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Not in power

Last Sunday, I was not feeling good. I was down since very morning and the fact that I had a free day with my kids, no duties and beautiful sunny winter outside made it only worse.

Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash

It was exactly that kind of a day when one should jump happily out of bed straight to snow drifts and just enjoy winter – building snowmen, sledging, snowballing, smiling, having joy and fun.

I was feeling clear oppposite. I wanted to stay in bed, not move, not speak and cry.

After cleaning half of the apartment with the idea that it might help, I got so tired and was so out of energy that I just cooked spaghetti for me and my two girls, put pesto inside, cheese up and after eating it, I unrolled a futon on the floor next to our kitchen table and I layed down on it with a deep sigh. Girls left to the room to prepare Christmas gifts.

I fell asleep for a while and when I woke up, the feeling hasn´t changed. I stayed laid, eyes still closed. Maybe I should explain this to the kids, I thought. But what should I tell them? Half sleeping, half daydreaming, I was imagining my older daughter being with her mum saying: „Mum, I dont want to go to my father´s any more. He is just lying down and does not take us anywhere…“ This image alarmed me a bit and I opened my eyes.

Suddenly my daughter came out of the room.

„Dori, hey, uh, I am not…“

„…feeling OK, I know“ she jumped into my speech and left to the bathroom.

When she came back, I continued: „You know, I am sorry for that, it is not any big deal, I am just not feeling very good, if you know what I mean, and I am quite tired...“

She looked at me a little confused as if she doesn´t get why am I telling her this and then she said „I wish you are healthy again soon,“ and continued back to the room.

I realized that she has not asked me anything about what´s wrong with me and immediately two competing explanations emerged. The first was a bit destructive: Maybe she doesn´t care? The second was a constructive one: Well, maybe she does not need to know. Her father is not feeling good, that´s it. It happens. She hears it and respects it.

Anyway, I was glad I did not have to explain. My honest explanation would have to be quite complex, reaching from self-debilitating and self-humilitating thoughts, worries around next week, to feelings of shame and loneliness, and I am not sure where this sharing could take us and whether it would be good for my daughters and me.

The statement „I am not feeling ok“ usually provokes worries and questions (What´s wrong? Where does it hurt? Do you have a fever?) and if they are answered by „nothing“, „no“ or „I don´t know“, it sounds weird and a bit suspicious. It only increases the worries on one side and deepens the feelings of shame and guilt on the other. It implicitly means that I don´t have any good reason for lying on the floor.

In Czech language, the word for „disease“ is „nemoc“ and it literally means „not in power“. Yes, I definitely was not in power. But it would be strange to say that because we use it only when observable medical conditions are in place – viroses, flu, headache. If we are sad or down or just bad, we do not say that we have „nemoc“.

This also applies for „disease“. Why should we use it only when we are not „at ease“ due to observable medical reasons? Why couldn´t we use it also in situations when we are not feeling ok with ourselves? When our inner dialogue leads us to nowhere or to the darkness? When we feel pain but cannot specify the exact place where does it hurt? When we feel weighed down by a large stone but there is no stone around? When our hearts are burning but there is no fire inside?

At those times, we are definitely not in power and not at ease. Unfortunately, there is no doctor who would sign a sick note after we tell him or her that we do not feel good. They would have to do some examination. But how to examine our power-ness or ease-ness? How can anyone else than me confirm that I am not in power or not at ease right now?

Being self-employed, I have a great privilige that I do not have to prove it to any boss but there are so many people who have to keep going in their jobs and commitments even if they are not at ease and not in power because there are no tests to prove it.

That Sunday, I finally got better – I could at least turn on my computer and write down a first sketch of this blog post. As soon as my feelings and thoughts started to pop up on screen, I slowly started to feel more energy, trust in myself and lust for life. I was in power again.

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