Depression is a common side effect of chronic illness, and when you're tired and in pain all (or most) of the time, it's easy to focus on the negatives: All the things you can't do anymore, all the money being spent on medicine and doctor visits, the isolation, and so forth.
A book I was reading recently cited a study that concluded that personality dictates whether someone is pessimistic or optimistic more than the circumstances of their life. So, for example, people who were happy-go-lucky types before suffering an injury that left them paralyzed were less likely to get depressed and feel pessimistic about their future than people who already tended towards the Eeyore, glass-is-half-empty point of view.
While I don't think I'm a gloomy sort of person, I definitely am a worrier and tend towards dwelling on things that can or have go wrong. That's why I think it's so important to remember to count my blessings and look for silver linings, even in the dark cloud of my health issues.
In that vein, welcome to the latest edition of Patients For A Moment, the patient-centered blog carnival. Many thanks to everyone who participated, and I hope everyone enjoys checking out all the posts!
From the mundane to the romantic, there's clearly plenty to be thankful for no matter what the chronic illness.
My non-blogging mother, who was diagnosed in 1989 with myasthenia gravis after what was probably years of fatigue and other symptoms, chimed in to say she was thankful when she finally had a name to tell people that explained her activity level other than being accused of being lazy. Yes, even 20 years ago it sucked to be a medical mystery; I guess I should be thankful to have a parent who can identify with my journey!
Kathy at FibroDAZE (whose quote at the top of her blog made me giggle: "Some days even my lucky rocketship underpants won't help" -- Calvin & Hobbes) counted Canada's universal healthcare among her blessings in It's Great To Be Grateful. Be sure to check out the lovely photos she included too!
One of the many people I'm thankful for is Duncan Cross, the founder of this blog carnival, who, coincidentally, writes about being thankful for the blogosphere's ability to combat the isolation caused by chronic illness in his post Grateful For This.
Leslie, PFAM's current organizer, at Getting Closer To Myself quotes Rob Thomas' song Her Diamonds (written about watching his wife's pain caused by an autoimmune disease and not being able to do anything about it) in writing a beautiful post about finding someone who loves her regardless of her illnesses and the impact they have on her (and therefore their) life. My favorite line in I Love You, Don't Touch Me is "even the worst days are made just a little bit easier because he’s there." Everyone needs someone like that in their life, whether they're sick or healthy, and I'm so happy Leslie has found him!
Nessie at lipstick, perfume and too many pills (possibly the best blog name ever!) submitted her post an attitude of gratitude, but I'd also like to suggest you read the previous post on her blog, at least i'm not as sad (as i used to be), which may have been written as part of Invisible Illness Week but also has a theme of being thankful, whether it's that having an invisible illness means everyone doesn't have to know when you're having a bad day or the recognition that life is hard for everyone, whether they're sick or healthy.
Tonja (and Luka, her service dog) writes a very thoughtful post at Pink Doberman about silver linings and the fact that even though a 2004 auto accident changed her life forever, she is able to redefine her life through sheer force of will. And family and good friends are a big help too.
The next edition of Patients For A Moment will be hosted Oct. 13 by Selena at Oh My Aches & Pains. Be sure to go over there ahead of time to find out the topic so you can submit an entry for it!
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