Monday, March 25, 2013

Guilt Over a Sick Day

A couple of weeks ago I was plagued with a cold. I joked with my family that I had contracted the bubonic plague, that's how awful I felt. I stayed home as much as possible so as not to potentially sicken anyone else and to give my body time to recover. I was out of work for two days, and I'm pretty sure I slept for a good 20 hours during that time off. The cold lingered for about a week, and before I knew it, I was back to feeling normal.

But you know what happened during those two days off? Guilt.

I was one of those strange children who didn't want to miss school. I never faked sick. I felt guilty for missing school. In high school, the only time I missed was for "mental health days." My parents agreed to let me have a "mental health day" a couple of times each year to rest as long as I kept my grades up. I'm pretty sure that they allowed this because I would run myself down. I didn't stop: classes, part-time job, internship, extracurriculars. I just had to keep going.

So I missed two days of work from being sick... and I felt guilty for missing work. There were two days of no productivity. Two days of backed up e-mails, to-do lists not getting accomplished, projects that needed attention. And where was I? In bed or on the couch beating myself up for being sick.

Of course, during that time, I also didn't work on school work. A seperate vicious cycle of panic rushed through me as I thought about everything that needed to get done for school that just wasn't getting attention. Instead, I was focusing on myself, getting myself better so I could hit the ground running on all that needed to be done done done. And I felt guilty for being home and not at least getting school work done.

Am I the only person who feels guilty for missing a day of work because of sickness?

There's a part two to this coming in a few days. Stay tuned.

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