Sometimes I can't tell if I am a positive person or a negative person.
When I first learned the "glass half full or half empty" concept I said, "full." And I've always fancied myself an optimist. On the other hand, my humor revolves around sarcasm and I can be a bit of a complainer. Still, I don’t think anyone would describe me as a downer. Well, at least not before I got sick. Chronic illness can make a Negative Nellie out of the biggest Pollyanna.
Occasionally, I am so drained, I don't realize the sun was shining until after it has already set. But that is not really who I want to be. Lyme disease and all, I know this life is a gift and I want to live it in a wholehearted, positive way.
So how do you find the good in chronic illness? The best and quickest path out of negativity is to count your blessings.
Whenever you find yourself seeing the negative in a situation, stop and think of 5-10 positive things to be grateful for about the situation. In other words, find the good.
Today I was having a particular down day, because I was too sick to go into work. When this happens it reminds me that I’m not the same person I once was, who never missed a single day and racked up all the sick days I'm using up now. I needed to "find the good," so here is what I came up with:
10 Things to Be Grateful for Right Now:
1. I'm grateful to have a very understanding boss and coworkers. Not everyone has flexibility in the workplace.
2. I'm grateful for the Lyme disease and chronic illness community. Before my diagnosis I felt completely alone. Once I had a Lyme diagnosis I've found a community of thousands of people struggling with many of the same issues I cope with daily.
3. I'm grateful for the support of my friends and family. They listen and allow me to talk about my illness, even when they don't want to hear about it anymore. I have a great support network and I'm growing my network of other people with Lyme. And my dog, Scooter. Can't forget Scooter.
4. I'm grateful to have found experts and books by experts that will help me get better. There is so much information out there and I learn something new every day. Right now, I'm reading the Lyme bible, Dr. Richard Horowitz's, Why Can't I Get Better?: Solving the Mystery of Lyme & Chronic Disease . Lyme podcasts are also my new favorite thing. Shout Out to Lyme Ninja Radio.
5. I'm grateful for my Integrative Medicine Doctor and Lyme Literate Medical Doctor, both who never judge me and are so knowledgeable about testing and treatment. I could've gone on for years as undiagnosed or misdiagnosed and they saved me from that fate and possibly saved my life.
6. I'm grateful for antibiotics, which gave me my life back. Six months ago I was struggling to function at all and now I'm slowly, but surely finding myself again. Each day I notice a symptom that has either disappeared completely or is showing up less and less.
7. I'm grateful for meditation and yoga. For the ability to have a moment to quiet the mind and focus on healing and for the series of stretches that always gives me the best back cracks in my low spine.
8. I'm even more grateful than before about all the things I love and love to do. I am so grateful that when I'm writing, blogging, or spending time on social media I completely forget about whatever pain or strange symptom I have in that moment.
9. On a lighter note, I'm grateful for the little things, like my heating pad and electric blanket that give me hours of comfort and relief. Ah, warmth. And dark chocolate, which replaces my need for glutenous or sugary desserts. Also, Epsom salts and essential oils. Lavender and peppermint oils for headaches are truly the nectar of the gods.
10. I'm grateful to be alive with the opportunity to experience all this world has to offer. I am healthy enough to travel and still do many of the things I want to do. I just have to make sure I schedule in time for rest, which I’m still working on.
Turns out I'm one lucky lady, but I already knew that. I just needed to remind myself.
Now it's your turn. In spite of your illness, what are you grateful for today?
"Trade your expectations to appreciation and the world changes instantly." - Tony Robbins
I'm Kerry and I am a licensed therapist, writer & speaker. This is a positive space focused on how to thrive in any situation and the transformative power of suffering.