2 years ago 💘 for day 56, 2019 with 306 words.

Today, I dealt with the guilt of rest

I woke up with my hospital wristband still on my wrist, a reminder to be kinder to myself. It's worked well so far. I started the day with painkillers, then got on with my day. Around noon I had the call from the hospital that to relieve some of the day from the hemiplegic migraine I've been suffering, I needed to get rid of one tooth on my upper left side. "There's one slot open 3 hours from now."

So I got my tooth removed. The odd thing is, it actually worked. Yes, I'm dealing with the usual discomfort of getting a tooth removed, but it actually relieved me of my throbbing migraine.

Now here's what else happened. I got home and I followed doctors' orders -- "relax for the rest of the evening, eat soft food, and chill out for a while before you get on with work or whatever needs doing".

I did just that. I made some porridge with maple syrup, cinnamon and sea salt (the secret to making a decent bowl of porridge without all the fruit), sat on the sofa, got on Netflix and watched Bo Burnham's "Make Happy". It's been on my list for months, and I finally got around to watching it.

I enjoyed the show, but I had a feeling of guilt in my stomach. I spent 90 minutes on the sofa resting, like the doctors recommended...but I wasn't productive. What did I churn out? What did I produce?

I have a very unhealthy need to attribute moments in my life to productivity. It used to be satisfying, it used to feel like a grownup thing to do. Now I realise how toxic it is, especially when the time I'm allocating to my body's recovery feels "non productive". I am modern capitalism's wet dream.


Start writing today, for free

Write Together is a safe space to blog, think, feel, and share together. Learn to write, or find a new home for your words, and join our passionate community.

Sign up Learn more
User Photo

By Ben Ellis 💘

researcher. frequent traveller. speaker + writer. belligerent qpoc. tweets at @fr314.

Get Ben Ellis's newsletter

Almost there! Check your inbox and click the link to confirm.

Subscribe to Ben Ellis's latest writing to get it right in your inbox.