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How To Be Ill And Get Well
Source: Nerves And Common Sense
ILLNESS seems to be one of the hardest things to happen to a busy
woman. Especially hard is it when a woman must live from hand to
mouth, and so much illness means, almost literally, so much less
Sometimes one is taken so suddenly and seriously ill that it is
impossible to think of whether one has food and shelter or not; one
must just be taken care of or die. It does not seem to matter which
at the time.
Then another must meet the difficulty. It is the little nagging
illnesses that make the trouble--just enough to keep a woman at home
a week or ten days or more, and deprive her of wages which she might
have been receiving, and which she very much needs.
These are the illnesses that are hard to bear.
Many a woman has suffered through an illness like this, which has
dragged out from day to day, and finally left her pale and weak, to
return to her work with much less strength than she needs for what
is before her.
After forcing herself to work day after day, her strength comes back
so slowly, that she appears to go through another illness, on her
feet, and "in the harness," before she can really call herself well
There are a few clear points which, if intelligently comprehended,
could teach one how to meet an illness, and if persistently acted
upon, would not only shorten it, but would lighten the convalescence
so that when the invalid returned to her work she would feel
stronger than before she was taken ill.
When one is taken with a petty illness, if it is met in an
intelligent way, the result can be a good rest, and one feels much
better, and has a more healthy appearance, than before the attack.
This effect has been so often experienced that with some people
there is a little bit of pleasantry passed on meeting a friend, in
the remark: "Why, how do you do; how well you look--you must have
If we remember when we are taken ill that nature always tends
towards health, we will study carefully to fulfill nature's
conditions in order to cure the disease.
We will rest quietly, until nature in her process toward health has
reached health. In that way our illness can be the means of giving
us a good rest, and, while we may feel the loss of the energy of
which the disease has robbed us, we also feel the good effects of
the rest which we have given to organs which were only tired.
These organs which have gained rest can, in their turn, help toward
renewing the strength of the organs which had been out of order, and
thus we get up from an illness looking so well, and feeling so well,
that we do not regret the loss of time, and feel ready to work, and
to gradually make up the loss of money.
Of course, the question is, how to fulfill the conditions so that
this happy result can be attained.
In the first place, _do not fret._
"But how can I help fretting?" someone will say, "when I am losing
money every day, and do not know how many more days I may be laid
The answer to that is: "If you will think of the common sense of it,
you can easily see that the strain of fretting is interfering
radically with your getting well. For when you are using up strength
to fret, you are simply robbing yourself of the vitality which would
be used directly in the cure of your illness."
Not only that, but the strain of fretting increases the strain of
illness, and is not only preventing you from getting well, but it is
tending to keep you ill.
When we realize that fact, it seems as if it would be an easy matter
to stop fretting in order to get well.
It is as senseless to fret about an illness, no matter how much just
cause we may feel we have, as it would be to walk west when our
destination was directly east.
Stop and think of it. Is not that true? Imagine a child with a pin
pricking him, kicking, and screaming, and squirming with the pain,
so that his mother--try as carefully as she may--takes five minutes
to find the pin and get it out, when she might have done it and
relieved him in five seconds, if only the child had kept still and
So it is with us when Mother Nature is working with wise steadiness
to find the pin that is making us ill, and to get it out. We fret
and worry so that it takes her ten or twenty days to do the good
work that she might have done in three.
In order to drop the fretting, we must use our wills to think, and
feel, and act, so that the way may be opened for health to come to
us in the quickest possible time.
Every contraction of worry which appears in the muscles we must
drop, so that we lie still with a sense of resting, and waiting for
the healing power, which is surely working within us, to make us
_We can do this by a deliberate use of our wills._
If we could take our choice between medicine, and the curative power
of dropping anxiety and letting ourselves get well, there would be
no hesitancy, provided we understood the alternatives.
I speak of fretting first because it is so often the strongest
interference with health.
Defective circulation is the trouble in most diseases, and we should
do all we can to open the channels so that the circulation, being
free elsewhere, can tend to open the way to greater freedom in the
part diseased. The contractions caused by fretting impede the
circulation still more, and therefore heighten the disease.
If once, by a strong use of the will, we drop the fretting and give
ourselves up entirely to letting nature cure us, then we can study,
with interest, to fulfill other necessary conditions. We can give
ourselves the right amount of fresh air, of nourishment, of bathing,
and the right sort of medicine, if any is needed.
Thus, instead of interfering with nature, we are doing all in our
power to aid her; and when nature and the invalid work in harmony,
health comes on apace.
When illness brings much pain and discomfort with it, the endeavor
to relax out of the contractions caused by the pain, are of the same
service as dropping contractions caused by the fretting.
If one can find a truly wise doctor, or nurse, in such an illness as
I refer to, get full instructions in just one visit, and then follow
those directions explicitly, only one visit will be needed,
probably, and the gain from that will pay for it many times over.
This article is addressed especially to those who are now in health.
It is perhaps too much to expect one in the midst of an illness to
start at once with what we may call the curative attitude, although
it could be done, but if those who are now well and strong will read
and get a good understanding of this healthy way of facing an
illness, and get it into their subconscious minds, they will find
that if at any time they should be unfortunate enough to be attacked
with illness, they can use the knowledge to very real advantage,
and--what is more--they can, with the right tact, help others to use
To see the common sense of a process and, when we have not the
opportunity to use the laws ourselves, to help others by means of
our knowledge, impresses our own brains more thoroughly with the
truth, especially if our advice is taken and acted upon and thus
proved to be true.
It must not be forgotten, however, that to help another man or woman
to a healthy process of getting well requires gentle patience and
quiet, steady, unremitting tact.
Next: Is Physical Culture Good For Girls?
Previous: The Tired Emphasis