Posted in after the diagnosis, coping with chronic illness, coping with life threatening illness, living with chronic illness, Living with Illness


More and more I find myself saying things out loud that I know you’re thinking to yourself.  In fact I know it’s the things most people are thinking quietly to themselves in the confusion, possibly despair of an illness diagnosis.  The thought today is, “Can’t I just forget that I’m sick for 1 day”.  The truth is you can forget everyday, but it won’t serve you.  You don’t ever have to acknowledge that you have a health challenge, but then it’s kind of hard for the doctors to get involved and engage you in treatment.  When I hear that question I know you’re not looking to have every cell in your body disengage from the healing process, but I am hearing that you’d love to develop amnesia for a short period of time.

When I worked with clients who were HIV+ I would hear the doctors discuss the patient take a drug holiday.  This was usually at the point that the treatment stopped working and they were changing medication plans.  During that time the patient could fantasize that they weren’t facing a health challenge, but the truth is how can it ever be a far away thought.  The body will keep trying to remind you. 

It’s kind of funny because those of us who support those facing a health challenge are often waiting for you to get that whack in the head setting you in motion to tackle the health challenge.  On the other hand, many develop amensia by a whack to the head and your hope is that you’ll forget about the health challenge.  Do you see the irony in all of this?  You would think that amnesia would provide a safe haven for your emotions because you don’t have to feel what you don’t remember.  The problem is that how can you heal what you can’t feel?

There is a difference between acknowledging your health challenge and dwelling on it.  There is no manual that requires your 24hour devotion to remembering and languishing in the shadow of the diagnosis.  The diagnosis is there, and for those who have a chronic illness it’s a new relationship, one that most likely won’t ever go away so finding a way to co-habitate is the goal.

Amnesia would be nice but when you returned you probably wouldn’t remember anything during that lapse in memory…can you really live with that?  Wouldn’t you rather make a conscious choice to live today to the best of your ability and create a memory you’d never want to leave behind?  There are ways to alter your state of consciousness such as meditation and yoga.  These altered states allow you to drift to distanct


I've lived my life in service to others. I'm focused on mental health and how it impacts our relationships, culture, and society. Through creative expression and narrative I believe we can impact change.

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