Are you really sick?

Source image: The Sick Child I (1896) by Edvard Munch.

Do you ever feel like, you’re sick,

really sick,

but not really,

but maybe you are?

Or you tell yourself,

you can’t be sick,

you can’t get sick, or else…

or else what?

Little sniffles here and there.

They’re allergies, you tell yourself.

But they occasionally get worse, at certain times,

flipping back and forth,

confusing you,

tempting you,

telling you,

you are not sick.

You just want to be sick.

Just call it in.

Your head is pounding.

It stops.

Then you’re heart pounds.

Then it’s gone…

lost in sleep,

lost in good food.

But they come back.

They come back to haunt you.

You’re nose is stuck.

Your throat constricts.

You start coughing,

coughing out fatigue,




How soon is death approaching?


Don’t think.


Drown in sleep.

We’ll see, tomorrow.

You’re walking down the hallways,

with a smile,

bottling up, containing

a looming shadow, a vaccum,

a thickening lethargy.

Temporary success,

Temporary joy,

hugs you,

for an hour, or two,

or maybe for only ten minutes.

You wonder how long…

before it slips through your fingertips.

One light on,

One light off.

You need to keep marching,



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4 thoughts on “Are you really sick?

Add yours

  1. This is beautifully written and very relatable, and I feel it applies to illnesses of both the mental and physical variety. Sometimes one can be caught hoping for illness just for a chance to take a step back, although majority if the times it is the battle between illness and productivity.

    1. The battle between illnesses and productivity, I like that! There’s so much to unpack between the 2. As a teacher, I constantly feel this tug between wanting and not wanting to get sick 😂

      1. The two are always at loggerheads it seems! How unfortunate is it that people want to get sick simply to take a step back! But things are changing and we’re slowly moving away from toxic hustle culture into the self care realm, or so it seems

  2. Or so it seems indeed. Not sure if you heard of this movement in China about young professionals just “lying flat”?

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