Speaking on behalf of most chronic illness sufferers, when we get ‘positivity’ rammed down our throats, it’s hard to nod and agree. Specially when the person doing the ramming is persuaded positivity and good vibes will cure us of all diseases, and healthy we will be. I have mixed feelings about this.
I can whole heartedly admit I am not the worlds most positive person, but I do try and see the good in fairly crappy situations, situations that make my judgement and many others, cloudy.
Becoming ill was a lesson in many ways as well as the curse we all know it to be. I’ve learnt many things including how abled beings treat the disabled and chronically ill. When I first fell ill, no body really knew what was going on with me, including myself. What I learnt along the way, progressively getting worse, hitting my worst and then fighting my way along this chronic illness minefield, is that healthy people sometimes give the worst advice ever.
One thing that used to really grate on me and pluck at my nerves was a very common ‘think positively’ or ‘be positive or you’ll never get better’. 13 year old me did not want to hear it. In fact the last thing I wanted to do was think positively when gaining the ability to walk further than my house was completely unknown to me. That’s when the so called depression hit me and I spent my nights awake, and my days mourning what I’d lost. As difficult as that time period in my life was, I think I needed to go through that to have the motivation and drive to succeed and kick ass in all aspects of my life for the future.
To an extent, healthy people don’t appreciate what they have, or so it seems. ‘Think positively’ isn’t a good way to approach a newly diagnosed teenager, with no clue about anything going on, whatsoever. Healthy people, I ask you this; would you tell someone who just lost someone to think positively? I’m sure you wouldn’t. No, we haven’t lost our family and friends, but we’ve lost a huge part of ourselves. Often the part we feel makes us, us. Just like a failed marriage or losing a loved one, we need time to grieve.
Even when we have finished grieving (if), and we’re ready to move on or at least accept this life, pleased don’t tell me I’ll be cured with mind power alone. It doesn’t work that way. Quite frankly, I find it rather insulting to assume I’m not trying hard enough in every aspect possible, to gain back my once lifestyle. Again for the people at the back, positive thinking alone won’t ‘cure’ me, so enough. Sincerely, the chronic illness community.
However, and it’s a big however, the correct mind set is a crucial part of living with this an illness and getting by. I understand that this life is unimaginably hard, but sometimes I see people who are some what better than me, or sometimes a little worse, give up completely and have everyone do everything for them. Positive thinking is something I had to ‘learn’ and I can honestly say, I appreciate how my illnesses have sculptured me as a person. I feel I now appreciate the things I do have rather than falling into a slump of envy for what I don’t have.
I think if you have a can’t do attitude, you won’t achieve anything or make any progress. With a more positive and brighter outlook, I have become more driven and passionate about everything I want, no matter how hard the journey. I’m no better health wise, but sulking and dragging my arse around the house did nothing but make me feel worse. I have to fight my body constantly so why would I add to the feeling of failure? I quickly decided I needed to get my arse into gear and set myself realistic goals. Life flies by, and I for one, refuse to miss the view.
To let an illness control you more than it has to, in my eyes is silly. I cry and get down don’t get me wrong, but I will not give up and I won’t be someone who’s only set purpose in life is to feel better off other people’s pity. No body can hand me what I want, I have to want it bad enough to get it myself. I’m not saying I wake up every day with the sun shinning out my arse and a big rainbow painted on my forehead, teaching the ways of happiness and positivity. What I’m saying is to make a crappy situation a little less crappy, fight with all your strength and appreciate the many wonderful things you do have. Mine is my family. Let that be your motivation, rather than limit yourself to match your situation.
To abled bodied people, please think before you give your expertise advice to a chronic illness suffer, newly diagnosed or long term. To the chronically ill, let the good things in your life be the fuel that feeds your motivation. Proof those who told you couldn’t, wrong.