Did you know that if you boil a pot of water and throw in a live frog that that frog will hop right out, saving his life to croak again another day (ha, ha)? If, on the other hand, you place a frog in a pot of cold water and turn the heat up slowly, that frog will stay in the pot. He will not jump out but slowly acclimate to the increasingly hot water until it boils to death.
This happened to me when my mother and father came to live with us. My mother was undergoing chemotherapy for pancreatic cancer at Roswell Park Cancer Center. It wasn’t like I was alone, but at the time I had a full time job, two small kids and my brothers and sisters were hundreds of miles away. All four of my siblings would check in often and I’d tell them, “Really, it’s not that bad.”
One day my younger brother flew in for a visit. It didn’t take him long to sit me down and say firmly, “You’re about to drop dead and you don’t even know it. We need to talk about maybe taking a leave of absence from your job and setting up a schedule so one of us is with you from now on.” I didn’t see what he could see clearly. He was the frog that just dropped in the pot that I had been in for a while.
I love this. Because I’m the cooking frog, and I didn’t realize it until reading her post.
It started when the housing market accidentally fell into the toilet with the rest of the economy, and the world had no need for architects like my husband. I manically pursued a a handful of jobs that I have been juggling as gracefully as a Cirque du Soleil dude who got fired for tripping. Then my lips turned blue, so I went to the cardiologist and learned about my heart condition, had a fancy MRI that indicated my pituitary tumor was growing, and two days ago my internist diagnosed me with Raynaud’s syndrome! Yah! That one sounds fun!
All the while, I’ve been sitting in the pot thinking to myself, “It sure does feel warm in here. Nah, I’m probably imagining it!”
Elivra’s last paragraph is SO, SO important:
If you are chronically tired, stressed, anxious or feeling low, you may be a slowly cooking frog. If you think you are, talk to friends, family, a counselor. Reach out, get a reality check, ask for help as the woman who came to my office did. There’s no virtue in being a martyr frog. All you get is cooked.