When faced with terminal or chronic conditions, the last thing you need is someone telling you to stay positive and to live in the moment. It can seem like a total slap in the face. However, working to find peace within yourself can be the thing that helps get you through those exceptionally hard times.
Oftentimes, it’s the strength and positivity we discover inside of ourselves that can help make us feel better and able to push forward. Of course, it’s also important to remember that you’re never alone in this fight and there will always be a support system for you. Having bad days is completely okay and understandable.
On those days — sometimes weeks — when you find yourself slipping into a dark, dejected place, having the right people and tools on your side can give you the strength you need to climb back out.
Staying Positive Despite a Chronic or Terminal Condition
Finding Your Tribe
At first, support groups can certainly seem intimidating to join. When dealing with chronic or terminal issues, however, it’s hard trying to find ways to connect with people who don’t deal with the same obstacles and worries as you. Support groups can often help bridge that gap while also providing you with tools and advice to work through your difficult days.
As experts at Augusta Oncology aptly put it, “One of the most difficult aspects of cancer or any disease is that no one understands what you’re going through. Sure they say they understand, they sympathize with you, but how can they know? A cancer support group is a unique place because it is made of people who know what you’re feeling because they’ve been there … They will understand your fears, worries, concerns, and joys … ” Staying positive can be made a lot easier if you have the right group to vent frustrations and problems too, especially a group who truly understands what you’re going through.
Furthermore, with certain chronic conditions, like STIs for example, it can be difficult opening up about your health due to the unfair stigma behind STIs. Support groups provide a safe space to speak about your condition and can provide the strength to help you fight against those stigmas. While the hardest step can be reaching out, you’ll often find yourself wondering how you ever managed without your trusted support group.
Forming More Connections
Another way to find positivity can be through utilizing strategies provided by professionals. Whether you have a close bond with a nurse or two or you decide to attend therapy, asking them for some helpful strategies can take some of the burdens off your shoulders. For example, when faced with a terminal condition (and chronic as well), Bradley University suggests, “While finding hope in the face of terminal illness is often a challenge, nurses are able to achieve this goal by helping patients devise ways to make the most out of their final days, whether that’s spending as much time as possible with family and friends, focusing on personal interests and hobbies or anything else.”
Keep in mind that nurses are trained to help you through this — mentally, physically, and emotionally. Reaching out to them or another medical professional can provide you with more support and encouragement. Furthermore, it’s always helpful to have someone’s opinion you respect and value to help plan out your goals and help you live in the moment more. Finding support, and in turn, positivity can come from a number of unexpected places.
Becoming Your Own Ally
At the end of the day, one of the most important things to recognize is that you shouldn’t ever feel pressured to maintain a positive attitude. Feel what you feel, whether it’s happy, sad, or angry. According to Medical News Today, “in order to achieve a stronger sense of fulfillment and well-being, you should learn to treat yourself with kindness … if we embrace our negative emotions, we are less at risk of perpetuating them and more likely to achieve self-healing.”
When dealing with chronic or terminal conditions, give yourself the power to feel what you need to feel. Staying present and living in the moment doesn’t always mean the moment will be good. However, knowing that it’s okay to have bad days as well as good ones can help ease those anxious feelings and allow you to enjoy those good days even more.
You are not defined by your illness, and you certainly are not alone. Staying positive when faced with some pretty tough conditions will always be an ongoing battle. Grounding yourself within your world — your family, your friendships, your hobbies, and your celebrity crush — can solidify each day as something special and something worth enjoying.