According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, nearly one in two Americans suffers from at least one chronic disease that affects their daily lives. Diseases such as fibromyalgia, arthritis, and diabetes are often referred to as invisible illnesses because the pain many patients feel is not visually apparent.
So what can a person do to get through the pain without feeling so defeated? Lisa Copen, founder of Rest Ministries and National Invisible Illness Week (which is happening now), shares some tips on Huffington Post on how to cope. My favorite? Number 3, where Copen says to “search for the joy in your blessings:"
Instead of dwelling on thinking about how badly you feel, find ways to bring more joy into your life, even if it's just appreciating the small things. Explore what makes you happy and what you are doing when your natural adrenaline seems to take over some of the fatigue, and you have extra energy. That's likely where your passions are!
Focus on bringing more of this into your life. And don't let your limitations stop you. For example, maybe you once loved to garden. Now you could grow a few potted flowers or hire a neighborhood teenager to plant some vegetables and set up an automatic sprinkler system for them. You could even start a garden consulting business. Think beyond what you once did, but find ways to replicate the things you love in new ways.
I think this is something we can all apply in our often busy lives - whether we have an invisible illness or not.
Previously: Rules for living with a chronic illness and Patients with rare diseases share their extraordinary stories
Photo by Caitlinator