For four days I did the same thing over and over out of necessity. I slept in and then stayed curled up in bed. On occasion I would transfer to the couch and fall asleep again. I’m always astounded by how quick I become used to being sick. It becomes my normal, my routine. I get entrenched in the monotony and forget it hasn’t always been like this.
I start to wonder if I’m still sick or if I’ve just gotten used to doing next to nothing. It takes less than a week to adapt to feeling powerless, but every ounce of self-discipline you can muster to get your power back again.
They keep captive baby elephants in place with rope. One end tied around their ankle and the other attached to a huge spike. They can pull with all their strength, but they’re never going to uproot it. So they learn the limits of their power and they stop trying. The rest of their lives, that spike can be any size and the elephants will never try to pull their way to freedom. They learned when they were young that they couldn’t. Learned helplessness.
Throughout my life I have and will encounter tougher situations than getting back up after a week sick in bed. But the strategy is always the same, isn’t it? You have to do something that you believe you can’t. And to do that you somehow have to believe you can before you are provided any proof.
You do it anyway. Though every cell in your system wants to lie dormant. Though every breath you take feels labored and shakes heavy. You clench your teeth hard and you put your feet on the damn floor and you get up again.