being able to rest, sat on t sofa, with being able to work from the same place. It may be the same location, but the level of thought required is completely different.

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