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

Victim or Survivor?

Working with the public I get to see a lot of colorful characters on a daily basis.  I met two women  yesterday that are facing serious illness, but doing so with a conviction that will aid their health and healing.  I watched one of the women, young, who due to prednisone has gained over a 100 pounds in six months and is no experiencing bone fractures.  Her spirits were high even being in pain, and her family was ultra-supportive of her needs.  Both of  these women had a great sense of humor at a time in their lives when many would be sitting in the dark at home.  That’s when the famous proverb flashed into my head, “It’s better to light a candle than curse the darkness.”

I find that thought extremely powerful.  It implies we all have a choice about how we handle each and every situation in our lives.  If you curse the darkness following your diagnosis of a chronic or other life-altering illness your world view is of being defeated.  What I’ve come to understand about those who choose to curse the darkness is the fear of seeing themselves (and I don’t mean physically necessarily) in the light.  The “light” accentuates our traits, gifts, and thoughts.  It brings our true selves to the forefront of our consciousness.

When facing a health challenge cursing the darkness leads to expressions like, “Whoa is me” and “Why did this happen to me?”  Those thoughts may be prevalent at the beginning while your still in shock about your diagnosis, but I can tell you as someone who has had an auto-immune disease for over thirty years, those thought patterns are the surest way to bring you down.  They are the road to unhappiness and defeat.  They challenge you on the physical, emotional, and spiritual levels depleting your energy and robbing you of an opportunity to get better (remember there’s a difference between getting better and getting well).

I hope you’ll choose to light a candle and illuminate your path to health and healing.  I hope you’ll shed some light on your challenge so you can acknowledge like the two women I met yesterday how to still live life in the face of adversity.  I hope you’ll light a candle so you can give your body, mind, and spirit every advantage in overcoming your health challenge.  If you’re still cursing the darkness and reading this post, allow me to hold the candle for you until you’re ready to light it for yourself!!


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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