6 Ways To Be Thankful While Having Chronic Illness

Every year my family goes around the table and says what they are thankful for. Even though this year has been my worst. I am determined to stay positive.  Finding the things I am grateful for (even if it kills me) will happen. I often find myself feeling sorry for myself and wondering why I have a chronic illness that there is no cure for and that the medical community barely understands. Yet, I need to remind myself that everything happens for a reason.  It is important to find the silver lining so I am able to live a fulfilled life.

Here are 6 ways you can try to find gratitude this holiday season:

1.      Try to focus on the “good” days.  I am thankful for the days that pain is less than a 6 (on a stupid 1-10 scale). To me this number represents the fact that the pain is still there but I can push myself.  I can still do the activities I need to do and there might not be consequences.  The reason I say might is because I’m still in the dark on what I can do and feel ok the next day and what causes me being immobile. I say this cause I don’t seem to find a pattern yet.

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2.      The days when “normal” activities are tolerable.  I am thankful for the mornings I wake up, take a shower (see my love/hate relationship with taking a shower),  go to work and don’t feel like I need to get right back in bed. This is something I feel a lot, so when it doesn’t happen, it is truly special and something to cherish.  Really I should start paying attention to how often this happens so I can focus more on that than on the days when it doesn’t happen.

3.      Notice the little things in life that bring you joy.  I am thankful for coffee!  Without coffee, I do NOT know how I could go on.  I know, I am so addicted but it is better than alcohol or drugs….right? I drink my coffee black so there aren’t a lot of extra calories in there. Sometimes, coffee and I don’t get along though.  I sometimes get stomach aches from drinking coffee or having too much of it. So to avoid this I try to just have one cup at the most two a day, but if it weren’t for my stomach I could be drinking it all day long. Seriously!

4.      The people who “pick you up” on a daily basis.  I am thankful for my family.  My mom always supports me NO matter what (see October’s gratitude letter).  She is for sure my number fan and I can always count on her. My husband is my rock (see my gratitude letter to my husband).  He is the one that picks up my slack and makes sure I don’t forget things (lol – it used to be the other way around). My kids are my joy in life.  I love them to death and I love watching them grow up.  Although, it also makes sad because I miss my kids being babies (sometimes).

5.       The people who also live through chronic illness. I am thankful for my chronic illness community. Without them, I am not sure what kind of mess I would be in. They cheer me on, support me and most of all accept me.  My chronic illness community doesn’t ask anything in return of me, yet I give it. They understand how I feel without me even saying it because they go through similar experiences as I do. There is no back-stabbing or drama, it is just people lifting up other people and it is so beautiful. Please visit these links to only some of the people who have supported me.

6.       The people who choose to be there for you. I am thankful for friends (which by the way the list in #5 are also considered my friends).  There are not many but its ok because the ones I do have are very good.

      a. My oldest and dearest friend Jennifer (you know who you are) has been my best friend since we were like 13 ( I think). This isn’t a relationship I have to work at, it isn’t one where I will be judged. We have gone years without talking sometimes, yet when we finally do talk it is like we never missed a beat.

      b. My sister is someone that I consider to be a best friend as well. We are so different, but I always know that no matter what she will be there for me. I wish location wise we were closer, but in the end it doesn’t really matter because if she ever needed me I would walk a million miles for her.

      c.  My co-worker and I used to sit right next to each other(literally we were in the same cubicle) and she is also like a sister to me. Nicole has always shown me love and support in everything I do.  She is like my personal cheerleader, yet I know she will give me her honest opinion. I call her a sister because we could disagree with each other and know that wasn’t going to change how we feel about each other. 

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There is so much more I am thankful for, however, I have some Fibro Fog right now and can’t think anymore. Now you know, I am not always positive and thankful.  However, whenever I find myself drifting off that path the above 6 reasons are what bring me back. If you are in the same situation as me, or worse, I encourage you to try to do this same practice. If it helps, write down your 6 or more things you are grateful for and keep them someplace you can see them. Being able to read them every day will head off the blues, and when it doesn’t then read them out loud.

As always I would love to hear what you are grateful for, please continue the discussion in the comments below! I answer back ALL comments.

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