From the Life and Thoughts of
Wanda M. Argersinger, Executive Director
The Lupus Support Network
Remaining Positive While Living With Chronic Illness
In my fight against the chronic illness I live with everyday I have quite an arsenal of tools. I have a great team of physicians who try to take care of my health. I have pharmacists who do their best to make sure I get the medications I need and none that I am allergic to. I have friends and family who care about me and are always there to lend support should I need it. I have a belief in a higher power who I know has plans for me. I have hope for the future. And I have the belief that everything will be ok.
No, I am not a Pollyanna. I am a realist with an optimistic outlook. I am a person who believes that everything happens for a reason. I am a person who asks questions. I am a person who investigates. I am a person who doesn’t always believe without hard facts. I am a person who looks for alternatives. I am a person who will not accept the easy answer. I am a person who will get a second and third opinion before I accept a pat answer of “this is the only treatment available.” I am a person with a positive attitude.
Don’t get me wrong. I battle depression like the majority of people who live with chronic illness. I have been so sick at times that I didn’t care what the outcome was. That doesn’t mean that I ever gave up hope, it’s just that I was accepting of whatever the future would bring. That may sound contradictory to “having a positive attitude”, but it’s really not. To me, being positive doesn’t mean being Pollyanna, looking forever through rose colored glasses, or failing to see reality. To me, being positive, means facing whatever is happening in your life with an attitude of “whatever this is I can get through it.”
Everyone experiences bad things in their life. Everyone experiences illness from time to time. The key to having a positive attitude is knowing what is happening. Having all the information available about whatever the current situation is. Believing that with help you can deal with the day to day occurrences. Not giving in to the “poor pitiful me” syndrome. Realizing that whatever situation you find yourself in, there are always those suffering more or having less. Having a good support system of physicians, friends, family and others who are going through or have gone through similar circumstances.
A positive attitude may not change your circumstances, heal your disease, bring you more wealth, or even stop the inevitable disease process. What a positive attitude does is allow you to deal with all of these things. With a positive attitude, pain hurts less, pity doesn’t visit as often, depression is something you can live with, change is viewed as a possibility, and hope is always a part of your life.
I just returned from The Mayo Clinic in Jacksonville, FL. So many people had a hope that I would return with answers to what was happening with me. While I did get some answers, I didn’t get the ah-ha answer that my family and friends wanted. When asked by them if I was disappointed, I said,” no, not at all. I went there without expectations.” That is my positive attitude. I do what I can. Accept the fact that lupus is a mysterious disease and answers aren’t always possible. And I live my life knowing that my life continues, with or without the ah-ha moment so many hope for.
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