The Limits of Positive Thinking

12 Jan

It’s winter and with all of the traveling over the holidays, lots of people get sick.  All the recycled air on the planes, shared candy and nut dishes full of germs, heaters turned on for the first time kicking out tons of allergy-inducing dust particles, etc. start to pick people off.  All in all, it’s battle time for the immune system.  While I sit at my desk and watch co-worker after co-worker drop like flies with sniffly noses, sore throats, stomach bugs, etc. I happily just “will” myself not to get sick.  Generally, this mind over matter approach, combined with my immune system’s Herculean qualities, carries me through winter/holidays/flu season unscathed and feeling smug about my awesome ability to never be sick.  Literally, I have NEVER had the flu and usually don’t even get so much as a cold.

However, this year, I got an unexpected surprise.  Last week, virtually everyone in my office was sick.  I slowly felt myself getting a sore throat, so I immediately started to hit it with the power of positive thinking – I ignored it or thought to myself, I am not getting sick, that’s impossible.  That worked for a little while until this week when I woke up with a full blown sore throat and cough.  Ugh.  On Monday, I was still trying to will it away.  I woke up at 6AM and started my P90X core synergistics dvd.  Though I made it through the whole workout, it was NOT pretty.  Sniffling throughout, I actually had to hit pause to blow my nose three times.  The rest of the time was a pathetic scene of me struggling to eek out 10 push-ups on moves that I normally do 18.  All the while, I’m coughing and breathing like an obese man hiking Kilimanjaro.  So…maybe no more working out.  Still, I showered up, ate a good breakfast and even curled my hair in an effort to “look good, feel good.”  To no avail.

The last two mornings have not been an improvement.  Today was a carbon copy of yesterday:  hit snooze a gagillion times before finally making myself pull out of the warm cocoon of blankets at around 7:40 (I leave my house at 7:50).  Every effort is then made to put on some sort of outfit, brush my teeth, wash my face, and make an English Muffin with peanut butter for the road.  Then comes the moment I dread…the moment when I realize that maybe positive thinking can only bring you so far…medicine time.  For the next few minutes, I have an old Western-style showdown with the little plastic cup of Robitussin.  The saloon doors swing eerily, a tumbleweed rolls past and I stand transfixed on my foe, the 2 teaspoons of red liquid.  As I start to feel ridiculous because I am 25 years old and taking 3 minutes to will myself to drink a tiny bit of medicine, I realize that I lose.  Time to drink up!  As the syrupy liquid coats my throat, I think to myself, “this shit is just as nasty as I remember it being as a child.”  When I was younger, my mom would trick me into drinking it by barely waking me from a sound sleep.  I would take it without complaint and go back to bed.  But in the morning I always knew – that taste would be there, lingering in my mouth and I would be furious.  Why couldn’t everything taste like the prescription medicine that was pink and tasted like bubblegum?  Possibly the only thing worse than actual Robitussin is this song called The Tussin.

The disgusting ‘tussin is helping a little, but I’ve been sick for a few days now and I have had quite enough so I’m going full assault on this thing.  I have been sleeping around 10 hours a night and have been drinking an obscene amount of water.  My dad always told me that when I was sick it meant I wasn’t eating enough chocolate.  As a remedy, he would take my sister and I to the gas station to get a candy bar.  My mom was not impressed with his home remedies.  But, I always liked his idea, plus cold ice cream makes my throat feel better, so I’ve even gone to Potbelly’s to get a chocolate milkshake.  Finally, I bought myself some cherry cough drops so that I am not dying at my desk.  I was amused to see that even the good people at Halls embrace my positive thinking idea.  Each wrapper on the cough drops has inspirational sayings written on it.  Some of my favorites are: “Impress Yourself Today”, “Put Your Game Face On” and “Let’s hear your battle cry”.  Fantastic.

All the while, Ryan has been making me delicious dinners, including incredibly tasty homemade chicken noodle soup that I had for both dinner and lunch.  And still, I remain sick.  Well, at the end of this week I refuse to be sick.  One of my best friends from college is coming to town to stay with me and I will not be sick.  So….any other ideas?


Posted by on January 12, 2011 in Life


Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,

10 responses to “The Limits of Positive Thinking

  1. grandpa

    January 12, 2011 at 3:02 pm

    Mucinex and MucimnexDM are God’s gifts to the weak lunged people like myself.

    • heatherfreitag

      January 12, 2011 at 3:13 pm

      Thanks for the suggestion – I’ll pick some up!

    • heatherfreitag

      January 13, 2011 at 10:31 am

      Mucinex today – it’s definitely helping!

  2. Brooke

    January 12, 2011 at 3:17 pm

    Barbara Ehrenreich has a book about positive thinking. She thinks it’s BS ;)

    • heatherfreitag

      January 12, 2011 at 3:27 pm

      Didn’t she write Nickel and Dimed? I remember disliking that book. And if she thinks positive thinking is BS than I dislike her even more. Haha. I might be intrigued to read the book to see what she says about it…

      • heatherfreitag

        January 12, 2011 at 3:29 pm

        I clicked your link and see that she is the author of Nickel and Dimed….doesn’t bode well for this new book tearing down my awesome power of positive thinking

  3. Andrea

    January 12, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Yep, I’m definitely one of the flies you mentioned. I have Ricola if you need one 🙂

  4. Brooke

    January 12, 2011 at 4:35 pm

    She was on the Daily Show promoting it. I guess she had breast cancer and got sick of all the people trying to positive think it away. Jon Stewart suggested (jokingly) that maybe she’s just grumpy.

    • heatherfreitag

      January 12, 2011 at 4:38 pm

      Hahahhahaha. I love Jon Stewart. She is just grumpy. I mean, no you can’t always just will something away, but I truly believe your attitude does make an impact! Plus, if you are positive, people will want to be around you and popularity is all that matters. And, Jon Stewart won’t call you grumpy.

      (just kidding on the last two sentences)

  5. Loren

    January 15, 2011 at 1:46 pm

    Eat more chocolate, good chocolate like candy bars not the watered down chocolate that come in a shake. Min. 1/2 gallon of milk per day and lots of water.
    trust me


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