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6 Ways I Stay 'Chronically Content' Despite My Illness

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I’m lying in bed trying to take deep breaths to cope with the excruciating pain in my glands from a “mump-like” virus. I’ve been told it could take 10 days for this acute stage of the viral infection to pass. I haven’t slept for four nights. I should be beside myself, miserable, moody, mortified that my body has yet again thrown something at me from out of nowhere. Don’t get me wrong, I have been in tears with the pain. I have been concerned that I might have a bone infection as a result of my bone disease. I may still have. More tests await later once I’ve stabilized. I’ve had moments of just praying for painkillers to kick in…like right now!

Despite that though, I still have an overarching feeling of being “chronically content.” So, how on earth can I feel content, even happy, in the midst of all this?

What’s my secret?

The simple answer is I love my life. My health is just one part of it and my chronic diseases have actually brought chronic contentment in multiple areas of my life. In what ways, I hear you ask? Let me list some of them for you:

1. I spend quality time chatting and laughing with my husband every day.

2. I spend quality time writing, something I love to do.

3. I spend the majority of my day reaching out to others through my online forum. Connection with people is so important for my overall well-being, and the Medical Musings with Friends forum gives as much to me as I give to its beautiful members.

4. I get excited about any achievement in my life, no matter how small. Making the bed each day and making it look pretty brings me joy…even if I mess it up an hour later as I have to collapse onto it in sheer exhaustion. I still did it and that counts for a lot in my book.

5. I don’t dwell on what I can’t do; I dwell on what I can do.

6. I have a strong faith in God. I see His hand on my life in so many remarkable ways…the main one being that I’m “chronically content” despite my health. My faith brings me a sense of peace in my darkest hour that really does surpass all understanding!

Whatever your chronic disease or circumstances, don’t let your happiness be defined by what has been taken away from you. Think upon the things that make you smile. Grab ahold of those happy thoughts and ponder upon them until ideas form that you can realistically put into action.

You may love travel but health prevents it. Get travel DVDs or look at travel books or brochures and dream you’re there. It saves the effort of packing and unpacking, so there’s an immediate bonus from my perspective.

You may love to eat out but find cafés difficult to access. Take a drive in the car and have a picnic with your loved one or friend. Park where you have a beautiful view. I’ve done this with my husband many times and it’s been just a perfect date.

Above all, try not to worry about things that may never happen. Life is too short to go there and when chronically ill, finding ways to be chronically content is a much better way to use your energy.

May you all find “chronic contentment” in perhaps the most surprising ways.

Take some time to look for moments of content and build from there.

Don’t let your happiness depend on something you may lose.” – CS Lewis

Follow this journey on My Medical Musings.

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Thinkstock photo via Tay Jnr.

Originally published: April 25, 2017
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