The “I Feel Better” Curse

We’ve all been asked after a bout of illness “how are you feeling now”, “Are you better”, “Back to normal yet”, and many of us answer with a simple “I feel better”. For your average person who just got over a case of the flu, these words are praiseworthy; but for a chronic illness warrior these are some fightin’ words. It feels as though every time I speak those 3 words I am tempting fate, like saying “Bloody Mary” in front of a mirror. Last week during one of my most terrible weeks for pain yet, I made the mistake of using those words. After leaving the emergency room my mother called to see if their treatment had worked, and silly old me used those 3 fateful words to reassure her that her baby was ok. Within half an hour of the drive home from the emergency room the pain had returned tenfold. I was crying from pain the rest of the ride home and after I slowly worked my way to my room with the help of my friend, who had been driving me around all day, I slumped into my bed with every icepack I own running down the right side of my body. I had cursed myself, but really this ending was an inevitable outcome from the poor treatment I had just received. The true problems of this curse lie in a second feature. On “good days” or “low pain” days, we tell ourselves “I feel better” and that can be the worst thing to tell yourself when you’re too stubborn to pace your activity level as well as your physical energy,  and your mental energy. “I feel better” can be a trick to us spoonies, and can lead to severe energy deficits, flare ups of our illnesses, and a multitude of other problems. And the worst part is having friends and loved ones come to you after you’ve over done it and ask “But you were so great yesterday, why aren’t you ok today?” or the hollowing “We had plans, you said the other day you were feeling better. How could you let me down like this?”. Therein lies the true curse of “I feel better”; in the words of Admiral Akbar “IT’S A TRAP!!!”. So when you feel like using those three beautiful words that you pray will last forever, remember to pace yourself and anticipate physical reactions if you just got over a mysterious illness like I had.


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