How You Can Still Pursue Your Goals and Dreams When You're Chronically Ill | The Health Sessions

How You Can Still Pursue Your Goals and Dreams When You’re Chronically Ill

“A dream is a wish your heart makes.” – Walt Disney

Remember when you were young, you’d fantasize about all the things you would do when you were grown up: becoming a doctor or a rockstar, traveling the world, getting married and having kids.

Some of those dreams may be shattered when you get diagnosed with chronic illness.

Suddenly, the life you’d envisioned for yourself is gone. Sometimes there’s little chance of your dreams ever becoming reality. I mean, how can you finish your studies, work a demanding job or raise a family when just getting through the day is a huge challenge?

It’s a heartbreaking feeling to have your deepest desires go unmet. When there’s a gap between what you’d do if only your body would cooperate and what you can actually do, you may experience an inner conflict between accepting your new reality and still trying to shoot for the moon.

Because even the sickest of us still have goals and dreams we wish to fulfill. Living means more than simply surviving. According to Maslow’s hierarchy of needs, when our basic needs like food, shelter and safety are met, we all long to belong and be loved, to cultivate self-esteem and self-respect, and finally to reach self-actualisation. We want to give meaning to our lives, even in the most harrowing circumstances.

But when you’re chronically ill and struggle to do the simplest things, pursuing your dreams and achieving your goals is not as easy as “you can do anything as long as you want it badly enough“. Of course determination, hard work and commitment are key, and there are plenty of stories out there of people accomplishing greatness despite their limitations. But sometimes all the persistence in the world just isn’t enough – at least not right now.

Despite my reservations about some motivational slogans, I’m a fierce believer in hope and going after your dreams. Whether you want to finish your studies, find a loving partner or pursue your passions, here are some realistic ideas to help you set and reach new goals when you have a chronic illness.

Read more >How You Can Still Pursue Your Goals and Dreams When You’re Chronically Ill



How the Holidays Can Affect Those with Mental Disorders | The Health Sessions

How the Holidays Can Affect Those with Mental Disorders

This is a guest post by Mike Jones from Schiz Life

The holiday season can be challenging for anyone, no matter the reason. But while for most people the biggest struggle this winter will be to decide on what presents to get everyone, for others the holidays can be a personal hell. Coping with depression, anxiety, schizophrenia or any other mental disorder during Christmas and New Year’s Eve can be particularly hurtful due to the constant pressure of having to behave in a certain way.

Not So Merry Christmas

Unfortunately, Chrismas is not such a merry time for everyone. According to research published by Randy and Lori A. Sansone in the US National Library of Medicine, the use of emergency psychiatric services decreases during the holidays, only to be followed by a spike in activity shortly after. For people dealing with mental disorders, the holiday season can be an emotionally draining period.

What is more obsessive-compulsive disorder, depression or schizophrenia and love life just don’t seem to mix. The lack of a significant other or tensions in an existing relationship can be more emphasized during the holiday season when you suffer from a mental disorder. And due to this, you may have the tendency to blame your illness more and feel worst. This is normal, and what you can do about it is slowly learn how to cope.

Read more >How the Holidays Can Affect Those with Mental Disorders



Spoonie Gift Guide: The 36 Most Comforting Presents for Your Chronically Ill Friend | The Health Sessions

Spoonie Gift Guide: The 36 Most Comforting Presents for Your Chronically Ill Friend

Would you like to pamper your sick friend but don’t know what gift you should get them?

Finding the perfect present for the people you love can be a challenge in itself, but chronic illness can make the search even more complicated. What do you buy someone who can’t do a lot of things or suffers from sensitivities?

It depends of course on your friend’s illness, situation and interests. But many spoonies love to receive something soothing and indulgent, whether that’s a wellness gift, practical items to deal with the daily discomfort or entertaining goodies to beat the boredom.

For inspiration, have a look at these 36 comforting spoonie gift ideas for any budget. 

Read more >Spoonie Gift Guide: The 36 Most Comforting Presents for Your Chronically Ill Friend



8 Genuine Ways to Practice Gratitude When You Don't Feel Like It| The Health Sessions

8 Genuine Ways to Practice Gratitude When You Don’t Feel Like It

Do you secretly swear internally when someone cheerfully tells you you have so much to be thankful for?

When you’re going through dark times, practicing gratitude can feel more like a mandatory exercise than a genuine act. I mean, when you suffer excruciating pain every day, struggle to make ends meet or are grieving the loss of a loved one, it’s hard to feel grateful for the things that are going well.

And yet, that’s exactly what happiness research tells you to do. Study after study shows that gratitude is one of the most powerful ways to feel happier. Being thankful improves your mental health, boosts your resilience and helps you cope better with everyday stress.

“It’s not that happy people are grateful, it’s that grateful people are happier.” – Erik Barker

But how do you cultivate gratitude when you feel sick, sad, disconnected or cheated on by life?

Don’t just go through the motions. True thankfulness goes deeper than rattling off a list of things you know you’re supposed to feel grateful for, like having a roof over your head and food on the table. Practicing gratitude shouldn’t be a chore. You can only tap into a deeper experience of gratefulness when you sincerely like to make your life – and that of the people around you – better.

Here’s how you can feel thankful for the good things in life, even when life is hard. 

Read more >8 Genuine Ways to Practice Gratitude When You Don’t Feel Like It



Tripping Through Treacle: Jenny Clarkson on Living with MS | The Health Sessions

Tripping Through Treacle: Jenny Clarkson on Living with MS

What’s it really like to live with chronic illness every day? How do you deal with the physical symptoms, emotional turmoil and practical problems? In this interview series, real life ‘spoonies’ share their experiences and tips.

Jenny Clarkson is a 30-something speech and language therapist from Lincolnshire, England. On her blog Tripping Through Treacle, she shares her story about stumbling through life with Multiple Sclerosis (MS).  

 

Tell us a little about yourself.

I’m Jenny, a 39-year old mother of two who loves reading, music, films, food and crochet. I live with my husband and kids in Lincolnshire, UK and work 3 days a week as a paediatric speech and language therapist. I also have Secondary Progressive Multiple Sclerosis (SPMS). MS is a chronic disease of the nervous system, where nerves become damaged and unable to transmit messages successfully. Unfortunately, there is no cure and I have my down days, but on the whole I try and stay positive and am so grateful for all that I do have. I blog about living with MS at www.trippingthroughtreacle.com.

Read more >Tripping Through Treacle: Jenny Clarkson on Living with MS