Why Being Sick Reminds Me of Vampires.

Via Marlene Kelly
on Oct 19, 2011
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Awesome image credit: Allie Brosh of hyperboleandahalf.com


Being sick makes me feel needy, and I don’t like it. The sensation is a bottomless pit. 

I’m cold and then I’m hot. There’s pressure building up in my head like a shaken soda bottle before twisting off the cap. My throat is scratchy and sore. My body is having a temper tantrum, demanding my attention, but I don’t like being sick.

There’s a language around being sick that subtly feels like a ploy for sympathy.

“Oh no, I’m so sorry you don’t feel good. You don’t look very good, you better get some rest.” Or the empathetic, “I had it too and it lasted too long.” Or the opposite, “So what? When are you going to give me what I asked for?” It’s all taxingly uncomfortable because it makes me feel so freaking needy. My arch nemesis.

I’ve got a history with needy people. It’s more of a horror story. I gave all of my love and energy to an already-satiated vampire who sucked every last drop before leaving me in need of emotional transfusion that never came. Why? Because I was seeking the fix from the emotional vampire like that girl in the Twilight novels. But the sensation of need is a bottomless pit. It only creates more need. I confused need with love because that’s what I saw between my parents. Needless to say, I didn’t really like love all that much. It was a price too high to pay.

But it’s a lie to think I am stuck in the story of how I grew up. It’s a big old ruse I tell myself so I don’t have to be vulnerable or risk anything. My father needed more than anyone could or would ever give him and he doesn’t know how to give it to himself. But that doesn’t mean I don’t know how to give myself what I need or that I will end up with someone incapable of loving themselves. Right?

But when I’m sick, that creepy night walker starts lurking in the places in my head. The part of me that resists asking for any help. The part of me that says I can do it all without anyone else. The part of me that knows I’m full of shit, but I’m too tired to resist. The part of me that really does need someone to say it’s going to be alright, but I don’t want to be a bother, so I don’t reach out.

Once I start to feel better, the me I know myself to be returns to face another day. Vampires seem like silly, overly made up actors with bad accents. But I think I need a new definition for need. Any ideas?


About Marlene Kelly

For the past five years, Marlene Kelly made Chicago, IL her home as a senior producer at Oprah.com overseeing the editorial direction for all things spirit and relationships. But the call of the wild led her to the Omega Institute for Holistic Studies in Rhinebeck, NY to become the assistant director of online learning. A writer and voracious reader, she lives her life from the inside out by following her heart and finding the funny in everything. And, she's single! So if you know a good, liberated man with a great sense of humor, she might be interested. For more of her writing you can check out her blog Bespoken or connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.


3 Responses to “Why Being Sick Reminds Me of Vampires.”

  1. Bella Zombirella says:

    This image belongs yo hyperboleandahalf.com… does she know you are usuing her work and not crediting her?

  2. Marlene Kelly says:

    Thanks for letting me know! I've added the artist's name and a link to her website on the post.

  3. Tiffany says:

    I was listening to a talk about the power of the subconscious mind and how as soon as you're tired or off guard, it jumps up like these shadows you were talking about. The speaker suggested Theta wave therapy. I don't know anything about it but I do know I've been sick for 6 weeks with Whooping Cough, and I literally had to crumple and shut up. Nothing else to do.
    Nice article (and I'd delete that other comment – it gives a nasty impression of incompetence that isn't necessarily made uf for 'but at least she's honest')