Calling in sick…

sick day

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Many of us former Christian Scientists talk about the many stupid little habits or thought patterns that frame aspects of our lives that come from our time in Christian Science. Perfectionism is one of the big ones–for some, including myself at times, it gets so bad that we’ll waste inordinate amounts of time perfecting even the smallest detail of whatever task we’re working on, even if it really doesn’t matter that every single ‘i’ is dotted or ‘t’ crossed. 

As I commented on a thread in a Facebook group, I was reminded of another stupid thought process that I and many others still deal with: feeling guilty when I call in sick to work. Often, when I call in sick, I feel a weird sense of guilt–like I’m doing something wrong, or I’ve screwed something up somehow. It’s stupid, I know. I’m human; I get sick. It’s a part of life, and every normal person knows that. However, a lifetime of having “sickness is not real, it’s an illusion of error or mortal mind…” drilled into me, makes me unable to accept the naturalness of simply being sick.

My employer doesn’t care. They know that being sick is part of life. That’s why we have sick days. Now, if I’m out more than three days, I need a doctor’s note, but there’s nothing wrong with that. I work at a front-line social services agency, and honestly, I’m not doing anybody any favours by coming in to work sick. Many of our clientele live on the streets and/or deal with addictions–all factors that contribute to compromised immune systems. The last thing any of them need is for me to give them the flu because I was trying to ‘demonstrate’ that sickness is some sort of mortal illusion! If I’m sick, my employer wants me to stay home, rest, and look after myself, and not pass anything contagious to others. That’s just best practice in life.

Deep down, I know there is nothing wrong with being sick; I know I haven’t done anything wrong by being sick and staying home; and I’m not screwing my employer. But, I just can’t help these stupid thoughts sometimes. Thanks a lot, Christian Science!

9 thoughts on “Calling in sick…

  1. A friend of mine jokingly calls me Typhoid Mary because of all the illnesses I’ve spread because I was too scared of going to the doctor to get a simple antibiotic. I don’t mind calling in sick, but go to the doctor? No way. I’m too scared.

    • It’s hard to strike that balance between going to the doctor when you need to or being too ‘tough’ or stoic, and ‘toughing’ it out; or on the other end of the spectrum, running to the doctor for every little thing that crops up. Many of us who’ve left Christian Science find it a challenge to achieve that balance. I’m still working on it. I too often tough things out longer than I should, and fear also comes into the equation for me as well.

  2. I know that feeling of having to be “perfect”, at every moment of the day or night. It really is so completely unnatural, and when you continue to push yourself in that direction, year after year, it really puts you out of touch with yourself, the normal and natural way of just being yourself, and doing the best that you can.

    You know, it’s what I would call “absolutism”, the idea that everything can “only” be “one” way, or have “one” answer. It is so unnatural, and can truly make a person neurotic.

    It’s interesting, though…Some years ago, I was picking up someone at the airport. I had a headache, and, as I had just bought a container of Excedrin, and it was at home, I didn’t want to buy another one at the airport drug store. I just thought I would wing it. Imagine my thrill at discovering, what travelers already knew, that the drug stores at airports already have convenience packets of two tablets for people on the go. It took care of my headache right on the spot.

    Sometimes Christian Science has delayed effects on realizing certain realities for years for people…

      • We have a product here in Canada called Buckley’s. It’s the nastiest tasting cough/cold syrup in the world, but it works. They also now have capsules. They have proven themselves invaluable to me when I have a cold or flu coming on. There are day capsules and night ones. I agree, cold/flu medicine is amazing. I wish I’d had it years ago.

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