In our book, You Don’t LOOK Sick! Living Well with Invisible Chronic Illness, I wrote a chapter called ‘Joy’s Top Ten List for Living Well, Even While Sick’. These were attitudes and strategies I developed after I’d accepted that my illnesses were not going to go away. Seeking a diagnosis, finding the right doctors, and experimenting with effective treatments took a long time, but finally I got to a point where I asked the question, “I wonder if it is possible for me to live well, even if I can’t get well?” I found that it was, and these ten strategies helped me build a more satisfying life with illness.
I’ve revised and adjusted the items over the years, and over time I realized I would continue to live by these principles even if I enjoyed perfect health someday. My last blog addresses #1, Take Care of Yourself First. For the next nine blogs, I will take each of the next items and expand on what it means to me and how I’ve utilized each strategy in my life. I hope these blogs will help you build a better life with illness, and I would love to know if you have any different items on your own Top Ten List you’d like to share. Here’s my Top Ten:
Joy’s Top Ten List for Living Well, Even While Sick
1. Take care of yourself first.
2. Never, never, never give up.
3. Be honest about how you are feeling.
4. Enroll in the School of Whatever Works.
5. Make friends with fatigue.
6. Live as a child.
7. Step out of the box.
8. Search for silver linings.
9. Find a way to share your gifts.
10. Be Still.