I used to think I was pretty tough. My stomach could take whatever I threw into it. I didn't get sick much, and when I did it was just my semi-annual sinus infection that annoyed me but didn't put me in bed or anything. I've never been the strongest or fastest, but I haven't been one to complain about carrying my share either. I have often felt like I could walk everywhere forever and still be fine even if I avoid running.
I'm someone with a surprising amount of confidence in my body to do what I need it to do and well. I am guilty of rarely pushing it very far, but it has taken good care of me for upwards of twenty years.
But lately (in the last year or so), I feel betrayed. I don't know what could be the cause. I get sick, and it's bad. I spend time feeling not so great without being out and out sick. I've always bruised easily, but it is out of control. Where are they coming from? I drop weight without noticing any changes in my other habits, and then I struggle to get it back. I sleep for 12 hours and still feel tired. In the past few months, I've been waking up in the night more than I ever remember doing.
Maybe it's the stress and anxiety of uncertainty. The problem with this theory is I don't feel that stress or anxiety. Sure, I don't know if or when I'll find a real job or what that will mean, but I feel more excited about the possibilities or frustrated depending on the day than stressed. However, it has been pointed out to me that the very fact I don't feel stress could be why it comes out in ulcers and chest pains. Who knows what else it could be doing?
But how do I eliminate stress I don't feel? How do I make myself stop worrying about things I'm not aware of worrying about?
I used to think I had a body that would tolerate and thrive with whatever food, activity and sleep I gave it. Now I think I have a body that demands to be taken care of. If I don't eat properly and regularly, it's going to bruise, or have hair fall out or get sick.
I miss being tough, but maybe if I take good care of myself, I can be that way again. It's tempting to say, "when I get a real job and am living on my own and have a regular schedule it'll be so much easier." That's probably all true, but it doesn't mean I shouldn't do it now. It makes it hard to feel like myself when I can't rely on my body. That bothers me more than any of this pain or irritation.