Can anyone relate to the title of this post?
*You can NOW READ the INTRODUCTION of Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness by going to the About the "Invisible Illness" Book link above!
*Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness is now available as an AUDIOBOOK! The experienced, professional narrator Gary J. Chambers did a superb job.
*NEW: CHECK OUT MY BOOK LIST RECOMMENDATIONS HERE!! My recommendations of the five best chronic illness books for Christians who seek wisdom and joy. Note: While Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness is written for anyone with a chronic illness, the spiritual content underscores the value of faith and offers several Bible verses.
AN INVISIBLE CHRONIC ILLNESS LIFE
I am a school psychologist, husband, father, and - pertinent to this website - an author who has multiple invisible chronic illnesses.
And an invisible chronic illness is a beast. On top of draining you physically, a chronic illness can impact all aspects of your life ranging from causing financial hardship to harming your relationships to dampening your spirits. Try to be cheerful when you have this unremitting “monkey on your back” known as an invisible chronic illness that constantly demands your attention 24-7. Needless to say, it’s easy to let yourself and others down.
Plus, your family or friends can't see your illness, as it's invisible, and they may not understand. Most with an invisible illness are familiar with “advice” ranging from “stay positive” to “you look good” to “Have you tried ___ for your condition?” Yup, you probably have, and it didn’t work.
On top of that, best wishes in accessing (and maintaining) high quality medical care when you are too tired to even take care of yourself.
Welcome to the world of an invisible chronic illness. I should know. I suffer from multiple invisible chronic illnesses, including a primary immune deficiency disorder and bronchiectasis.
But it doesn’t have to be this way - for you or for me. While I am far from cured of my illness, I still maintain a fulfilling life and experience ongoing joy, peace, and happiness. Because of good medical care, extensive self-educating and self-care, and a supportive family, I effectively manage my chronic illnesses. But I didn't want to be the only one to benefit. It was my goal, in turn, to give back to others by doing what I love to do: authoring books on these conditions.
Thank you for stopping by. I hope that by visiting this website and blog, and/or by reading my books, you will find yourself encouraged and your day just a little brighter.
WHY WAS FINDING JOY WRITTEN?
Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness has been written in part to address the following problems chronic illness patients confront:
1) the emotional challenges that stem from living with an invisible chronic illness and the subsequent high rates of depression;
2) the loneliness many with chronic illness experience, misunderstanding from others, and ensuing relationship difficulties;
3) the diagnostic and prognostic confusion, and difficulty accessing and maintaining high quality healthcare;
QUESTIONS FINDING JOY ANSWERS
- How can you experience those good thoughts and feelings, enjoy life at its fullest, and de-stress when faced with constant, unremitting physical suffering?
- How can you enhance your relationships, find support, respond to the naysayers, and possibly even help them understand you and your illness?
- When seeking medical care, how can you get the answers you deserve, and access and maintain quality healthcare?
As a school psychologist and patient, Finding Joy integrates my professional and personal insights to advocate a holistic approach to managing chronic illness.
WHAT FINDING JOY OFFERS
Finding Joy is an A-to-Z guide that critiques the literature and empowers the reader with:
- Positive psychology techniques. These range from self-compassion, positive reappraisal, positive self-talk, and pacing to positive thoughts, emotions, and behaviors such as optimism, humor, and volunteer work.
- Stress-reduction methods. These include tools such as mindfulness, breathing exercises, simplification, and (therapeutic) journaling.
- Proven therapies. Examples include cognitive behavior therapy (CBT), dialectical behavior therapy (DBT), and acceptance and commitment therapy (ACT).
- Effective communication strategies and their impact on relationships and even the ability to access quality healthcare.
- Numerous tips to both access and maximize your access to high quality healthcare.
- Important considerations for the loved ones of the chronically ill, so they too can know how to best support their loved one and take care of themselves in the process.
- Finding Joy with an Invisible Chronic Illness: Proven Strategies for Discovering Happiness, Meaning, and Fulfillment (2021)
Having Nasal Surgery? Don't You Become An Empty Nose Victim! (2007) (Independent Publisher Book Award)
- ¿Cirugía nasal? ¡No caiga en las garras del síndrome de la nariz vacía! (2015) (Spanish Translation)
Generally speaking, the communication between a doctor and patient inherently represents a power imbalance, where the physician has more knowledge and control, as they act as a gatekeeper for both diagnoses and treatments. Further, the amount of time available for appointments is often limited, placing additional pressure on the patient to make sure their chief concerns are known, understood, and addressed.
This is probably my shortest blog post, but it is important nonetheless. It is on music therapy.
As I reflect upon promising treatment developments for chronic illness sufferers of all types , I cannot help but to have a spirit of gratitude toward these developments and physicians. According to Robert Emmons, who wrote The Little Book of Gratitude, gratitude can be defined as, “affirming the good and recognizing its sources. It is the understanding that life owes me nothing and all the good I have is a gift, accompanied by an awareness that nothing can be taken for granted."In fact, demonstrating an attitude of gratitude can have powerful health benefits according to an expanding body of research. These health benefits include, but are not limited to:
As a school psychologist, I would like to discuss the concept of “locus of control,” which was first introduced in 1954 by Psychologist Julian Rotter. Two types of locus of control are internal and external. An internal locus of control refers to the ability to control one’s environment, events and outcomes, while an external locus of control refers to the belief that we have no control over our environment and life’s circumstances that come our way; rather, outside forces, circumstances, and the environment control us. When you are confronted with a challenge in your life, do you feel that you have control over the outcome? If so, then you have an internal locus of control, and that will definitely work to your benefit in dealing with any type of chronic illness. Unfortunately for people with chronic illness, it is quite natural to have an external locus of control. In addition to the actual suffering, this external locus of control mindset leads to depression and anxiety, as those with chronic illness experience higher than normal rates and often feel powerless. Now I would be remiss to suggest that thinking positively and utilizing an internal locus of control mindset can reverse our condition. It can’t. We are dealing with a chronic illness.
I am a big fan of simple, inexpensive strategies to support our health. One strategy that I would enthusiastically endorse is walking – simply walking outside in the fresh air. Walk outside for thirty minutes, every day, and see your stress levels tank in no time. While I fully acknowledge that it is admirable when chronic illness patients can do more challenging activities, such as running a marathon or participating in a contact sport, simply walking for a short period of time each day can reap significant benefits of its own. Despite the limitations one might have with their illness, almost anyone can do this, even when in a state of chronic illness. In fact, walking is much less stress on our knees and bodies than running long distances. It is definitely one of my go-to activities that I personally enjoy doing, often with my family.Some of the potential benefits of walking include, but are not limited to:
I think those who battle invisible chronic illnesses, such as empty nose syndrome, are WARRIORS.