Help Me I'm Sick


When I came to write this article, I wanted to begin it with a choice quote from Chapter 36 of ‘Little Women’, charmingly titled ‘The Dying and Death of Beth’. You may recall the film version, Claire Danes pallid but luminous, still her taut skinned winsome self.

“I’ve known it for a good while, dear, and now I’m used to it, it isn’t hard to think of or to bear. Try to see it so and don’t be troubled about me, because it’s best, indeed it is….”

I am no Beth in ‘Little Women’. When I am sick, I am Norma Desmond indignation (and hair turban) meets Linda Blair in The Exorcist. Skin peeling, sweating, and yelling ‘I was beautiful once!’ to an empty house. I couldn’t even be Olivia Colman in ‘The Favourite’, shovelling cake into my gob between bouts of vomiting because I DO NOT SHOP and had no food in the house.

I gave wallowing a go. Turns out it doesn’t work for me. I need somebody to sort of wallow at, and all wallowing did was remind me how very much on my own I am. Ordinarily this is the best thing, the thing I bloody love. But when you can’t swallow water, your pyjamas are soaked through & freezing and your glands are actually bigger than your jawline being on your own has a ‘and another thing….’ quality about it.

I’m a woman of action. So when my body is inactive, my brain goes in to hyperdrive. There was no clarity, logic, or reason involved in the hotbed of negativity that was my mind over the last few days. I’d decided everyone hated me. Nothing was to be done about the patriarchy. How I couldn’t be sure that Monica Lewinsky would ever be truly ok (I watched a lot of The Clinton Affair).

At around 8:30 last night I decided it was time to get my shit together. Suddenly it became clear the alternative was ‘everything stays the same’ which was unthinkable.

I used all of the following. I watched Fleabag. I wrote down all of my worries. And today I feel a hundred times better.


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The valedictorian of the Liberty Advent Calendar has come into its own over the past couple of days. I would ordinarily use an oil at night but couldn’t bear anything scented, regardless of how beautiful. The idea of it mixing with the perfume of the candle was too much for my poor brain. This is a heavy duty, thick as you like moisturiser that would keep you hydrated in the arctic.


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There’s something about being poorly that makes me feel super dirty and not in a Christina Aguilera way. In a ‘WHAT FOREIGN BODIES ARE WITHIN ME GET THEM OUT!’ one. Of course using a cleanser for such things is entirely psychosomatic, but I’ll take it. This duo by skin queen Caroline Hirons has a balm that’s all lovely and lard-like, and the cream like the shiniest continental breakfast buffet yoghurt. I’ve been using for two months and can really see a difference (plumper skin, less need for foundation, fewer breakouts).


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My tonsils have been so inflamed sipping water is painful. Knowing as I do that when one is sick it’s important to hydrate to the point of bursting, this is uber infuriating.

So I decided to make a point of hydrating my outsides to the nth degree, and slathered this on like a big ‘you’ll be alright mate’ nutty hug. It was lovely.


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I am a dedicated user of these. When I’m doing productions and people moan about not sleeping I shut them up by buying them a bag and it does the trick every time. A cup of these flakes in a bath will absorb into your skin, soothing your aching body (they were initially recommended by a personal trainer - ooh er), pop you in to a state of relaxation and set you up for bed time. Seriously.


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My rule when ill tends to be ‘one fragranced thing’, and candles are universally delightful so I steer in that direction. Diptyque is obviously the go to, and their scents are what make them so, but even with the slightest of headaches they can be migraine/grump inducing. Step forward Rituals, half the price, altogether subtler and with a SECRET MESSAGE on the side of the glass container that you can only see once it’s burned down. I will take that gimmick, thanks.


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I believe in the power of the Jade Roller, see full review here. Its a depuffing superhero, and its coldness is also brilliant for dehydration headaches, turns out.


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If you fancy yourself a bit of a witch like I do, and any part of you believes that all of this is down to the placement of the planets (even if you feel a bit of a twat for admitting it), this is for you. I think it contains actual goodness. That’s all I’m going to say because if you’re with me you’re with me and if you’re not you’ve already judged me.


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This is what the doctor advised.

Rebecca Humphries