As hard as it is living with ME, the truth is that chronic illness makes us more positive and not negative. I’ve just finished writing a post on my other website about How to Stay Up in a World that is Spiralling Down. In it I outline my tips and advice on how to stay positive even when the world around us is increasingly negative. The fact is that everything I outline in that post has been learned from having ME.
As ME/CFS sufferers, we have more than our fair share of hardship and stress. Our lives are tough and yet we live. No matter how limited our lives may seem, we endure them and in most instances we do so with a smile. We live lives of pain and fatigue, we lose friends and social lives, some of us live severely restricted lives stuck in our homes or even beds, we lose financial security as our ability to work is affected and while all this and so much more is happening to us, we often receive little or no support from the medical world and even from friends and family. But the fact is that stress exacerbates our symptoms and just makes us so much more ill. Yet, we do it.
Some of the best friends I have are ME/CFS sufferers. They make me laugh, and lift me up no matter how bad things get. Even when those with a chronic illness have faced years of neglect and even abuse, they still hope and try every day, never giving up and fighting in any way they can.
There is this ridiculous notion that being positive means slapping on a fake smile and pretending you feel great when you feel anything but. The truth is that any hopeful action, any act to continue is a sign of immense strength and positivity, whether it is done with a smile or with tears.
So I have a message for every ME/CFS sufferer out there who can still smile and be kind, who gets out of bed, or even attempts to sit up or open his or her eyes. Yes, to you fellow sufferer, who fights for this illness to be recognised, who lends an ear to a friend, to you who writes about your experiences in a blog, or posts a photo expressing your existence I have something to say. Also for you, who is trying to raise a family, or raising funds for charity, I want to say this: every ME/CFS sufferer who struggles and dares to hope that tomorrow will be better than today, know that you are an example to the rest of the world and the simplistic terms of positive and negative can never sum up the life that you live!