My wife and I have a little joke because she noticed early on that when there is any kind of crisis, from a blown tire to a major financial snafu, my initial reaction is always silent, calm and expressionless. I’m not normally like that, and I worry plenty when it’s more of an ongoing problem, but in the moment, my first reaction to crisis is still to think (pray?) my way out it. For example, say I oversleep. First reaction after waking? None. So my wife will nudge me, “hmm, are you doing your prayerful work?”
I think that Christian Science harbors and deepens psychological problems, which we all have to some extent. I have a very laid-back approach to life, and adding a Christian Science mindset to this has resulted in my problem, which is severe inertia with taking care of the physical matters in life, the realities of life. I became so skilled at adapting to circumstances, coping with pain and discomfort mentally, believing that we can just think away problems, and frankly, overusing my denial mechanism.
About ten years ago my sister was visiting, and we were walking back to my apartment from the grocery store. There was very slick ice, and I fell and broke my arm dramatically. I had to have surgery to repair it, the break was extremely obvious. My sister and I walk in the door and start asking my wife what we should do.
She says, “ARE YOU BOTH CRAZY?? CALL AN AMBULANCE!!”
Our reaction was something along the lines of, “really? Are you sure?”
She’s like, “YES OH MY GOD!! GOOD GOD IN HEAVEN WHAT HAPPENED TO IT??!” My sister and I still marvel over this. We really did think maybe it would just go away… or something? Neither of us was a Christian Scientist anymore, but when you’re in a crisis like that those deep tendencies surface I guess!
The best suggestion I have for partnering with someone to support you in dealing with medical issues when they arise is to have an agreement in place with someone you’re close to on a daily basis. My wife knows that if I show a symptom, and then get quiet (in the short or long-term) she needs to interrogate me.
So for example, if I mention that my throat is sore, my wife will begin asking daily questions about how my symptoms are progressing, what my thoughts are about those symptoms, and how to handle the illness. She’ll inevitably uncover the crazy (“well, I’ve just been thinking to myself, I know I caught this cold because I volunteered to hold the sick baby last week at my nursery job, so I’ve been maintaining that no harm can come from doing good.”) I know it’s nuts when I hear it in my head, but at the same time it makes sense to me on a gut level, and I don’t confront the fact that I’m still trying to use Christian Science until I say it out loud. Then she’ll proceed with, “Honey, you have a tendency toward strep throat. Can I look at your throat? Okay, I don’t like the way your throat looks. It’s time to go to the doctor. Pick up your phone and call the office. Nope, I’ll pause the movie, let’s just do it right now.”
I’m getting to where I can do this for myself now. She jumps in when she sees I’ve gone off the rails.