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

Is Driving When Ill Dangerous?

You may be thinking that the title of this post actually refers to the act of driving.  I don’t have any opinions or data on illness or driving, but I am referring to driving in the metaphorical sense.  When we drive one of the tools that keeps us safe is the rear view mirror.  We’re taught to check it regularly and we use so we’re aware of our surroundings.  Is there a problem with the rear view mirror?

The only problem is that many following their diagnosis of a chronic or life-altering illness keep looking in the rear view mirror and the only thing they see is what’s behind them…the past.  When you look in the rear view mirror what you’ve passed becomes smaller and smaller until it vanishes and is only a memory.  I often wonder if we look in the rear view mirror hoping that as long as we can get a glimpse of our lives before our diagnosis that we can retain some of that illusion of perfect health. 

The other problem with focusing on your rear view mirror is that you’re not paying attention to what’s in front of you.  What opportunities are you missing to heal the body, mind, and spirit connection?  What opportunities for optimistic thinking are you passing and once you pass them and you see them in the rear view mirror they become pessimistic thoughts.  Optimists have greater odds at health and healing according to numerous reports and studies so it’s something to grab hold of tightly.

The other difficult situation when you focus on the rear view mirror is that it’s dangerous.  When you’re not engaged as an active driver of your life accidents happen.  I’m not talking about hitting a tree, at least not literally.  I am talking about crashing, and for many with a health challenge that’s an emotional crash.  We can’t afford the luxury of a negative thought so keeping your eyes front and center is critical on your journey to wellness.


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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