Welcome to the first post in a series all about the individuals attitude towards their disability and/or chronic illness.
You may have caught my recent post on Sacrael Agenesis Awareness Day – you can catch up here to get a better insight into my own personal disability.
Last month, following the pre-op for my upcoming hip replacement surgery I began thinking about my attitude towards my own struggle.
The pre-op nurse was questioning me on my previous surgeries and as we were chatting she complimented me on my attitude, she remarked that it must make it easier for me to deal with everything.
This got me thinking, does it make it easier? Does having a positive attitude towards your illness or disability make it easier to deal with, does it help you recover faster from illness or surgery and does depression and anxiety make what may be a mild issue a much worse one? Are you more likely to take a longer time to recover if you simply roll over and don’t fight it?
Now, I certainly don’t want to imply that attitude is everything or in anyway suggest that your attitude or emotions are what causes your chronic illness. Believe me, some days you can feel as positive as Barney the Dinosaur – it doesn’t make a blind bit of purple, cheery difference to the agonising pain you face every day.
One of the first bloggers I put my thoughts too – Sara at Bloo n Stuff said this:
My disability is progressive and while I’ve had to adapt to my body changing over the years I’ve always just kind of taken it in my stride. That’s not really something I’ve worked on or I have tips on how to achieve because it’s just how I’ve always been.
This really struck with me, my disability also is progressive. I have never known any different so my attitude towards it has always been the same. It’s just my life, that’s how it is.
Sara also said this:
My aunt said one thing to me that really helped me when I was worried about how my disability could progress and that was, “We’re all just living day by day.” And that grounded me. It reminded me that nobody knows what’s going to happen tomorrow. I think yes, your attitude does matter when it comes to dealing with your disability but I think that’s true about all things and people in life.
Sara and her Aunt are both so right. Everybody, regardless of their situation is living day by day. Life is unpredictable and I imagine for everybody – life is what you make it.
I recently read an article about Noel Edmonds (you can read it here in full), the long and short of it were these tweets:
@VaunEarl tweeted: “I think Noel Edmonds should stick to what he’s good at. Presenting quiz shows and beard trimming, rather than curing cancer.”
Mr Edmonds responded by tweeting: “Scientific fact-disease is caused by negative energy. Is it possible your ill health is caused by your negative attitude? #explore”.
@VaunEarl replied: “Wow! How do you know I have a negative attitude. You have no idea who I am. #patronising #cancer… I’m the most positive person I know despite my disabilities and long term ill health. Weird.”
Noel Edmonds had tweeted:
A simple box that slows ageing, reduces pain, lifts depression and stress and tackles cancer. Yep tackles cancer!
He then implied that a person’s ill-health was possibly caused by his negative attitude.
Obviously, this is a ridiculous claim. Are unhappy people more likely to become ill? Are happy people going to live to be 100? Of course not.
For me, having a positive attitude towards my disability makes my days easier. When I do have down days my disabilty becomes almost overwhelming and it’s hard to find my sunny disposition.
Sara made this very valid point:
I also think you have to be careful when you start to say that attitude has a direct affect on symptoms or ability to recover as I think it almost sounds like a form of victim blaming. If you don’t have a positive attitude then you only have yourself blame for not having a speedy recovery. I’ve seen people say similar to that before and it’s just incredibly untrue.
I certainly don’t want to imply that positivity is a cure all. What I’m trying to decide is, does it really help? Will remaining positive with a fighting attitude enable you to deal with whatever life throws at you?
A big thank you to Sara for taking the time to read my email and respond. Do please check out her blog – her most recent post , which resonated with me on many levels.
If you’d like to get involved with this series of posts, do please get in touch below. Look out for more posts in this series coming soon.