This post was inspired by a recent, awesome, thread on ChronicBabe.com, which you can find here. It got tons of comments, and comments on comments, so I highly suggest that you go check it out!
The instigating question: is there any way chronic illness can be viewed as a good thing?
My two cents:
1. Chronic illness = Bad.
2. Response to it = your choice.
Over my years of sickdom, I started out thinking "Chronic illness is evil." Then when I saw all of the positive changes in my life I made due to illness, I thought "Gee, I guess chronic illness is a blessing in disguise."
I ended up in this most recent paradigm when I realized that there is a difference between chronic illness and the response to it.
All of the infinite "blessings of chronic illness” came from me: my decisions, my actions, my changes. The illness itself has never-ever-ever produced the tiniest bit of goodness.
When I used to say "Chronic illness has destroyed my life," I disempowered myself. By remaining in resistance, I left myself a victim with no hope.
When I used to say "Chronic illness has made my life better," I again disempowered myself. By attributing the positive change to the wrong source, I glorified suffering (bad idea!) and failed to recognize my own strength, power, and love.
Now I say ”I have responded to chronic illness in a way that has brought me many, many blessings,” and so I empower myself. Not only do I recognize all the work that it has taken to get this far, I recognize that no matter what life throws at me I can again respond in a way that benefits me.
Is my life better due to chronic illness? Hell no.
Is my life better due to my response to chronic illness? Hell yes.
The famous saying does not go
“When life hands you lemons, be grateful, because they will magically become lemonade.”
Nope, that lemonade ain’t gonna make itself. And so we say:
“When life hands you lemons, MAKE lemonade.”
Whether you choose to or not - is entirely up to you.