Being Sick Sucks — But There Can Be Big Benefits

Maryanne Pope
2 min readNov 17, 2022

(Such as facing an uncomfortable truth about thy self…or thy strategy)

“’Tis healthy to be sick sometimes.”

~ Henry David Thoreau

Indeed. But healthy or not, being sick still sucks.

In early September I went to Cancun, Mexico for a friend’s wedding and two days into my trip, I caught The Bug of All Bugs and Happy Vacation Me morphed into Sickly Sleeping Me.

Whatever virus I caught (I tested negative for Covid) certainly took its sweet time working its way through my system, manifesting in my body via all sorts of sexy symptoms…relentless cough, fever, sore throat, exhaustion, pink eye, thrush, no taste, no smell, no voice, no hearing in one ear. Ugh!

It took more than a month for me to feel myself again.

Apparently, getting sick is a sign of health.

“A strong, healthy body is responsive,” says Clinical Nutritionist, Sharon Browne. “When you experience a cough, a runny nose, achiness, or a fever, these are signs that your body has detected a pathogenic (harmful) invader and it is responding. Each of these is a mechanism that your body has evolved to fight infection. For example, a sneeze is the body’s way of expelling, or, pushing out, an irritant.”

Browne goes on to say that a person with a healthy, responsive immune system will typically get sick 1–2 times per year.

“Getting sick makes you stronger,” explains Browne. “Every time you get sick and support your body with the right nutrients to heal, you strengthen your immune system and help train it, in a way, so that the next time it encounters that pathogen, it can fight it off before it gets you down.”

Okay, so that’s some good news about the physical benefits of getting sick.

But I gotta admit there are other benefits, too. And the biggest one, for me, is that being sick is a powerful reminder to be grateful for good health, which I am blessed to have the vast majority of the time.

“The greatest wealth is health.”

~ Virgil

But being knocked flat on my back (or propped upright in a chair, in an attempt to ease the relentless cough) for weeks on end also gave me plenty of time to think and reflect on what is working well in my life…and what could probably use a tweak or two — when I was back operating at full capacity again.

In other words, being so sick felt rather like a…system reset. One I wasn’t aware I needed.

Okay…perhaps that’s not entirely true. I suspect deep down, I knew a reset was needed…but when I was healthy, happy, energetic, and functioning at full intellectual and creative throttle for months on end, I didn’t want to admit a reset was needed.

But here’s the thing…

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Maryanne Pope

Maryanne writes blogs, books, screenplays & play scripts. She is CEO of Pink Gazelle Productions & Co-Founder of the John Petropoulos Memorial Fund.