I try to be a happy person. Each day I like to write three things or people I am grateful for to help me focus on my happiness journey. Since becoming sick and joining the chronic community I’ve felt particularly pressured to be “happy”, to have a “positive outlook” on life.
No one wants to interact with the complaining, down, worried sick person. It’s bad enough they have to deal with cancelled plans due to bad days. Family and friends don’t want to hear about more problems. As a chronic warrior I’m supposed to look on the bright side. I’m supposed to encourage others and be grateful it’s not worse; after all it’s not cancer. It’s true. I’m grateful for that. But I ABHOR that phrase. I think if it was cancer maybe I would be allowed to be mad, down, worry, cry. Maybe not.
When I have these feelings I think about one of my favorite childhood books- Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, no Good, Very Bad Day. I loved the book so much the laminate cover had peeled off (I swear I was a happy child–I had a mom, grandparents, and aunts who loved me–I just LOVED that book).
Somedays I feel like Alexander, where everything goes wrong in life, where everyone is good. And I’m Alexander “tripping on my skateboard, only finding breakfast cereal in my box, falling in mud, getting soap in my eyes” and I want to move to Australia or rather to somewhere where I’m just not sick.
As a chronic community of warriors, caregivers, family, and friends, we need to start to acknowledge that it is okay to have such negative feelings. Our lives have been forever altered by illness. Focusing on happiness and not dwelling on negativity is equally important. By not allowing all feelings by all of the chronic community to be talked about or allowed to show publicly makes it easier to cope with illness. We can accept this life is not how we imagined, but it is still amazing.