My greatest fear is a fantasy

Faking being sick so hard I get dozens of painful injections several times a year.

I started doing really well earlier this summer and had several weeks where I was able to do at least some work every single day. Then an environmental trigger I have no control over happened and I got stuck in bed again for more than 2 weeks.

I’m slowly, slowly coming out of this cycle of migraine attacks. Days where I’m well enough to be up, to listen to an audiobook, to sit outside or go for a gentle walk, where I can exercise if I plan to sleep for the rest of day. I feel like I need to go back to work as soon as I’m able to be upright, but I feel so tired and sluggish and the pain begins to increase if I sit up for any length of time or look at a computer screen for long, or even keep any kind of mental focus on a problem.

I hate these interruptions. I lose my sense of flow, I have to rebuild my motivation, it takes tedious, precious time to reorient myself in my work.

The days I’m well enough to be out of bed but not well enough to work are in some ways harder than the days when I’m absolutely too sick to do anything. I feel incredible guilt and anguish and fear. Why am I not working? Am I lazy? Do I fake my illness so I can lie around doing nothing? Because I like listening to novels more than I like analysing data? If I was a real scientist, I’d want to work no matter how I felt, I’d push myself to work no matter how I felt.

This week I realized that these fears are a fantasy. Not just a fantasy in the sense that they aren’t real, but a fantasy in the sense that I want them to be true. If I were lazy and undisciplined and self-sabatoging, I could fix that. I can’t fix being sick.

Believing I’m lazy is a fantasy about being well.


  1. F says:

    As someone who is in a migraine dissociative haze herself at the moment and trying to figure out how much of the soreness on her head is that, or the neuralgia, or the Botox injections from Thursday (my first round! I am… disoriented, to say the least, though optimistic.), YES. ALL OF THIS.

    I couldn’t agree any harder if I tried. Sitting here going “Maybe it’s not that bad, maybe I am just faking it, somehow… since birth… but maybe it really is just faking it! Maybe it doesn’t hurt, actually, or I’ve just convinced myself” is such a sweeter lie to swallow than another goddamn triptan while bracing yourself for the face-burning and wondering whether the allodynia is too set in for the damn meds to work at this point. ‘Cause as you said so well, it means we are somehow choosing this, and it’s in our control… as opposed to not within our control.

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