Coping with illness anxiety

It’s the Saturday before Christmas as I’m writing this.

My presents have all been delivered to work because it was definitely where I was going to be last week, except I wasn’t. Sorry family and friends, you may not be getting that homemade marmalade I know you were so anticipating…

On Saturday morning I felt very ill. Obviously convinced it was the merry Malbec but sadly it was not the hangover from hell.

Dan was feeling sorry for me at the start (it has now dwindled into nothingness) probably due to the fact he was slightly hungover and hungry as I’d been in Bath since Thursday.

By Sunday it was just getting worse and that wave of emotional sickness washed over me. Am I going to be able to go to work tomorrow?

Time to have that internal conversation for the next four hours regarding what to do as I slowly dive further into the anxiety pool I filled with my own tears. The blow up doughnut rubber ring floating away in the distance? That’s my voice of reason. Always there when I need her. Thank you darling.

Becoming unsatisfied with my own thoughts on the subject I talk Dan through every possible senario of what may or may not happen if I don’t go in. Not that my job isn’t important but the reality is I don’t need to perform life saving surgery on someone tomorrow so I think everyone will be just fine. Probably couldn’t do that with the flu though either, could you? 

If you do suffer with anxiety and your partner does not, it can end in a falling out. They just can’t quite understand why what they’re saying isn’t making anything better and also why we have to go through this, again.

Thoughts that usually fall from my brain and out of my mouth sound like the following:

“Well I’m not being sick”, “It’s probably just a cold”, “I don’t want to let anyone down”, “perhaps I’ll piss people off” and “will they all be assessing how ill they actually think I am”.

Dan replies as the ultimate speaker of truth (as always) – “Kirstie no one’s going to be pissed off, they will be if they catch it. It really doesn’t matter.”

That loosely translates to “Kirstie, I’m going to start getting pissed off if you keep going on and about it, it doesn’t matter can I please have a shower in peace now.”

Deep down we all know it really doesn’t matter and everything is going to be ok. If only the anxious mind was quite so reasonable.

Illness anxiety is a fairly odd scenario but I think a large percentage of us are sufferers. Since when did we become ashamed of not being immune to every virus there is going?

We have such thing about just getting on with it. I love that about us Brits but when it comes to our health we should listen to our bodies. They are so much more intelligent than us.

Phrases like “sweat it out”, “you’ll feel better once you’re up and about” or “work hard play hard” persuades us to carry on pushing through even when it hurts and you end up being as snappy as I am short.

If you are struggling with accepting that you being at work isn’t ideal right now, perhaps having a think about some of the things below might help you reason with your very unreasonable self.

Do you honestly think you could carry out an effective and productive days work right now? 

If the answer is no, your employer would probably rather not pay you. Or would rather pay you sick if it means you’re not hanging around the fridge telling everyone how ill you are and making loud sighing noises (just me then).

If you work for yourself can you really say anything you do will be to the best of your ability? If the answers no it’s time to head off to Bedfordshire.

You may save someone else the illness and contain it! You bloody hero. 

We all know there are rules when it comes with certain types of sickness but what about the ones like flu, colds and migraines. As humans we can’t cope without clear guidelines telling us how long to have off work and end up having to judge our own wellbeing which we are not good at. Which is funny really, because we are definitely the most qualified to do so.

I’m fully aware that not everyone gets paid sick pay, or can afford to take time off but if you can, you’ll probably only spend a few days feeling crappy instead of a whole week if you’d worked your way through it. Perhaps your employer would let you use a holiday day or you could work an extra shift to make up for the lost hours? People may be more understanding than you think and if you don’t ask, you won’t get.

Sometimes you need to put yourself first and there’s no shame in that

You are not weak for giving in to the fact you need a day of resting whether it’s for your brain or body. Our employers have a responsibility to take care of us in the work place and we have a responsibility to take care of ourselves too which also means calling time when we’re struggling. Without good health it can be pretty hard to work. Put you first, the rest can wait.

EVERYONE gets ill from time to time

I honestly can’t think of anyone who has never been unwell. There are so many viruses and bateria all over the show it’s likely that from time to time you’ll pick something up. I did learn the other day however kissing is one of the least effective ways to spread the flu virus so great news, not that my factoid persuaded Dan to come within an inch of me.

Please don’t let yourself sit at home hyperventilating about the fact that you’re not going into work tomorrow. Try and be kind and discuss with yourself why this is the right thing to do.

Hopefully, like me, you’re lucky enough to work for/with kind humans. People are more understanding that your brain sometimes tells you and if they’re not? Well poor them for being such meanies.

It’s time to say farewell to illness anxiety and hello to self care.

Now was this post really about illness anxiety or just 1099 words of reminding you I’ve been ill? I guess we’ll never know.

Lots of love,

K x




  1. December 23, 2019 / 10:49 am

    I needed to read this today, thank you girl! These tips help a lot and also, your style of writing is so engaging 💓

    • Kirstiestillpetite
      December 23, 2019 / 6:41 pm

      Thank you so much lovely that means so much to me! I’m so glad you liked it and it could help in some way ❤️

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